Midwest Living Review
Botanicals and manicured lawns make the gardens of the historic Illinois Executive Mansion appeal to visitors in Springfield, though they aren't a destination in and of themselves. Think of this as a nice little break from all the Lincoln history you'll be absorbing in Springfield. You can either stroll the grounds on your own or take a guided tour of the mansion and gardens. Among the highlights in the garden are vintage fountain and pergola off the mansion's portico; it features hibiscus, water lily, impatiens and rare Egyptian papyrus. Visitors also have the opportunity to view the hidden sunken garden and patio tucked behind the mansion. Shade annuals and roses line many pathways, which are mostly handicapped accessible. An unexpected vegetable garden doubles as a community service project; local Boys and Girls Clubs come here to teach kids gardening and cooking skills. On select evenings throughout the summer and fall, entertainment is provided free of charge in the garden. Workshops are also sponsored with various fees. The Illinois Executive Mansion and its gardens are open for tours year-round. Admission and most public programs are free.