The top elected officials of Rotary International were on hand to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Rotary’s International Friendship Garden in Evanston.

Located on McCormick Blvd. near Bridge Street, the Friendship Garden is part of the Ladd Arboretum.

It was conceived and planted in 1962 by the Rotary Club of Evanston, which maintains it yearly. Open to the public year-round, the garden’s rows of flowering trees and planting beds are dedicated to, and represent, the various countries that have Rotary clubs.

Rotary’s 2011-2012 International President, Kalyan Banerjee, participated in a special tree planting ceremony on June 27 and 2012-2013 International President Skuji Tanaka was on hand for a similar ceremony Wednesday.

Top: 2011-2012 Rotary International President Kaylan Banerjee waters the new Himalayan Pine planted in his honor at the International Friendship Garden. Above: Pamela Rosenbusch, president of the Rotary Club of Evanston, joined Sakuji Tanaka, president of Rotary International, in dedicating a new tree at the International Friendship Garden.

The Rotary Club of Evanston chose a tree honoring the home countries of each of the Rotary presidents – a Himalayan Pine honoring Mr. Banerjee, of India, and a Weeping Katsura, honoring Mr. Tanaka of Japan.

“I love the concept of the Friendship Garden,” Banerjee said. “Evanston, which is, in its own way, such and international city with students and Rotarians from all over the world, is a fitting and apt home to the Garden.”

Tanaka thanked local Rotarians for their maintenance of the garden and noted that Rotary’s founder, Paul Harris, had planted a similar tree in Japan many years earlier.

Evanston elected officials who attended the ceremonies included Mayor Elizabeth Tisdahl and former mayors Joan Barr and Lorraine Morton.

Others participating in the ceremonies were Pamela Rosenbusch, president of the Rotary Club of Evanston, Phyllis Rostrom of the Four Seasons Garden Club and Virginia Beatty, a member of the Rotary Club of Evanston, who organized and coordinated both events.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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