COURTLAND TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WOOD) — Like many couples, Jim and Joan Bogart find comfort in their backyard garden — from the rosebushes to the hosta plants, to the model train that winds through it.
Back around 2015, the Bogarts decided to combine their love for plants and rails with a train garden.
Jim Bogart’s appreciation of trains goes back to boyhood. The train line’s name, Janesville Northern, is especially personal to him.
“My mom, whose name was Jane, thus the Janesville Northern … worked for the Chicago, Burlington, Quincy (Railroad) when I was born,” Bogart said.
His passion for trains continued until he went away to college. He graduated, married, and started a family and career.
“When I retired back in 2013, I started volunteering at the Coopersville, Marne railway. So that got me back into railroading. And I decided I needed a model,” said Bogart.
The layout is like any American small town. From the main street with a soda stand, school, and church, to the countryside, complete with an outhouse. Everything is built to scale — even the plants.
“We’ve got mini-hosta’s, dwarf Alberta Spruce trees,” said Bogart, who is reluctant to put a number on how much it costs to build the set-up.
“Ah, I don’t know if my wife would want me to add it up,” said Bogart.
The Bogarts got the idea after learning about the popularity of train gardens in Europe. It’s become a family affair.
“When my daughter and her family come over, the first thing our daughter does is start going through the garden and pulling weeds. We have a good time with it,” said Bogart.
But the Bogarts’ little piece of paradise is reaching the end of the line — they’ve sold their home and are moving to a condo. Since they can’t take it with them, they want to find a new home for their garden train.
“Whether it’s a garden club somewhere, someone that wants to start a garden railroad,” said Bogart. “Last resort would be to sell the train to a hobby store so they can resell it to someone.”
The cost is negotiable. Jim is more concerned about finding the layout a good home. He still has plans to get his train fix in the future.
“I’m still a volunteer at the Coopersville Marne so … might just sign up for a few more runs,” said Bogart.
If you’re interested, you can connect with Jim by emailing him at firstname.lastname@example.org.