Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Traveling to Southern Indiana to visit gardens

We took a trip over the Fourth of July to southern Illinois and Indiana.  It was one of those you get to see gardens and I get to see ships and agricultural buildings.  So hubby and I were both happy.  It was a leisurely adventure through the area along the Ohio River and I have other gardens to share, but I wanted to start with this little treasure I found outside Evansville, Indiana on the Lloyd Expressway.

We drove past this garden, created as a display garden by the Southwest Indiana Master Gardener Association, several times over the two days we were in the area and finally on the last day I said, we have to stop I need to know what it is.  I could see the sign, but not read it from the road.  What we found nestled between the Boy Scouts of America building and the Red Cross Disaster Relief offices was this great little gem of a garden.
taken from the "lookout garden" a few feet above the rest you get a great overview

Divided into several smaller theme gardens they had everything from a pond and rain water garden to a kitchen garden next to a log cabin, experimental gardens, and even a large vegetable garden that is used to provide produce for the local food bank.
The Cottage Garden
There were many flowering plants and a wide assortment of herbs.  There were a few plants I could never grow this far north that were exciting to see flourishing in the southern Indiana heat and humidity.

The Cottage Garden was just like you would find outside an English Cottage with tight groupings of flowers and herbs.  I loved the arbor and picket fence that left know doubt as to the setting and it framed a nice view of the gardens beyond.

There were the usual July flowering herbs to be seen like Anise Hyssop and Echinacea.

There was a variety of echinacea I had never seen before that was eye catching not just for its color, but the texture and shape of the flowers which in some ways looked like a Zinnia.  It is called 'Hot Papaya.'

There was a log cabin that had been moved to the site from a local farm around which were a nice vegetable/herb kitchen gardens.

They had a Berry Patch with strawberry and other bush berries growing against a fence. A nice display of this year's All American varieties.  These were displayed in these neat recycled plastic raised beds that added a nice texture and gave small plots to display the plants.

My favorite garden was the Sensory Garden.  Laid out with sunny and shady spaces, the focal point was a wonderful stone path where each stone was surrounded by low growing thyme plants. (Okay it was the thyme that made it my favorite!)

thyme walkway
The thyme was a mix of varieties, with a fuzzy creeping thyme the most dominant.

Through the arbor was a shady spot with a perfect bench that allowed for quiet contemplation.

A cedar gazebo gave another shady spot to rest and was surrounded with colorful and flowering shrubs as well as a broad assortment of lilies.

The vegetable garden covered the entire back edge of the garden and included tomatoes, peppers, squash and a large selection of cabbage.

Made me happy to see the squash was about as far along as mine is at home!

There were a few gardening techniques to try that I saw displayed especially for frames to grow beans and tomatoes.  They were also experimenting with compost mixes and had a nice area of compost bins you could look at as well.

The land this garden is built on was 1.2 acres donated by the state on the grounds of the state hospital back in 2005.  They have leased more land from the adjacent Boy Scouts of America headquarters giving them a nice sized garden which they make the focus of part of their garden walk, held in early June each year.

The only disappointment for me was the little bins they had in the garden which must sometimes hold brochures with more details.  All of these were empty.  Perhaps they are only stocked during the garden walk which I missed by a month.

The selection of herbs was nice.  And some of the varieties unique enough that it was obvious they did not always go for the typical or the easy.  Their borage (unlike mine) was in full bloom.

The Lemon Balm they grew was a golden variety that was flourishing.   An they had all the staples, oregano, marjoram and chives in the kitchen garden in front of the log cabin.

There were a few plants that I envy because they do not winter over well or at all in northern Illinois.
indian poker, a plant I cannot grow in northern Illinois  was featured

 Something I had only heard of but never seen was this creeping St. John's Wort, whose leaves look almost succulent.

another view of the All-American plants

I was even able to indulge my artistic side with my new camera and took a few very nice flower images.

Flowering St. John's Wort
Flowering Silver Mound Artemesia

I recommend a stop at the Southwestern Indiana Master
Garden Association Display garden on Lloyd Expressway
just west of Evansville, Indiana if you are anywhere near the area!

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