ABOUT THE GARDENS

Quilt Gardens along the Heritage Trail is an innovative, creative, one-of-a-kind experience designed to interest a wide range of audiences and promote the area as a premier 
visitor destination. It offers a variety of opportunities for partnerships with local businesses and communities and creates widespread community involvement.
The project was initiated as a concept by the Elkhart County, IN Convention & Visitors Bureau (ECCVB) in early 2006 and tested in 2007 with 2 pilot locations. 2021 is the 14th anniversary for the season-long attraction that continues to grow and now features 16 Quilt Gardens presented in six communities along the Heritage Trail driving tour, viewable annually May 30 to September 15.

Elkhart County, Indiana is a place where close-knit communities are connected by a passion for craftsmanship and quality of life. Everything we do in Elkhart County is Well Crafted.  Recognizing the importance and value of high quality in both the gardens and murals displayed, each garden and mural is required to meet 10 standards and related product and service specifications. Based on those standards, all official sites and patterns are juried into the program by a committee that includes landscapers, designers, 
horticulturists, growers, quilters, and park professionals resulting in quality craftsmanship, innovation and collaboration. Official garden partners are responsible for performing all of the work necessary to plant and maintain the gardens throughout the season.     

The Quilt Gardens along the Heritage Trail has garnered national media attention and draws significant audience interest from three of the largest hobby groups in the 
nation – gardeners, quilters and photographers. It has also been favorably received by the group motor coach audience, having been named an American Bus Association (ABA) Best of the Best Event and a seven-time Top 100 Event.

Sonya L. Nash, Project Manager, Elkhart County, IN CVB

It is often times said that creating anything worthwhile takes time, money and a lot of effort. The Quilt Gardens along the Heritage Trail embodies that statement, even more so in these times that continue to be affected by the coronavirus pandemic.
 
In 2021, this project continues on supported by the devotion and pride of both the Elkhart County, IN Convention & Visitors Bureau and its community partners. These partners are heroes to the 2021 Quilt Gardens by continuing to come together to overcome challenges presented by the pandemic. This project means a great deal to all of us, for the beauty it offers to all who visit but also the community pride that is expressed in every square inch of the gardens. Our partners contribute more than 200 volunteers in six cities and towns. They work on soil content, site beautification, planting, weeding and maintaining gardens for four months, sometimes during difficult weather conditions, doing their part in welcoming visitors and residents alike.  
 
The ECCVB leadership and staff supports these dedicated volunteers, working year-round on planning, preparing and promoting the Quilt Gardens. Countless man hours including graphic design, website updates, ad placements, journalist inquiries, group tour planning, and yes, even paying the bills and answering the phones all occur under the parameters of the ECCVB. Through our collective efforts, the Quilt Gardens offer a beautiful and serene refuge, one that is ideal for the safety and health precautions that continue to be a top consideration to all of us.
 
My role is to keep everyone working together on the same page while steering this project in a positive future direction. For over 14 years, we have learned through trial and error a multitude of things about transforming quilt designs into living gardens that flourish throughout the viewing season. Educational sessions, working with garden experts and experimenting with plant types are all part of the event too. While gardening can be a science, we have learned that sometimes Mother Nature overrules our efforts to excel, and sometimes we are amazed at how our plans come to fruition in a fantastic way.   
 
Yes, the Quilt Gardens project is a work of art. It’s also A LOT of work involving A LOT of people. It has become an annual event in our destination that our residents love to share with visitors. Definitely it’s time, money and effort well spent and enjoyed by all. We look forward to your visit and hope you return time and time again as we continue to learn and grow along with our gardens. Plus, we’ve got some amazing surprises in store for 2022 - our 15th anniversary!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Loanne Harms Gold 2000 Level Master Gardener

My introduction to gardening was captured on video when I was about 3 years old. My brother, one year younger, and I were carefully pulling every one of my mother’s iris flowers off their stalks. In my family, every time we watched this movie, my father would yell out, “Put those flowers back!”, and he would run the film backwards while we watched the two of us dutifully place each bloom back onto its stem. Thus, it seems, I have been putting flowers back into the ground ever since. Four years ago we moved to a new home with woods and wetlands. My husband and I are busy trying to tame the wildness with natives and color. The birds, butterflies and wildlife seem to approve as they make regular visits. Our experience with clay soils from our previous home is coming in handy as we once again find ourselves hauling composted duck manure and other nutrient-rich materials to our site. After a winter sheltering against Covid-19, we are both ready to see our gardens spring into life again. 

When my husband began a grounds keeping job at a local high school, he took the Master Gardener training class. I was intrigued, but still employed at the time. The summer after I retired, our garden was on the 2010 Master Gardener Garden Tour. I had worked hard that spring preparing our yard and found the chance to share my work and love of flowers and gardening with close to 500 people invigorating. Soon after, I signed up for the Master Gardener class. Together, my husband and I have been an active part of the organization, helping plant the Quilt Gardens, teaching about flower growing in the community, and spreading the love of gardening whenever we can.


ABOUT THE GROWER

Corstange Greenhouse, Official Grower
Dave, Ilene and Todd Corstange, Owners
In 1971, on property purchased from his grandfather, Dave Corstange built several small greenhouses in Portage, Michigan. Now in its 49th season, Corstange Greenhouses are operated 
by the family team of Dave, his wife, Ilene, and their son, Todd.  The attributes which set this family of “growers” apart are their  commitment to quality, service and customer satisfaction. 
The Corstange Greenhouses provides the best quality product  possible by allowing their plants to easily grow to their natural size and beauty. This goal is achieved by appropriate selection of containers and soil, careful timing of fertilizer and pesticide application and minimal use of plant growth regulators. This process produces a high-quality plant with some residual nutrients and pest resistance, yet no residual growth retardant. 

The Quilt Gardens along the Heritage Trail is an exciting project for this family-owned greenhouse and they look forward to seeing their superior plants add to the beauty of the project. 

Corstange Greenhouses
1749 E. Centre Ave.  |  Portage, MI
P:   269.323.1094   
W:  CorstangeGreenHouses.com

BRISTOL

“Box Car, 1897” -  Elkhart County Historical Museum
SIZE: 30’w x 30’h

Box Car

Visiting the Elkhart County Historical Museum Quilt Garden site gives one a chance to experience history inside and out. The museum itself was founded in 1968 as a partnership between the Elkhart County Historical Society and the Elkhart County Parks Department, using a building once used as Bristol High School from 1928 to 1966. The Elkhart County Historical Museum is dedicated to preserving and fostering appreciation of the history of Elkhart County and the surrounding region. The museum offers exhibits for all ages. Today it houses 10 permanent exhibits, two additional rooms for special showings, and over 20,000 artifacts of local historical interest. 

Explore the past where the beautiful and the useful were never far apart. The museum is open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday, although you may want to confirm prior to arrival, and is free, although donations are always appreciated. The Quilt Gardens generate focus and interest in the quilting heritage of the local community, which the museum is especially prepared to further celebrate. The museum has a collection of more than 60 historic quilts and offer many quilting-related programming opportunities. 

The museum staff has teamed up with a group of Master Gardeners to prepare (and care for) the 1897 Boxcar garden. The museum staff has enjoyed working with Michiana Master Gardeners and has appreciated their knowledge and energy on this project. Knowledge is important where flowers are expected to perform at their best in a Quilt Garden year after year. Testing the PH and supplementing/adjusting the soil to create an optimum growing culture requires time and energy but yields great reward.

The 1897 Boxcar design was chosen for its simplicity. Geometric patterns are easier to lay out, straightforward to plant, and look great all season. The pink pinwheels help create movement and interest. The design has been created using over 3,500 begonias and another 1,000 plants of alyssum. Even a simple design requires hundreds of plants, as well as hours of planning and planting. Amid this historical setting you will find a newcomer among the begonias. Begonias have been around for ages, and with good reason. Wax or fibrous begonias are classic bedding plants because they are beautiful all season and easy to grow. Though commonly grown as annuals these are actually evergreen perennials where hardy. As a group, they are hybrids of three South American species. 

Pink Sprint Plus begonias have been in trial gardens for the past few years and are now just hitting the market. These Sprint Plus begonias are the fastest and most uniform series with excellent flower presentation and weather tolerance to provide you with five months of blooms. Plant these begonias in locations with partial sun and well drained, but evenly moist, fertile soil. They look super in containers, hanging baskets and shaded borders. In colder zones, begonias can be brought indoors to overwinter.

Olympia Red Green Leaf Begonia
Pink Sprint Plus Green Leaf Begonia
Clear Crystal White Alyssum

Elkhart County Historical Museum
304 West Vistula Street | Bristol, IN  

w:  ElkhartCountyParks.org
p:   574.848.4322

ELKHART

“Eclipse by Diana Bennett” - Central Park 
SIZE: 33’w x 33’h
Eclipse

Elkhart’s Central Park spent much of this past year in the throes of a major facelift. You’ll find the garden located in a new part of the renovated park. The new band stage, sidewalks, benches, picnic tables, and landscaping make this a perfect spot for a relaxing stroll or outdoor rendezvous over lunch. Central Park adds to vibrant Elkhart County with its centralized location in downtown Elkhart. The Quilt Garden provides a colorful backdrop and adds to the ambiance for the people at these events as well as the many other people that use and drive by Central Park daily. With the RiverWalk on its back, local walkers enjoy stopping throughout the summer to watch the flowers and pattern develop. The Civic Plaza is just above and a handy place to meet up before heading out into the growing Arts & Entertainment district with its new eateries and pubs. The renovated Lerner Theater is just up the block and offers musical and theatrical options to visitors and locals.

Downtown Elkhart is a vibrant, diverse and unique community. The Gateway Mile features a wide variety of amenities: five museums, beautiful parks, stately homes in the Garden District, boutique shops, fabulous restaurants, cozy coffee shops, architecture, and exciting festivals. The most important aspect of Downtown Elkhart is the diversity of what it has to offer. Whether you are meeting an old friend for coffee, going out for a night on the town, or looking for a family-friendly activity for the weekend, everything you want can be found along the Gateway Mile Elkhart!

Central Park’s Eclipse compliments the vibrant, active nature of Elkhart downtown, and challenges gardeners, new and seasoned to see possibilities beyond the usual. The Eclipse Quilt Garden was designed by Diana Bennett as an adaptation of her quilted wall hanging and inspired by Art Deco patterns. Her wall hanging Eclipse can be viewed at the Elkhart County Visitor Center. The challenging design, using circles with strong contrasting colors, provided opportunity to use a wide variety of plant types: red Pentas, green Dichondra, rose Begonias, yellow Celosia, and black ornamental peppers.

A 2006 All-America Selections winner, Black Pearl boasts the most dramatically deep purple-black leaves and fruit imaginable. But the standout quality is that Black Pearl looks better as the summer season progresses. The plant branches out, producing more clusters of black, pearl-like, shiny peppers. The plant grows taller and wider, developing into a black pyramid shape without pinching, pruning or grooming. As the plant matures, the black peppers turn red, adding a new color to the plant. While edible, the peppers are extremely hot. Use with care! 
The vigorous, bushy plants grow to 18 inches tall and almost as wide. In a border, Black Pearl makes an outstanding visual foil for silver-foliage plants. Clearly heat tolerant, Black Pearl requires minimal water and fertilization during the season. Similar to other hot peppers, it comes with its own built-in pest-deterrent system.

Black Pearl Ornamental Pepper
Lucky Star Dark Red Pentas
Ice Cream Yellow Celosia
Bada Bing Rose Begonia
Silver Falls Dichondra
Emerald Green Dichondra

Elkhart Central Park managed by the Elkhart Building & Grounds Department
Waterfall Drive & Franklin Street
Elkhart, IN  

w:  ElkhartIndiana.org
p:   574.295.7275

 

ELKHART
“Canoe Crossing” - Elkhart Environmental Center
SIZE: 40’w x 20’h
Canoe Crossing

The Elkhart Environmental Center (EEC) opened in 1992 as an environmental learning center that strives to educate the community on its environmental impact. The EEC is situated on the former Lusher Dump, but over the last 40 years has been remediated and restored to include more than 65 acres of enriched greenspace. The public is welcome to walk the trails and browse the gardens, woods and prairies. There is also a canoe launch available onto the Elkhart River.

The EEC serves thousands of people a year and is committed to making the site a haven not only for residents and environmental professionals, but wildlife as well. The Center is part of a 120-acre River Greenway system that links to Studebaker Park along the Elkhart River. The trail is a great spot for wildlife watching on the edge of the city. Deer, river otter, muskrat, beaver, coyote, fox, pileated woodpeckers, screech owls and nesting wood ducks have all been sighted in this area. Bird watchers can find many migrating species as well. The trail is open to bikers and hikers.

Five wetlands have been constructed at the center which creates habitat and aids in reducing storm water runoff. The Elkhart Environmental Center continues to blend urban and natural environment in order to demonstrate how they can successfully co-exist. This urban setting is a resting place to over 86 different types of birds throughout the year and is home to over 200 types of plants. Many frequent guests have said it’s the best-kept secret in Elkhart.

While visiting the Quilt Garden, feel free to explore the site and if open stop in at the cabin to get a history of the place. Kids will be interested in their small children’s learning loft in the cabin. Environmental centers are fun places to visit, but they are also a place where we can connect to nature, learn how to improve the environment, practice wellness, and develop new skills to help in our everyday lives. The challenge for environmental centers is to adapt as the needs, concerns and issues change within our communities to continue to be a resource for generations to come.

This is the second year the ECC is using parsley in their design. You’ll find parsley used in five of this year’s gardens. Parsley not only provides a dense, dark green color to the various designs, but also is a magnet for butterflies, especially swallowtails who lay their eggs on the plants. Some of the garden volunteers look for and help raise the striped larva for release into the gardens.

Extra Triple Curled Parsley is a hardy biennial herb with an incredible ornamental landscape appeal. The leaves of this variety are tightly curled, but still possess the same great flavor as standard flat-leaf Parsley. You can mingle plants throughout herb gardens or mixed borders to add a delicate texture. Fresh-cut sprigs make a nice garnish on the dinner plate. Chew a few leaves as a breath cleanser for onion and garlic odors. (Be sure to wash thoroughly.)  Leaves may be used fresh or dried to add flavor to soups and stews. The leaves are high in iron and vitamins A and C.

Easy to grow, mostly as an annual since it is harvested for its leaves, it is extremely aromatic and, left until its second year, will produce white flowers that pollinators like. This plant is loved by humans and wildlife alike so it will need protection from being eaten. Parsley can also help the growth of both roses and tomatoes.

Wizard Velvet Red Coleus
Profusion Lemon Zinnia
Triple Curled Parsley

Elkhart Environmental Center
1717 East Lusher Avenue
Elkhart, IN  

w:  ElkhartIndiana.org/EEC
p:   574.293.5070
 

ELKHART

“Tickled Pink” - Linton’s Enchanted Gardens 
SIZE: 66’w x 32’h
Tickled Pink

Linton’s Enchanted Gardens is Indiana’s largest home and garden facility, boasting over 50,000 square feet of indoor shopping and over nine acres of outdoor displays that are sure to spark your imagination. The Garden Cafe at Linton’s features fresh and healthy meals for breakfast, lunch and dinner as well as decadent desserts and handcrafted hot and cold drinks. Linton’s Enchanted Gardens began in 1982 as a small landscape design company and has added attractions as they have grown and evolved. Their continuing goal of connecting to the community while showcasing the new and traditional in horticulture drives their business spirit. Linton’s prides itself in being a family-friendly destination. 

Linton’s has a unique opportunity with their Quilt Garden to partner with the Vera Bradley Breast Cancer Foundation. Each year they incorporate the organization’s current Breast Cancer Awareness pattern into their Quilt Garden theme. Since 1999, Vera Bradley has designed special breast cancer awareness colors to celebrate their commitment to the cause. Felicity Paisley in Pink is the 2021 Vera Bradley Foundation for Breast Cancer pattern, serving as a symbol of support and solidarity. Using this graphic pattern from Vera Bradley, Linton’s has created the Tickled Pink quilt block which echoes the vibrant colors and design represented in the fabric. Linton’s goal is to bring awareness to those past and present who have endured breast cancer’s life altering grip. 

Linton’s Enchanted Gardens began in 1982 as a small landscape design company and has added attractions as they have grown and evolved. Their continuing goal of connecting to the commu­nity while showcasing the new and traditional in horticulture drives their business spirit. Linton’s showcases what they do best with their Quilt Garden-grown plants. At Linton’s you can have your gardening questions answered as well as find the new and unusual for your garden. 

Red Green Leaf Begonia
Limbo GP Orchid Veined Petunia
White Green Leaf Begonia

Turf Grass

Linton’s Enchanted Gardens
315 County Road 17 | Elkhart, IN
w: Lintons.com
p: 888.779.9333

ELKHART

“Unity Through Diversity” - Ruthmere Museum
SIZE: 30’w x 30’h
Unity Through Diversity
The Ruthmere campus is made up of two historic properties that engage visitors with a unique experience of history, art and architecture. Part historic house museum, part world class art 
collection, part performing arts venue, such is the unique nature of Ruthmere. Ruthmere overlooks the confluence of the St. Joseph and Elkhart rivers and is a nationally recognized site on the National Register of Historic Places.

Albert Beardsley, nephew of one of the founding fathers of Elkhart, Dr. Havilah Beardsley, had Ruthmere Mansion built in 1910. The mansion is filled with lavish one-of-a-kind furnishings 
and stunning works of art. The magnificently restored Beaux Arts-style mansion boasts a fine art collection which includes sculptures by Auguste Rodin, Antoine-Louis Barye and William Ordway Partridge and artworks by renowned artists such as George Peter Alexander Healy, William Morris Hunt and Albert E. Sterner. Art comes in many forms at Ruthmere. The iconic greenhouse and Ruthmere’s gardens provide the perfect bridge for visitors to appreciate both the Ruthmere property and the annual Quilt Garden found just outside of Ruthmere’s perimeter wall. 

Set against this upper-class mansion, with ornate iron fences and sturdy brick walls, you can find this year’s Quilt Garden. Ruth’s Chrysanthemum was selected due to its diversity in color and the way it looks in a flatbed for viewing. The chrysanthemum was loved by the late Victorians and became especially popular in the early 20th century, when Ruthmere was built. Pink was the chosen color in remembrance of Ruth, the infant daughter of Albert and Elizabeth Beardsley and Ruthmere’s namesake who died when she was still a baby.

Ruthmere’s Quilt Garden sets amid tall old trees making it one of the several shade gardens on the tour. They chose shade-tolerant coleus and ageratum and celosia, marigolds, and gomphrena, which require six or more hours of sun light. This is the only garden where you will find the use of gomphrena, a plant that has benefited from some hybridizing over the last few years to perfect an old-fashioned favorite.

Gomphrena is a cheery little clover look-alike that for centuries has graced classic cutting gardens. American gardeners have relied on its pleasing bachelor button flowers since the early 1700s. With pink, purple, or white gumball flowers, globe amaranth has a reliable marathon bloom time (from early summer until the first hard frost). Purple Pinball Gomphrena, a newer cultivar, offers a mounding habit, vibrant purple color, exceptional heat and drought tolerance, and worry-free color all summer long! This long-blooming plant thrives in heat and isn’t picky about the quality of the soil. It is grown in borders, rock gardens, cutting gardens, annual beds, and containers.

Somewhat short in stature (topping out at one to two feet), it is frequently seen in the front of the border where it obligingly fills in any bare spots left by ephemerals or spent spring bulbs. Gomphrena makes a durable cut flower and, when dried, can literally last for years. For the best dried flowers, cut Gomphrena as soon as the blooms are completely open. Strip the leaves, tie the bare stems in bunches and hang them upside down in a dark, dry, well-ventilated place. Whether you stick with the classic Gomphrena globosa or choose one of the newer, flashier 
varieties, you will be getting a plant that is virtually maintenance free and almost completely impervious to disease and pests but welcomed by pollinators.

Wasabi Coleus
Color Clouds Valentine Coleus
Bonanza Orange Marigold
First Flame Yellow Improved Celosia
Aguilera Sky Blue Ageratum
Pinball Purple Gomphrena

Ruthmere
302 East Beardsley Avenue | Elkhart, IN 

w:  Ruthmere.org
p:   888.287.7696

 

ELKHART

“Peace Flower” - Wellfield Botanic Gardens
SIZE: 30’w x 30’h
Peace Flower
Founded by the Elkhart Rotary Club in 2005, Wellfield Botanic Gardens’ mission is to promote the inseparable relationship between water, plants and animals, inspire creativity and education while celebrating nature, foster stewardship for the natural world, and bring people together to build community. Thirty-six acres in size, half of which are water, Wellfield resides on a historical piece of property originally known as the North Main Street Well Field. The property has been a source of hydraulic energy and drinking water for the city of Elkhart since the mid-1800s and continues to provide most of the drinking water for the community.

Wellfield’s Quilt Garden is located just outside its gates, where it is showcased in a new stone-lined bed. Step inside and get in touch with nature as Wellfield leads visitors along winding stone paths dotted with charming pump houses and whimsical sculptures. Vantage points from walkways and bridges offer panoramic views while shaded benches invite quiet reflection. As a botanic garden, every day is different throughout the seasons and Wellfield’s diverse and interesting garden spaces make it a special place to visit. An admission fee is charged for entering the gardens, but you do not need to enter to view the Quilt Garden. Visit their website for more details.

Wellfield Botanic Gardens is a natural fit to feature a living Quilt Garden as it is a chance to showcase horticultural experience and provide an aesthetic addition to the Heritage Trail. Peace Flower, based on a traditional windmill pattern and created in subtle shades of pinks and blues, sits at the entrance to Wellfield Botanic Garden. A raised viewing platform allows you to see it at the best angle and is sure to present a picture-worthy opportunity.

Here you will find Pentas in the center of it all. These Glitterati Purple Star Pentas are like fireworks on a hot summer day with their clusters of crisp purple and white star-shaped flowers. They will provide a non-stop shower of color all summer long, attracting hummingbirds, butterflies and pollinators. Pentas are one of the best pollinator-attracting plants around. They are a top performer in heat and humidity.

Pentas lanceolata Glitterati Purple Star has green foliage and beautiful, showy flowers that can be used as a bedding plant, groundcover, for slope or erosion control, for containers (provide good drainage) or at garden’s edge. If you live in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 10 or 11, you can grow Pentas as evergreen perennials. But in cooler zones across the country, these shrubs, also called Egyptian star flowers, are grown as annuals.

Pentas are low maintenance plants. Provided they get plenty of water, sunshine and heat, they will perform beautifully and reward you with an abundance of blooms. Young Pentas plant care should include pinching off the stem ends to force a more compact plant. Grow Pentas in a fertile, well-drained soil. Amend the soil before planting with compost and, on poor soils, add a balanced organic fertilizer such as 5-5-5 as well. During the growing season, side dress additional fertilizer every few months to keep the flowers blooming strong.
They are widely used in traditional medicine across Africa. Traditionally used to treat lymphadenitis, diarrhea, snake bite, malaria and ascariasis. You will also see the use of Rip Rap stone mulch. Rip Rap, Indiana limestone, provides superior erosion control, channel flow control and slope stability in the roughest conditions which is important for this elevated garden space.

Glitterati Purple Star Pentas
Cathedral Deep Blue Salvia
Cathedral Sky Blue Salvia
Pacifica White Vinca
Eureka Pink Green Leaf Begonia

Wellfield Botanic Gardens
1011 North Main Street  |  Elkhart, IN
w:  WellfieldGardens.org
p:   574.266.2006

 

GOSHEN

“The Mill at Abshire” - Abshire Park
SIZE: 31’w x 31’h
The Mill at Abshire
The Goshen Parks and Recreation Department enjoyed its first Quilt Garden in 2019, as the gardens are a perfect way of expressing art with nature. It speaks to their mission of providing and embracing programs that benefit area residents and contribute to Goshen’s environment, wellness and sense of community.

The garden, located in Abshire Park, is a place where people gather. Donated to the Parks and Recreation Department in 1986, this is the third largest park in the city spanning 75.5 acres. Abshire Park helps to maintain balance in the park system between active and passive recreational opportunities. The park lies adjacent to and is accessible from the Pumpkinvine Nature Trail, a leg of the Maple City Greenway trail network. Abshire Park offers a beautiful trailhead and ample parking for the abundance of trail enthusiasts this park attracts. The north end of the park is a managed natural area and includes a prairie restoration, wetlands and traditional forest. Rock Run Creek borders the park to the southwest. The many different landscapes that come together in Abshire Park provide an ideal habitat for animals and birds. Abshire Cabin, a rentable enclosed pavilion, is located on the property.

The park offers tranquility and green space for picnics, a game of catch or to stretch out in the lawn for a rest or to read a book. It is often used as a SAG stop for numerous running, walking or biking events that take place along the adjacent trails. The Mill at Abshire” is representative of the park’s creating and fostering friendships among bicyclists, walkers, runners and the larger community. This sunny spot is a perfect backdrop for the vibrant colors of the Quilt Garden. 

Located just down the path from the parking lot, the Quilt Garden’s slope allows visitors to get close and view the combination of flowers that make up the gears of the mill. Elkhart County, blessed with plenty of flowing rivers and creeks, was home to many mills during its early days. Abshire Park pays homage to the history and legacy left by the early settlers who prospered along the waterways.

Taking advantage of its full sun setting, the garden highlights plants we have seen in other gardens, Bee’s Knees petunia with its vigorous and long-lasting yellow flowers, Carpet Sky Blue Petunias that quickly form a multi-floral carpet, and vinca, this time Pacifica White Vinca are all hard-working, disease resistant varieties that like well-drained soil and are heat tolerant. All the plants are low maintenance.

Just a few timely touch-ups will keep these plants healthy and beautiful. Vinca Pacifica (Catharanthus roseus Pacifica), sometimes called annual vinca because it isn’t a true vinca, reaches a height of 14 inches in a single year and features pink, purple or white flowers. Like most annual vinca varieties, Pacifica doesn’t require regular pruning, but it can benefit from a light trim 
Petunias have minimal care as well. Remove faded, old, or dead blossoms to both improve blooms and attractiveness, especially for the larger-flowered petunias. Dead-heading prevents seed pods from competing for the plant’s food supplies. Clippings can be added to a compost pile to be recycled.

Pacifica White Vinca
Bee’s Knees Yellow Petunia
Carpet Sky Blue Petunias

Abshire Park managed by the 
Goshen Parks Department
1302 E. Lincoln Ave. | Goshen, IN
w:  GoshenIndiana.org/parks-rec
p:   574.534.2901

GOSHEN

“Elkhart County Farmer”   - Elkhart County 4-H Fairgrounds  
SIZE: 20’w x 40’h
Elkhart County Farmer

The Elkhart County 4-H Fairgrounds is a busy place year-round with RV, motorhome and motorcycle rallies, weddings and receptions, plus corporate and community events. The Elkhart County 4-H Fair is one of the largest 4-H county fairs in the nation, with attendance over 200,000 at the nine-day event. The 2021 Elkhart County 4-H Fair is scheduled for July 23-31, 2021.

One of the first things that impresses many about the fair is the fairgrounds’ landscaping. The entrance to the Elkhart County 4-H Fairgrounds is beautifully landscaped with flowers and shrubbery. The landscaping doesn’t end at the entrance. Most of the buildings throughout the fairgrounds are landscaped with colorful flowers and nicely manicured shrubs, so the Quilt Garden is just one of many photo ops while at the fairgrounds.

This garden is a cooperative partnership between four organizations: Purdue University Co-operative Extension Service, Michiana Master Gardeners Association, Elkhart County Extension Homemakers and the Elkhart County 4-H Fair Board. While planting and maintenance are primarily done by the Master Gardeners, the Extension Homemakers help and have contributed the design. All four organizations help with expenses. Each group brings with it a membership of knowledgeable and generous individuals committed to the mission of the Quilt Gardens project.

The Quilt Gardens at the Elkhart County Fairgrounds have varied greatly over the years, but they always include green to represent life and agriculture. This year’s selection, Elkhart County Farmer is designed as a tribute to all the human resources who help produce food in Elkhart County, tying in nicely with this year’s fair theme, “Honor the Past, Celebrate the Present, Embrace the Future.” Located in the middle of the Quilt Garden is a 3-D focal point which is a further tribute to farmers.

This Quilt Garden’s location, although sunny at times, never receives the minimum six hours of sun that would register it as sunny. Alternanthera likes full sun or part shade, so it will tolerate the lesser sunshine. This garden used Alternanthera in 2020 and had great success with it. Alternanthera, sometimes known as Joseph’s Coat, Choco Chili has stunning foliage all year round. It is nearly black purple on top and a bright ruby on the bottom giving a multi-dimensional look. It is also naturally compact and heat tolerant. Its vigorous and spreading habit means it combines well with almost anything for summertime combination containers and baskets or use as an ornamental garden plant. 

Alternanthera types are native to moist, tropical areas, so it’s important to keep their soil evenly moist, not allowing it to dry out completely at any time. Although it will tolerate part shade, it is darkest in full sun. The amount of pinching you put into your Alternanthera plant care routine determines the growth habit of the plant. If you pinch out the growth tips regularly, the plants form a neat mound that looks fantastic in formal borders, and you can also use them in knot gardens. They remain attractive but take on a casual appearance when you leave them alone.
And then there’s the parsley. Parsley is not only a sumptuous deep green herb with great texture and easy care, but it’s also high in vitamin C. It allows one to see, feel, and taste while promoting health as part of the health, head, heart and hands pledge of the 4-H program.

Choco Chili Alternanthera
Triple-Curled Parsley
Janie Bright Yellow Marigold
Easy Wave Blue Petunia

Elkhart County 4-H Fairgrounds & Purdue Co-Operative Extension Service
17746 County Road 34 | Goshen, IN  

w:  4HFair.org | Extension.Purdue.edu
p:   574.533.FAIR | 574.533.0554


GOSHEN

“Cornflower” - Elkhart County Courthouse 
SIZE: 20’w x 40’h
“Cornflower” - Elkhart County Courthouse

In an area once inhabited by the Miami and Algonquin Native Americans, Goshen was established in 1831 and is the Elkhart County seat. Today you can find testimony to the indigenous in street and park names around the city. Goshen is fast becoming a center for cultural and visual arts all revolving around a historic downtown which embraces its past. Few towns Goshen’s size (just over 34,000 residents) can boast about a thriving downtown cultural arts scene, beautiful historic architecture and intriguing places to eat and shop. 

Because of its central location, the Courthouse is a good place to park and explore downtown. It is within easy walking distance of a great many unique locally owned shops and eateries and the Goshen Historical Museum. Looking at the skyline one can see testament to the good bones of a historic town. The Courthouse building, over 100 years old in the Renaissance Revival style, is stately and the magnificent Neptune Fountain adds to the town’s ambiance. Perhaps one of Goshen’s greatest boons is its bounty of independent restaurants. Foodies need look no further than downtown for artisan pizza and bread, craft beer, chocolates, burritos, gelato and spicy curries.  The city is home to five artists’ guilds and you’ll find several galleries and shops around town showcasing artists’ work.

This years’ Quilt Garden is a combined effort of the Elkhart County Dahlia Society, Goshen Rotary, and the Elkhart County government. Designing, planning, planting, and maintaining the Quilt Gardens takes time and dedication. These three groups have divided up the responsibilities to present a Quilt Garden of consistent beauty. Along with the physical commitment, the Cornflower pattern and the morning sunshine help create a fine addition to downtown Goshen and the courthouse lawn for visitors and residents alike.

Nothing says sunshine like marigolds. Bonanza Yellow Marigolds with 2-to-3-inch pincushion flowers are dwarf crested French marigolds. Their fine delicate texture and bright color adds to the garden design. This Bonanza marigold is great for cut flowers and the flowers smell amazing. Walking paths amid the garden design allow for maintaining the look of the marigolds with deadheading throughout the growing season. Deadheading helps keep the garden looking neat as well as keeping the plants producing abundant flowers up to frost. This garden receives its best sun in the morning, a plus for any garden. Begonias prefer some shade and the late afternoon shade here offers all the plants respite from afternoon heat.

Bonanza Yellow Marigold
Olympia Super White Green Leaf Begonia
Carpet Blue Petunia
Cocktail Vodka Bronze Leaf Begonia

Elkhart County Courthouse
in partnership with the Goshen Chamber 
of Commerce and the Downtown 
Economic Improvement District of Goshen
101 North Main Street | Goshen, IN  

w:  ElkhartCountyIndiana.com
w:  Goshen.org
p:   574.533.2102


GOSHEN

“Points of Reflection” - Old Bag Factory
SIZE: 29’w x 32’h
“Points of Reflection” - Old Bag Factory
In 1896, J.J. Burns opened the Cosmo Buttermilk Soap Co. in Goshen. The production building took up nearly 80,000 square feet of space. Inside, workers manufactured laundry soap, fine bathing soap and toilet paper. In 1910, the plant was renovated and purchased by The Chicago-Detroit Bag Co. A 1924 merger put the building under the control of the Chase Bag Factory and became part of a colossal enterprise. The Goshen plant was one of the largest and most important of the 15 plants owned by the company. The range of bags extended from waterproof burlap sacks to the fine, sheer paper used in Hershey’s Kiss wrappers. The term “bagology” which is painted across the building was coined during this period, meaning “to elevate the production of bags to the level of science.” 

In 1984, the Old Bag Factory was restored, and artists and merchants began making this nostalgic building and its surroundings their home. The Old Bag Factory thrives on craft and commerce just as it had in the past. One can watch hand-thrown pottery being processed, or steel structures being welded into place. Jewelry, rolls and artwork are offered in shops throughout the historic building. Now, instead of transporting goods by train, the Old Bag Factory’s artists and merchants can send their crafts away in — what else? — shopping bags.The Points of Reflection Quilt Garden is located just south off of the parking lot. Located on a steep hill, it offers good views even from your vehicle. The design, chosen for its sophistication, makes good use of close to 800 petunias, one being Bee’s Knees, the 2020 winner of the Greenhouse Grower Reader’s Choice Award and a new 2021 entry into the consumer market. Bee’s Knees, meaning a highly admired person or thing, aptly names this vigorous petunia. 

Bee’s Knees is filled with lush blooms and puts on a high impact show all season long with extraordinarily little attention. It brings the most intense yellow petunia to the market, along with the best performance. This variety holds its yellow color better than any other yellow petunia. Compared to other yellow petunias, Bee’s Knees offers a bright and distinctive improvement.Carpet Sky Blue Petunias share the spotlight, providing a low-growing carpet of 3 inch flowers in color ranges between blue to light lavender shades depending on temperature and sunlight. These two points of reflection should be standouts all summer. 

Often grown as annuals, petunias are one of the most popular flowers because of their long flowering period. Petunias need full sun, or they will become spindly, and they don’t tend to flower in the shade. They are quite versatile, growing in different types of soil, but it is important that the soil drains well and doesn’t stay wet.

Petunias are tolerant of heat, so you don’t have to water them regularly. A thorough watering once a week should be sufficient (unless there are prolonged periods of drought in your area). Avoid watering shallowly as this encourages shallow roots. The spreading types of petunias and those in containers require more frequent watering. 
By midsummer, most petunias get leggy, producing blossoms at the tips of long, leafless stems. To keep petunias tidy and flowering, we prune the shoots back to about half their length. This will encourage more branching and flowers.

Bees Knees Yellow Petunia
Carpet Sky Blue Petunia
Olympia Super White Green Leaf Begonia
Deep Rose Bronze Leaf Tequila Begonia

Old Bag Factory
1100 North Chicago Avenue
Goshen, IN
w:  OldBagFactory.com
p:   574.534.2502


MIDDLEBURY

“Old Windmill” - Das Dutchman Essenhaus
SIZE: 49’w x 57’h
“Old Windmill” - Das Dutchman Essenhaus

Since 1971, Das Dutchman Essenhaus is dedicated to providing each guest with a wholesome, safe environment, warm hospitality, outstanding service, and consistent quality. What began as a 120-seat family-style restaurant has grown to become Indiana’s largest restaurant with over 1,100 seats celebrating its 50th anniversary in 2021. In addition to the flagship of the organization, the campus offers overnight lodging at the charming Inn, shopping opportunities in boutique-style stores, a home-style bakery, live theatre at Heritage Hall, and abundant outdoor recreational options. The Essenhaus has been a part of the Quilt Garden project since its inception and states that “creating a large-scale quilt pattern of living flowers is special and unique in our ‘patchwork community’ and we’re thrilled to have the opportunity to participate.”

The company’s mission extends to every corner of the grounds, including this lovely floral Quilt Garden covering over 3,100 square feet. As the site of one of the first two test gardens in 2006, the Essenhaus continues to offer their best to the Quilt Gardens along the Heritage Trail. The pattern they have selected, Pink Peony Kaleidoscope, is brought to life with an explosion of color from petunias, begonias, zinnias and coleus. The largest Quilt Garden along the Heritage Trail, with over 3,100 square feet, is set on a grassy hill with plenty of room to roam around or sit awhile in their gazebo. You’re sure to find the perfect spot to take a picture. 

Old Windmill is a vibrant patchwork of plants and colors, combining old favorites with some newer varieties to create a feast for the eyes. As you view the design, you can appreciate not only the variety and pattern, but also the dedication to maintenance and care. Keeping a Quilt Garden vibrant takes plenty of time and water. The payoff is the smiles on faces such as yours. Red salvia flowers form a striking accent when massed together here, but they are also effective when lined up in a row as edging plants. They are popular in container gardens, where they can serve as a vertical accent, surrounded, for example, with the lower-growing white sweet alyssum and/or silvery dusty miller. This long-time favorite will serve as a great addition to any yard in summer and early fall if you follow a few simple rules about locating and caring for it. Growing red salvia flowers in full sun will give you the biggest flower output. Also select a location with a loamy, well-drained soil. Amend the soil with compost. To improve their looks and encourage better flowering, deadhead red salvia plants. You can do this by pinching off the flower spikes with spent blooms. Make your pinch far down on their stems. 

The begonia (Eureka Green Leaf) used here in white, offers a clean, compact habit that is uniform across all colors. Its extensive basal branching translates to excellent outdoor performance and a free flowering habit. Incredibly early to bloom, these plants perform equally well in 
garden beds, mixed containers and hanging baskets. You’ll find that it continues to bloom in hot, humid conditions, is drought tolerant, rabbit resistant, heat tolerant, shade tolerant, and low maintenance.

This Flame Thrower Salsa Verde coleus plant adds spice to the design with its unique texture and lime green colored leaves. Twice-a-week watering offers minimal maintenance in partially sunlit areas. With fragrant foliage, this Flame Thrower Salsa Verde coleus plant brings a variety of birds, bees and butterflies to your garden for an enchanting addition to the garden.

Profusion Yellow Zinnia
Dwarf Red Salvia
Eureka Green Leaf White Begonia
Flame Thrower Salsa Verde Yellow Coleus
Turf Grass

Das Dutchman Essenhaus
240 US 20 | Middlebury, IN  

w:  Essenhaus.com
p:  800.455.9471


MIDDLEBURY
SIZE: 45’w x 45’h

“Dutch Mill” - Dutch Country Market

Situated in real Dutch country, Dutch Country Market provides a chance to stop and listen to the bees a-buzz in the garden. You’ll find the huge, 2,209 square feet, Dutch Mill Quilt Garden full of flowers, as well as bees. In fact, bees and other insects seem to appreciate the Quilt Gardens just as much as the visitors. Pollinators can often be seen nestled among each of the 16 Quilt Gardens in the county, and growers like Norman and Katie are careful to avoid harmful pesticides, and to use natural fertilizers so the bees stay healthy and productive, and with good reason.   
Honey is one of their specialties. Norman has tended bees for over 20 years and produces 36,000 pounds of honey products a year!  The pure honey you find here is all from their own beehives as well as beekeeper friends throughout Indiana. Ten flavors of spun honey as well as Peanut Butter - n- Honey Spread are made right there, and all are definitely customer favorites! The store carries jars of honey in many sizes and varieties, comb honey, honey sticks, bee pollen, beeswax candles and soap, and nine flavors of whipped honey.  They also have a working honeybee hive right inside the store where you can see the bees at work. They love to send you out with, “Have a honey of a day!”

Dutch Country Market is also the home of Katie’s homemade noodles, where you may observe noodles being made daily, right before your eyes! In 2005, Norman and Katie Lehman used Katie’s homemade noodles to launch Dutch Country Market. As the business has grown so has the selection of noodles - four widths, two thicknesses, white and whole wheat, and an average of 400 pounds a day, all made from scratch with no preservatives. Weekday mornings one can watch them rolling out the noodles. They also have a wide selection of other products - jellies, pickles, preserves, salty snacks, and another local favorite, Amish Peanut Butter.  Outside, local produce of amazingly high quality can be found in season, as well as locally made lawn furniture.

Norman and Katie have chosen to use Sweet Potato Vine as part of their planted design this year, the only garden using this popular container plant. Sweet potato vine (Ipomoea batatas) is a fast-growing tropical vine that gracefully spills over the edges of patio containers or hanging baskets. Planted in the ground, sweet potato vine serves as a ground cover or sprawls along the border of a flower bed. While full sun is ideal, sweet potato vines accept partial to full shade as well, however their leaves may be differently colored in full shade conditions. In cooler climates, sweet potato vine is grown as an annual.

While it is the same species as its edible relative, ornamental sweet potato vines are bred for their incredible leaves rather than their tasty tubers. Purple vine plants are common, as are green, red, bronze, and even multicolored. With leaves that range from lacy to heart-shaped, and the oc­casional rare trumpet-shaped flower, these fast-growing ornamentals can provide a lush, eye-catching addition to your landscape.

Trim sweet potato vine if it becomes too exuberant in its container or outgrows its boundaries in a flower bed. Trimming stimulates bushy, healthy growth and the trimmed vine rebounds quickly. If you are trying to train your vines to fork out and create a thicker ground cover or to promote a mounding pattern, try to trim just above a place where there’s a pair of leaves. 

Fresh Look Yellow Celosia
Easy Wave Blue Petunia
Purple Sweet Potato Vine
Snow Princess White Ageratum

Dutch Country Market
11401 CR 16  |  Middlebury, IN 
w:  Dutch Country Market
p:   574.825.3594

 

MIDDLEBURY
SIZE: 20’w x 40’h

“Postage Stamp” - Krider World’s Fair Garden
The history and beauty of Krider World’s Fair Garden managed by the Middlebury Parks Department adds to the Quilt Garden experience. Not only are visitors able to see a beautiful Quilt Garden, but they also learn about the Krider family history and can enjoy the pleasant park and botanical garden atmosphere. The current garden serves as a historical and botanical icon to the Krider Family Nursery. It was formed by Vernon Krider in the late 1800s and was known as the largest plant nursery between Cleveland and Chicago. The gardens were originally designed for display in the 1933-1934 Chicago World’s Fair. The Krider garden then began as display gardens for the nursery after bringing back many of the structures from the World’s Fair exhibit.

The nursery was an important and meaningful business for the town of Middlebury. It once was the largest employer for the local economy and was a major reason the Pumpkinvine railroad was built through Middlebury. Vernon Krider’s grandson, Rex Krider, has been active restoring the garden’s history with replicas of original garden structures from the 1930s, and propagating the “Festival” thorn-less rose (a 1944 Krider patent and pictured on the center mural as part of this year’s quilt design). The mural is hand-painted by local artist Linda Pieri. Krider Garden continues the tradition of using patterns that relate to Krider World’s Fair Garden and/or the Middlebury community. 

While strolling through the gardens, one can find a multitude of photo ops among the structures. The concrete mushrooms from the 1933 Chicago World’s Fair are a great photo spot, as are the windmill, water features and gazebo where one can also sit in the gliders and rest a while. The 2021 Krider World’s Fair Quilt Garden is a stylized Postage Stamp pattern. This pattern recognizes the history of Middlebury, the art of quilting, flower gardening and a unique quilt pattern. This location provides some challenges as it is one of the most shaded gardens on the tour. This garden is then done with shade-loving begonias and shade-tolerant parsley. 

Semperflorens, meaning always flowering, begonias are also known as wax begonias. They are compact, tender, ever-blooming herbaceous perennials normally used as disposable annual bedding plants in temperate and tropical regions. Their roots are fibrous and dense, giving rise to another common name — fibrous begonia. The Eureka Series wax begonias are slightly taller than most other wax begonias, they share their propensity for flowering constantly in mild weather. Although some will survive in full sun, most prefer a more shaded location that gets a little sunlight each day. Begonias prefer a rich, slightly moist soil.  Enriching the soil with humus is beneficial in beds with begonias.

Watering correctly is important in the care of begonias. Soil should remain moist, but not too wet. A well-draining soil or potting mix simplifies this task. Begonias should not be watered in the heat of the day to avoid burning the plants.  Water wax begonias at the base to avoid leaf spot and the possibility of fungal diseases. To keep begonias in top form, feed every 10 days during the summer with a diluted solution of liquid fertilizer. The most compact and healthy wax begonias result from deadheading and pinching back regularly. Annual begonia plants are also deer resistant, so keep them in mind for trouble spots in the landscape.

Hawaii Blue Ageratum
Triple Curled Parsley
Super Olympia Pink Green Leaf Begonia
Red Cocktail Bronze Leaf Begonia 
Super Olympia White Green Leaf Begonia

Krider World’s Fair Garden
302 West Bristol Avenue (County Road 8)
Middlebury, IN  

w:  MiddleburyIN.com
p:   574.825.1499

 

NAPPANEE

“Sweet Apples” - Nappanee Center & Chamber of Commerce
SIZE: 30’w x 30’h
“Sweet Apples” - Nappanee Center & Chamber of Commerce

Nappanee sits at the crossroads of U.S. 6 and S.R. 19, two major highways in the northern sector of Indiana. It’s a community of people that thrives on being a tight-knit community. From the construction of the downtown pavilion completed through a community effort that resembled an old-fashioned barn raising, to city employees who strive to provide the best possible government services to its residents and guests, the city lives “community.” 

The quarter-block area where the Quilt Garden resides sits on the Heritage Trail and in the backyard of the Nappanee Chamber of Commerce. The Chamber shares space with the 
Nappanee Center/Heritage Museum and the John Hartman Home, a structure that dates to 1897. The Heritage Museum has an impressive collection started by former librarian Evelyn Culp in the Nappanee Public Library but was later moved to this site. Over the years this collection has expanded to include a collection of historic Hoosier cabinets and many other items of interest. 
This year’s design, Sweet Apples, ties in with another local highlight, the 45th annual Nappanee Apple Festival. The festival is home to Indiana’s largest 7-foot baked apple pie and comes out of the oven just in time to kick off the festival. Known for family-friendly atmosphere, fun activities, and a lot of shopping, you can be sure to have a good time no matter what your age. The festival is planned for September 16-19, 2021.

The quilt design poses many challenges with its curved lines and small shapes. They are looking for begonias to provide the apple red peels and crisp white cores. Silver Falls Dichondra keeps everything in line and helps define the edges of all four apples. Dichondra has small, rounded leaves that resemble miniature water lily pads and spreads by rooting surface runners. The name Silver Falls comes from the unique coloring of the leaves, a silvery pale green. The flowers are not very noticeable, and the real reason to grow this plant is for the pretty leaves. It is also prized for its ability to spread and cover an area vigorously and quickly as well as for its low-maintenance nature. It is heat and drought tolerant and will recover quickly if watered after wilting. In the Midwest, dichondra has no serious insect or disease problems.

Growing a Silver Falls plant indoors is a great way to add a different element to your houseplants. Silver falls dichondra care is simple. Give your Silver Falls houseplant rich but not heavy soil and make sure the container will drain well. It prefers medium to dry conditions, so staying inside in the winter with drier air is usually no problem for this plant. Make sure the pot is big enough to allow the plant to spread or be prepared to trim it back as needed. Find a spot that gets some filtered sunlight throughout the day, as Silver Falls prefers partial shade to full sunlight.

To keep all the Quilt Gardens looking like quilts requires work, not only in regular maintenance like watering, weeding and fertilizing, but also with deadheading, pinching and trimming for you to see the quilt pattern. Quilt Gardens are a labor of love by the many who work (often as volunteers) to make them perform well and look their best all summer long.

Vodka Red Bronze Leaf Begonia
Triple Curled Parsley
Black Dragon Coleus
Silver Falls Dichondra
Whiskey White Bronze Leaf Begonia
Black Mulch

Nappanee Center 
& Chamber of Commerce
302 West Market Street | Nappanee, IN
w:  NappaneeChamber.com
p:   574.773.7812 


NAPPANEE

“Arrows to the Barns” - The Barns at Nappanee
SIZE: 20’w x 40’h
“Arrows to the Barns” - The Barns at Nappanee
The Barns at Nappanee, Home of Amish Acres, opened in April of 2020 with the goal of honoring the past and embracing the future. On the property you’ll find the only Old Order Amish farm listed on the National Register of Historic Places and open for house and farm tours. The Barns at Nappanee, Home of Amish Acres is well over a hundred years old and a must stop for dining, theater, tours and events. Enjoy a wonderful meal at their restaurants including the Barns Steak House featuring a true farm-to-table experience. Their bakery also offers other fresh options.

The Round Barn Theatre, part of the property, continues the tradition of excellent entertainment with live theater. Enjoy great cultural experiences by day and fantastic entertainment by night with enhanced new safety protocols in place. The Barns at Nappanee, Home of Amish Acres will present the 59th annual Amish Acres Arts & Crafts Market August 5-8, 2021. This annual event has achieved national recognition and accolades with its quality and variety of offerings and the artists and entertainers’ engaging personalities.


This is the Barns at Nappanee, Home of Amish Acres’ first Quilt Garden. Their pattern, Arrows to the Barns, is based on a 1943 quilt pattern, Old Indian Trail, tying in the directional aspect to all they have to offer with the Algonquian meaning of the name Nappanee, which probably was “flour.” They have located their garden centrally, so information, tours and buggy rides are all close by, as are picnic tables to allow time to take it all in.

The garden relies heavily on wax begonias for its design. Begonias are tender perennials, grown for their colorful flowers and foliage. Most begonias can be grown outdoors in pots, in the ground, or in hanging baskets in filtered light and moist, but well drained soil. The bushy Olympia Red begonia is erect with succulent stems. Morning sun (and a little afternoon shade) is perfect. 

Wax begonias can tolerate more sun than other types, and the ones with bronze-colored leaves are the most sun-tolerant of all. Wax or fibrous begonias are classic bedding plants because they are beautiful all season and easy to grow. Though commonly grown as annuals these are actually evergreen perennials where hardy. As a group, they are hybrids of three South American species, Begonia cucullata, Begonia hookeri and Begonia schmidtiana. 

Olympia Super White has many white, single everblooming flowers. Begonias grow very well in peat-based compost. While begonias like humidity, they do not like cold weather. Pinching tips and pruning outer stems in the growing season will give a bushier plant. They look super in containers, hanging baskets and shaded borders. In colder zones, begonias can be brought indoors to overwinter. Pot-grown begonia plants can be stored in their containers for the winter as long as they remain dry. They should also be relocated to a protected area that’s cool, dark and dry. Pots can be left in an upright position or slightly tipped.

Triple Curled Parsley
Olympia Super White Green Leaf Begonia
Cocktail Vodka Red Bronze Leaf Begonia

The Barns at Nappanee, 
Home of Amish Acres
1600 West Market Street | Nappanee, IN
w:  TheBarnsAtNappanee.com
p:   574.773.4188 

WAKARUSA

“Windmill Star” - Downtown Wakarusa
SIZE: 30’w x 30’h
“Windmill Star” - Downtown Wakarusa
Wakarusa is one of those towns where the rush of the big city is left behind and old-fashioned is an honored trait. Centered around the town’s only stoplight, you can find historic buildings featuring tin ceilings, a hardware store open since 1904 with a wall of 1,000 drawers ready to serve you, and a dime store. Wakarusa Dime Store was begun by a German immigrant in 1907 as Wolfberg’s Department Store. Today, Wakarusa Dime Store is home to the Giant Jumbo Jelly Bean, big enough to share. 

This year’s Quilt Garden continues Wakarusa’s tradition of bold design, in rich jewel tones, which pairs well with the town’s flowers along the street as well as the Dancing Leaves mural nearby. In fact, this is a good spot for some great photo-taking, capturing not one, but two display quilts. Windmill Star with its over 3,000 plants is reason enough to pull out the camera. The bright contrast of flowers, foliage and design lines should give one a chance to get creative with poses and portraits amid this quiet, historical setting.

Creativity abounds with the use of color and flower types in this garden. Marigolds, begonias and Victoria Blue Salvia with their bright reds, oranges, whites and violet blues provide stunning contrast amid the 900 square foot plot while blending seamlessly with the surrounding buildings and the town’s flower pots of purple and white. Planning for this garden included a larger view of color to increase the experience.

Resembling lavender with its rich violet blue flower spikes, Mealy Cup Sage Victoria Blue is a compact, multi-branched plant that blooms profusely. Native to Texas and Mexico, Victoria Blue is generally treated as an annual. The foliage is also pretty, being a grayish green; the leaves are lance shaped. This type of ornamental sage can be made to bloom all summer long with proper care. Take advantage of its long-blooming quality and use this member of the mint family to fill holes in your sequence of bloom.

Because of their showy, long-lasting flowers, they are often treated as bedding plants and massed together to form a “sea of blue,” especially here in the North. In round container gardens, install a Victoria Blue salvia plant in the middle, and let shorter plants in complementary colors trail over the edge, such as white sweet alyssum For those who like to bring the garden inside, the flowers can be used in cut-flower arrangements or dried for a longer-lasting display. 

The red begonias used in this garden are from the “Cocktail” series of F1 begonias. Some have joked that the flowers look like cocktail meatballs. All in the series have deep bronze leaves and a variety of colored flowers. The names are gin, Tequila, vodka, whiskey, and rum. Vodka (red) is at work here. These “tried and true” begonias continue to be one of the world’s standard 
bronze-leaved series for mass landscape beds. Far more weather-resistant than the green-leaved types, and more sun and rain-tolerant. Abundant blooms are large, averaging 1-1/4” across. 
It is a little curious that these alcohol-named plants can’t tolerate too much water.

Victoria Blue Salvia
Taishan Orange Marigold
Cocktail Vodka Red Bronze Leaf Begonia
Olympia Super White Green Leaf Begonia

Wakarusa Chamber of Commerce
100 West Waterford Street 
Wakarusa, IN
w:  WakarusaChamber.com
p:   574.862.4344

Visit QuiltGardens.com for more information

2021 Quilt Gardens Photos

Is there a map of the Quilt Gardens and Quilt Murals?

Yes, here is a map that shows the Quilt Gardens and Quilt Murals locations, names, and location address.

Quilt Gardens Map

When can I see the Quilt Gardens?

The Quilt Gardens are viewable May 30 - September 15 each year.

Learn more about the quilt gardens.

Are the Quilt Gardens and Quilt Murals all in one location?

No, they are not all at one location. The 16 Quilt Gardens and 23 hand-painted Quilt Murals are spread throughout the cities and towns of BristolElkhartGoshenMiddleburyNappanee, and Wakarusa along the Heritage Trail in Elkhart County.

 

How do the Quilt Gardens and Quilt Murals look right now?

The Quilt Gardens are currently at their peak and look beautiful! We have had a lot of rain & heat but our volunteers have been working hard with Mother Nature's challenges. The Quilt Murals are looking fabulous as well. We hope you enjoy them! 

Are the Quilt Gardens Accessible?

Quilt Gardens are best experienced from the walkways and lawns surrounding each site's location. Some Quilt Gardens can be viewed from your vehicle, but that does not provide the optimal experience. A few Quilt Gardens locations provide viewing platforms accessible by a handful of steps. Most Quilt Murals are visible from the car or sidewalk. 

What are the addresses for the Quilt Gardens?

Just enter the address in your favorite map app on your mobile device for easy directions to each location. You can also download the map for the Quilt Gardens and Quilt Murals,

Quilt Gardens location addresses

Director of Group and Experiential Sales & Promotions

Sonya Nash, CTIS, CTP

Director of Group and Experiential Sales & Promotions