Download the 2021 Quilter's Chronicles
2021 Quilter's Chronicles

Every quilt garden has its own intricate pattern - many are original designs - and each has its own unique story.  The Master Gardener’s Guidebook gives you detailed information about each pattern from a gardeners viewpoint.
Visit to download today!


Quilt Gardens along the Heritage Trail is an innovative, creative, one-of-a-kind experience designed to interest a widerange 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.  

Share your pics and experiences with us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram using #QuiltGardens

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!

Elkhart County, IN Visitor Center
3421 Cassopolis Street | Elkhart, IN
p: 800.262.8161



Denise Sanders 

My name is Denise Sanders and I love filet mignon, spinach soufflé, and fresh cut flowers.  Just kidding, I am not really a fan of any of those things. However, I do love gardening 
and quilting. I took the Elkhart County Master Gardens program in 2000 and was very involved for about eight years. Having 28 acres in Bristol, my husband and I needed lots 
of knowledge and had an interest in maintaining our trees, gardens and wildlife.

With the impending birth of our first grandson in 2008, I asked a very dear friend to help me make a quilt out of 30-year-old Sears Winnie-the-Pooh drapes. She taught me how to “fussy cut” around the characters and make a simple Around-the-World quilt. I was bound and determined I should hand-quilt this for my new grandson. She quickly squelched that idea and I am thankful she did. I have taken lessons to learn how to hand-quilt and know this skill will take many years for me to perfect.  
This was a very interesting project for me. I enjoyed learning about the history of quilt block names and seeing so many beautiful blocks that are new to me.  I am excited to see how the blocks look created in flowers instead of fabric.

I hope each of you enjoy visiting these gardens and experiencing all the wonderful locations and all they have to offer. Enjoy!


  • A bias edge is any edge of a fabric piece that is not cut on the straight grain of the fabric.
  • A sampler quilt is a quilt that contains several quilt block patterns that are all different and sewn together to make the quilt top.
  • A scrap quilt is a quilt that has been constructed with different fabrics as if the creator was using all their leftover fabric scraps to make the quilt. 
  • Applique is sewing a piece of fabric on top of a base fabric quilt can have one border or several.
  • Borders are the larger strips of fabric that create the outside edge of a quilt top.  A quilt can have one border or several.
  • Concave is the hollow shape/dipping into the pattern piece.
  • Convex is a bowed-out shape/rounding outward away from the base of the pattern piece.
  • Sashing is the narrow strips of fabric that are sewn between the quilt blocks to join them together.
  • Seam allowance is the fabric on the outside edge of the seam or line of stitching.
  • Straight grains of the fabric run across the width and length of a piece of fabric.


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   


“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.

Chosen for its simplicity, the Box Car pattern is actually quite unique with its geometric design, which is why it was selected for this garden. It is said to have been designed years ago by the wife of a railroad official; the angularity of the block being reminiscent of his first impression of the box car. “I think it is a rather unflattering title to be bestowed on a most attractive quilt block,” says Nancy Cabot, Chicago Tribune, November 10, 1934.

A boxcar is a railroad car that is enclosed and generally used to carry freight. The boxcar is the railroad workhorse, as it is both simple and versatile. Originally, boxcars were 
hand-loaded, but nowadays, forklifts have made loading and unloading much faster. Livestock can be transported with sufficient ventilation. In the 1940s circuses began using boxcars to transport workers, supplies and animals for limited distances. The circus even arrived in Elkhart by train.  
The Underground Railroad, a network of secret stops and safe houses, offered aid to enslaved people to escape the north. Although generally considered myth by historians, folklore says that slaves followed secret messages from quilts hanging in full view to guide them safely along their journey. Whether fact or myth, Bonnie Browning of the American Quilter’s 
Society, says, “it makes a wonderful story.” There are sources in the research library of the ECHM if you are interested in further investigating Elkhart County’s tie to the Underground Railroad.

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  

p: 574.848.4322


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


Elkhart’s Central Park spent much of this past year in the throes of a major facelift. You’ll find the Quilt 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 events as well as the many other people who 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 in Elkhart!

An eclipse quilt is a modern quilt design featuring a rainbow of colors. The Modern Quilt Guild defines modern quilting as “quilts that are functional, include bold colors, and are 
inspired by modern design.  Minimalism, asymmetry, expansive negative space and alternate grid work are often a part of modern quilt compositions, as are improvisational piecing and solid fabrics.” All that to say, anything goes.  Modern quilting can be traced back to 1998 when Martha Stewart Living featured an article by Denyse Schmidt calling her quilts “chic, modernist aesthetic.” Schmidt is an artist, quilter, author and fabric designer. In 2005, with two new books on modern quilting being published and the advancement in technology where quilters were able to share more and more of their quilts online, modern quilting took off.  

Today there are more than 200 modern quilt guilds in 39 countries around the world. There are dozens of modern quilt books, graphic modern fabrics and modern quilt categories at national quilt shows. Modern quilting welcomes new quilters of all ages to use the colors and styles of today to express themselves. Remember, modern quilting is more about the journey than the finished product. Enjoy the “no rules” philosophy and experience the freedom in constructing the quilt you want to make.

The Eclipse Quilt Garden in Central Park was designed by Diana Bennett as an adaptation of her wall hanging, Eclipse. The Eclipse wall hanging was inspired by an Art Deco stained glass pattern found in a book published in 1977 by Dover Publications, Inc. of New York. Her wall hanging Eclipse can be viewed at the Elkhart County Visitor Center.  

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  

p:   574.295.7275


“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.

Crossed Canoes is a member of a family of four-pointed star patterns of the late 19th century. The “canoes” create an optical illusion of curves from shapes made from sewing straight lines. There are only 3 seams to each quarter block, and the fourth seam sews the quarter blocks into a large square. The pattern dates back as far as the late 1800s. This traditional block was published in the Ladies Art Company catalog and sold as a kit. One can only imagine the price of the kit back then. It also appeared in the Detroit Free Press in 1929 and published again in 1931 Ruby McKim’s One Hundred and One Patchwork Patterns.

This pattern and the subject matter are perfect for the Elkhart Environmental Center as it ties into their natural recreational theme. The Center has just restored the canoe/kayak launch hoping to promote public use of the nearby Elkhart River. The Elkhart River is a 48.3-mile-long tributary of the St. Joseph River. It is almost entirely contained in Elkhart County. There are approximately 15 canoe/boat launches available. The location of the Crossed Canoe Quilt Garden is perfect with the cabin nearby hosting a location to pick up 
a trail map and to learn more about the property. There are picnic tables, statues, recycled art figures, and a variety of adjacent natural spaces to view. A pavilion was recently 
completed near the Visitor Cabin to provide a seated shade area to view the Quilt Garden,  take a rest or even enjoy a picnic lunch.

Wizard Velvet Red Coleus
Profusion Lemon Zinnia
Triple Curled Parsley
Elkhart Environmental Center
1717 East Lusher Avenue
Elkhart, IN  

p: 574.293.5070


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

Tickled Pink

The staff at Linton’s enjoys welcoming visitors from near and far to their unique, family-friendly and delightful garden center that brings beauty to all through plants. Linton’s Enchanted Gardens is not only a garden center, but also a family destination. Over the last few years, they have added a number of attractions to their unique garden center complex: a butterfly house, pedal go-karts, pedal bumper boats, petting zoo, garden cafe, gift shop and much more. The staff at Linton’s sees the Quilt Garden project as an extension of their garden center. 

The project provides Linton’s a unique opportunity to partner with the Vera Bradley Foundation for Breast Cancer. Each year it offers them a new and exciting challenge to incorporate the organization’s current Breast Cancer Awareness fabric pattern into their 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. 

The quilt block this pattern is named for is a traditional patchwork design from the Ladies Art Company.  Established in 1889, the Ladies Art Company began publishing a catalog containing hundreds of quilt pattern blocks. A different name or title was given to each block. Quilt block names were derived from every aspect of society – political, patriotic or historical. Some names come from their geometric shape – triangles, squares, circles or diamonds. Some are named after vegetables, flowers or animals, and some are even named after people or places. According to a Chicago Tribune article, published on February 16, 1935, “the pattern is native to Indiana, where it was first pieced in 1876. Linton is located in Stockton Township, Greene County, Indiana. The pattern may be pieced entirely of plain or print materials, or in combination. Linton is easy to piece and, when set together in an all over quilt, forms a continuous design throughout the coverlet. It also may be alternated with plain blocks and set together with bands of solid color.” The Linton block is sometimes called the Linton Path through the woods and is similar to a sash and block design. It is reminiscent of a town square or bandstand.

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
p: 888.779.9333



“Unity Through Diversity” - Ruthmere Museum  
SIZE: 30’w x 30’h

Unity Through Diversity

The Beardsley Avenue Historic District is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. This historic district of Elkhart includes two homes originally built by the Beardsley family. The home of Havilah Beardsley, the founder of Elkhart, is located at 102 W. Beardsley Ave. To many in the community, this is known as the founder’s home. His nephew, Albert R. Beardsley, built his home at 302 E. Beardsley Ave. and is called Ruthmere. Both homes are open to the public for tours in which visitors can learn about the most prominent families in Elkhart’s history. 

Native American quilters incorporated designs on their quilts to tell stories of their ancestors. Others used a more contemporary format. Ruthmere chose the Indian Sunburst pattern to best reflect their theme “Unity through Diversity.”

Diversity is certainly a way to describe the United States. We have added diversity from the first landing at Jamestown, Virginia to the California Gold Rush. As settlers moved west, they brought quilts with them and the Native Americans became fascinated. Missionaries also introduced quilts to them. In trying to teach them homemaking skills, they taught them to quilt.

The Morning Star quilt design, which is the pattern that Ruthmere’s Indian Sunburst pattern is based on,  became a favorite of the Native American women in the late 1800s. It had previously been used in paintings on hides and in beadwork, but soon became incorporated in quilt making. The Morning Star pattern is still a favorite among Native Americans today.
Southwestern Native Americans incorporated symbolism into their quilt making. 

The best-known quilters are the Hopi. Hopi quilters use pottery designs on their quilts. One Hopi woman said, “You just put the fabric scraps together as you get them and you don’t plan the colors. That is the old-fashioned way.”

The way quilts are used by Native Americans is what gives them distinction. They incorporate quilts into ancient ceremonies and celebrations such as baby-naming ceremonies, pow-wows, graduations, funerals and to honor veterans. They have not only embraced the making of the quilt but demonstrated that gifting a quilt is the perfect gift.  
Ruthmere is shying away from the typical orange and yellow colors for the Sunburst and going with a more contemporary color scheme. Their color of the rainbow choices 
demonstrates their theme for “Unity through Diversity.”  And as said by the very wise 14-year-old, Mattie Stepanek, “unity is strength…when there is teamwork and 
collaboration, wonderful things can be achieved.”

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

302 East Beardsley Avenue | Elkhart, IN 

p: 888.287.7696



“Peace Flower” - Wellfield Botanic Gardens
SIZE: 30’w x 30’h

Peace Flower

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. 

Wellfield’s welcoming Quilt Garden is located just outside their gates for the public to enjoy admission-free. Visitors to the Quilt Garden are welcome to sit on the bench and 
contemplate the garden and the world around them. Consider stepping inside the 36 acres of lush gardens set against a backdrop of native woodlands with the bubbling, crystal-clear water of Christiana Creek flowing through the grounds. Striking in any season, Wellfield leads visitors along winding stone paths dotted with charming pump houses and whimsical sculptures. 

Wellfield’s 2021 annual theme is “Emerging Peace” and will feature the Origami in the Garden sculpture exhibit May through October. The 1932 Double Windmill origami-like shaped pattern lent itself to being a part of our theme. In addition, it looks like a flower and flowers have been used to represent emotions and meanings throughout history. 
 So, in theming the Quilt Garden, they have chosen “Peace Flower.”

Origami has been around for thousands of years. However, origami quilts are a relatively new form of quilt making. They belong to a subset of origami called “modular origami” meaning a multiple number of units assembled into a larger and more complex unit. Units for fabric origami quilts are made to look pretty. Folded fabric can be added onto a quilt like an appliqué or the folded fabric itself can be a block with the quilt.  A fabric origami quilt means a true quilt which has origami-style folds within the quilt. 
The simple origami fold gives the quilt a classic, elegant look.  If you are at all interested in an origami quilt, check out quilts made by Kumiko Sudo.

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
p: 574.266.2006



 “The Mill at Abshire” - Abshire Park
SIZE: 31’w x 31’h

The Mill at Abshire

The Goshen Parks Department is returning for their third year with Quilt Gardens along the Heritage Trail, 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 which contribute to Goshen’s environment, wellness and sense of community. Abshire Park is 
Goshen’s third-largest city park spanning 75.5 acres and donated to the Goshen Parks Department in 1986. In addition to on-site recreational options, the park has ample 
parking and offers a beautiful trailhead for the Pumpkinvine Nature Trail, a leg of the Maple City Greenway trail network. 

Frank Shula, site manager, and his staff chose the 1930s Grist Mill pattern for their Quilt Garden this year. According to Nancy Cabot, Chicago Tribune, May 21, 1937, “old time quilt makers maintain that piecing the Grist Mill block is one of the most difficult feats for the beginning quilt maker to master, but it serves as grist for the quilt maker’s mill. Other pieced blocks may be set together with ease and rapidity, after the elliptical pieces are properly placed.  

A combination of printed and plain materials may be used for this block, or it may be set together with 2 shades of one color and white. The blocks are small, measuring 10” square and 63 are required for a completed coverlet. These are surrounded by an 8 ½” border and a ½” bias binding. Piecing of this quilt requires clever fingers.”
The Mill at Abshire Quilt Garden 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.

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
p: 574.534.2901



“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. 
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.

The Elkhart County 4-H Fairgrounds is the home to one of the largest county fairs in Indiana. The 4-H Fair and its facilities were established to enhance and encourage family and youth programs that promote the principles expressed in the 4-H creed: “Head, Heart, Hand and Health.” This year’s fair is scheduled for July 23-31.
Everyone who travels Monroe Street (County Road 34) which runs in front of the Elkhart County 4-H Fairgrounds is greeted by this beautiful hillside Quilt Garden. Take a few minutes to rest on the bench under the shade of the trees and enjoy the Quilt Garden experience.

The Elkhart County 4-H Fairgrounds has chosen the 1930 Indiana Farmer quilt block to celebrate the marriage of Elkhart County food production and its human resources in 2021 by honoring the farmers, their wives, children, and other community members who create it. No other place in Elkhart County has a better location for such a celebration.
The 1930 Indiana Farmer’s block is rich in history. When the 1929 stock market crash happened, tremendous economic failures and factory shutdowns all around Indiana took place. Many urban workers decided to return to rural farming which was already depressed due to decreased purchasing power. 

Then the 1930 drought hit farms hard. Farmers suffered a period of tremendous economic hardship. By winter of 1930, rural farmers faced a deficit of crop resources of food for their animals, and devastating health problems.  Farmers had to choose to give water to their livestock or their families. There was a shortage of feed for animals and crops because canning factories were smaller than usual.  Prices for corn dropped in some areas to a record low of 8-10 cents a bushel. Indiana fared better than most states because it received 57% of normal rainfall and crop yield was 84.7%. Farmers across the country were crying out for government help so President Hoover enacted the National Drought Relief Committee and eventually $20 million was used to help the farming community get back on its feet.  

According to the 2017 Census of Agriculture, Elkhart County had 1,667 farms, comprising 174,929 acres, averaging 105 acres per farm. In honoring the Elkhart County farmer, 
the fairgrounds chose choco chili to represent the soil the farmer plants his crops in.  Green parsley, which is used every year in the 4-H Fairgrounds Quilt Garden, represents the growth of the plants. Janey Bright Yellow marigolds represent the sun needed to make the crops grow and easy wave blue petunia represent the sky and rainfall.  

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: |
p: 574.533.FAIR | 574.533.0554



“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 30,000 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. 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 year’s 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.

The Goshen Rotary is always interested in supporting local projects that contribute to the quality of community life. The Quilt Garden project has a long history. Across the county, there are many gardens and groups involved. This project gives those who enjoy landscaping, flowers and physical work a chance to “play in the dirt.” The Goshen Rotary will be involved in preparing the beds, planting, and then again in the fall with cleanup. It is a great cooperative effort, says Rick Stiffney. The Rotary Club is an organization of business and professional leaders united worldwide who provide humanitarian services, encourage high ethical standards in all vocations, and help build goodwill and peace in the world. The Goshen Rotary has been serving the Goshen community since 1905.  They meet Fridays at noon at Maplecrest’s Country Club. The Elkhart County government employees will also be assisting with the Courthouse Quilt Garden.  They will work on the garden as part of their job each week.

The Elkhart County Dahlia Society was formed in the 1950s. Their mission “is to teach others about growing and exhibiting dahlias; to share our collective knowledge and to continue the traditions of those dahlia growers who came before us. Initiatives include mentoring about the importance of responsible gardening, maintaining the Midwest Dahlia Trial garden, and propagating and hybridizing new and exciting varieties of dahlias.” Check out their website at
The Quilt Garden at the Elkhart County Courthouse is a rectangle-shaped garden. Selecting a quilt block for the garden is always a challenge. The rectangle shape of the garden means the quilt block needs to be adapted to fit the space. 

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  

p: 574.533.2102


“Points of Reflection” - Old Bag Factory
SIZE: 29’w x 32’h

“Points of Reflection” - Old Bag Factory

The Old Bag Factory is one of Elkhart County’s authentic places with a rich community history. It was first built in 1896 to produce laundry soap, fine bathing soap and toilet paper. In 1910 it was purchased by The Chicago-Detroit Bag Company, which in 1924 merged with the Chase Bag Factory. Production at the site continued until 1982. Today, the Old Bag 
Factory is home to producing artists, antiques, specialty shops and cafes. 

James Rupright and his staff selected the Mill & Star quilt pattern for its simplicity and classy look. According to an article in the Chicago Tribune on September 26, 1936, this is one of the most unique quilt patterns to date. “The stars shine in abundance, with a windmill forming the center of each design.  When the quilt is set together to form an all-over pattern, the effect is more amazing than a whole field of those windmills about which Don Quixote had much to say. The individual blocks are easy to piece and measure 14” squares when completed.”  
The Mill & Star pattern also goes by the name of Hummingbird and Periwinkle. There are 12 separate pieces to the block that then form a 4-patch design. The design was first 
illustrated as “the kite quilt” in the Kansas City Star in 1931.  However, because the pattern seemed more reminiscent of the periwinkle flower, it was so named. 

While we are in the subject of perfection, is there really such a thing as a perfect quilt? Do quilters put a mistake in each quilt to show humility? In quilting folklore “an out of place color or odd placement in the patchwork design is an interpreted idea that since only God is perfect then making a perfect quilt is prideful.” Are they intentional or happy accidents? I do not have the answers, but I do know that any quilter will tell you, that they make plenty of mistakes without even trying!

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
p: 574.534.2502



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

“Points of Reflection” - Old Bag Factory

Since 1971, Das Dutchman Essenhaus has been 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 management and staff feel this one-of-a-kind experience truly enhances guests’ visits to their campus. The Essenhaus Quilt Garden is the largest and for 2021 they have selected the quilt-block pattern Windmill. Quilts and windmills play an important part in American history. Windmills are a testament to the creativity and hard work of the men and women who ventured west. Quilts were made by those resourceful women for warmth, to cover doors and windows for protection, and even used for burial wraps. Quilts were even folded and placed between two tree stumps to make a couch. Scraps of fabric were never thrown away. They were always put in a sewing basket to later be used in a quilt.  When badly worn, an old quilt may have been cut down and used for a child or a baby’s quilt. 
“The importance of quilts in women’s lives was best expressed in a statement of one 19th century homesteader, Lydia Roberts Dunham, who said, ‘I would have lost my mind
 if I had not had my quilts.’”

It was probably the Dutch quilt makers who first introduced the windmill pattern. The windmill later represented a common sight as pioneers headed west. The pattern depicted the vanes of the water pumps’ windmills common along the Oregon Trail. Original fabrics of the 1930s were feed sacks. These feed sacks were often used to make women and children’s clothing, and when the clothing was no longer useful, the fabric was used to make quilts. The classic windmill block, also called Double Pinwheel, Whirligig, or Pinwheel, has been around since the 1800s and is as popular today as ever. The block typically consists of three colors of fabric sewn into one large block consisting of triangles and half square triangles. 
It is a fun quilt to make. 

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  

p:  800.455.9471


 “Dutch Mill” - Dutch Country Market
SIZE: 45’w x 45’h

“Dutch Mill” - Dutch Country Market

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. Stop by weekday mornings to watch them in production. They also have a wide selection of other products — jellies, pickles and 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. 
And there’s honey, another of their specialties. Norman has tended bees for over 20 years and produces 36,000 pounds of honey products a year! 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 in the store where one can view the bees at work.

When Norm is asked how he chooses the block patterns for their gardens, his general reply is, “We pick what we like.” For 2021 they have picked a quilt-block pattern from the mid-1930s, Dutch Mill. Dutch windmills originated in the 11th Century. Of the 10,000 windmills in the Netherlands, approximately 1,000 are still standing and functional. Dutch windmills have many different functions. Some pump water out of lowlands into rivers beyond the dikes. This land then becomes ready for farming. Some are corn mills and even wood sawing mills. During World War II, mills were used as lookout towers and a shelter for people who needed a safe place. The position of the sails on a windmill often sent a message – a death in the family, a wedding, or a warning of Nazi raids during WWII.  

Windmills were also used in paintings. According to the National Gallery of Art in Washington, “Rembrandt’s mill also referred to the quiet peace after the struggle of Independence from Spain.” Windmills of today are called wind turbines. There are 341,000 wind turbines throughout the world.

And, of course, windmills made it to the art of quilt making. Quilt designs have a rich history and the Dutch Mill is no exception. Inspired by the windmills found in the Netherlands, you will never regret making a quilt with this pattern. There is a distinct look of the 1935 Dutch Mill with its 25 geometric pieces put together to give the appearance of a windmill.  This is a perfect beginners project.

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


 “Postage Stamp” - Krider World’s Fair Garden
SIZE: 20’w x 40’h

“Postage Stamp” - Krider World’s Fair Garden

Krider World’s Fair Garden is located a short distance from the business district of downtown Middlebury. It is a memorial to Krider Nurseries Inc. and the Krider family. Today’s park began as display gardens for the nursery after bringing back many of the structures from the 1933-34 Chicago World’s Fair exhibit, “A Century of Progress.” The garden is part of the Middlebury Parks Department and is on the Pumpkinvine Nature Trail, making it a destination for hiking and bicycling enthusiasts. The Parks Department provides a viewing platform, pavilion, benches and picnic tables throughout the garden to add to visitors’ enjoyment of the entire park.

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. The story begins with the Krider Diversified Nurseries display at the 1933/34 Chicago World’s Fair to promote its offering of plant and landscaping design. Krider Nurseries gained national prominence at the Fair and amassed an extensive mailing list which was used to distribute its full color catalog. This netted thousands of orders, bringing further success to the nursery. This dramatic increase in shipping resulted in the small town of Middlebury’s new post office earning a first-class rating in 1938. Along with the booming mail order business, development, and popularity of the Krider Festival Thornless rose, came well over 100 jobs and 400 acres of Elkhart County land under cultivation. The Postage Stamp quilt pattern celebrates Krider Nurserie’s role in the history of our community.

Postage Stamp quilts were so named because many quilters in the 19th and 20th centuries used pieces of fabric as small as a postage stamp in the design of the quilt. Quilters are known to be frugal in saving unused scraps of fabric from other projects and adding it to their stash. Throughout quilting history, Postage Stamp quilts were a way to use these scraps of fabric. There is no standard pattern for a Postage Stamp quilt as the design is up to the creativity of the individual quilter and the size of fabric in her stash. The 2021 Krider World’s Fair Postage Stamp pattern was taken from a common pattern and stylized for their rectangle shaped garden. The Postage Stamp Pattern Quilt Garden represents Krider Nurseries’ important role in helping to create the close-knit thriving community of Middlebury, including the progress and prosperity that arrived by U.S. mail. In turn, Krider’s World Fair Garden is now the crown jewel of the Middlebury Park system and continues to be curated and cared for by the community it helped to build.

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  

p: 574.825.1499



 “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 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 and 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. 

The all-volunteer 11-member committee estimates that they put in close to 500 hours of labor in planting and maintaining their Quilt Garden throughout the season. With such a large group, their skills and talents are not just limited to gardening. During the 14 years they have participated in the Quilt Gardens, they have found ways to take traditional quilt-block patterns and bring them to life with custom-built hardscapes and unique plant selections. 

A delightful aspect of quilt making is discovering the association between quilt blocks and the person who designed them. The Nappanee Center chose an original pattern. If you think about it, all quilt patterns, at one time, had to be an original design. The Crazy Quilt pattern is probably the oldest of quilt patterns. Early quilters used whatever scrap or remnant available, regardless of color, size, design or fabric. The history of quilting can be traced back to medieval times. Crusaders wore quilted garments under their armor for comfort, warmth and protection. Quilts throughout history have been both functional and beautiful works of art.  

The Sweet Apples pattern was designed by Donna Persing and Sandra Will to represent their local  orchard and the annual Nappanee Apple Festival. According to Nikki Beer, owner of Miller’s Orchard, “for over six decades, Miller’s Orchard has been producing its famous fresh-pressed cider and home-style, nationally renowned Amish apple butter. Founded in 1958, Harley and Mary Miller, along with their children Nelson, Marilyn, Lyle and Maynard, began quietly serving the Nappanee community with their full-service apple orchard. A rare orchard to be situated within the city limits, this local orchard is the inspiration for Nappanee’s annual Apple Festival, one of the largest festivals in the State of Indiana.  In 1975, local 
organizers approached Harley and Mary with the idea of having an annual festival in honor of the local orchard. Thus, the Apple Festival was born. 

Over the decades the festival has grown from a modest one-day event with only local attendees to a multi-day event that attracts on average over 80,000 people each year. Pretty outstanding for a town of just over 6,000 people! In 2020, Harley and Mary’s grandchildren, Jake and Nikki Beer, took over the orchard and have started the process of revitalizing and restoring it, and will continue to bring you the same cider, apple butter and beautiful orchard provided by Harley and Mary.”

Connie Kauffman, local author and quilter, has made a wall hanging depicting the Sweet Apples Quilt Garden that will be hanging in the newly updated Museum. A must-see on your tour of the Nappanee Center and Quilt Garden. 

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
p:   574.773.7812 



 “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. Check out their website for more information, tickets, and tour packages. 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 Algonquin 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 1943 Old Indian Trail was chosen because the arrows point to all the activities the Barns has to offer. All arrows point to something unique and crafted at The Barns.  
Red was selected as a primary color of the Quilt Garden representing the red barns found throughout the property. The white flowers represent the historic bank barn on the farm. 

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
p:   574.773.4188 



 “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. The Wakarusa Dime Store was begun by a German immigrant in 1907 as Wolfberg’s Department Store. Today, the Wakarusa Dime Store is home to the Giant Jumbo Jellybean, big enough to share.

This Quilt Garden is in the heart of downtown Wakarusa and visitors are welcome to sit down on the bench and enjoy the vibrant colors of the Quilt Garden. Stars are probably the most common feature used in making a quilt block. Homesteaders traveling west used stars for guidance. Stars are also religious symbols used to show faith in God. There are approximately 100 thousand million stars in the Milky Way galaxy alone and there are millions upon millions of galaxies in the universe.

Wikipedia defines a star as “an astronomical object consisting of a luminous spheroid of plasma held together by its own gravity.”  Webster defines one as “a natural luminous body visible in the sky, especially at night.” A quilter defines a star as small diamond pieces sewn together in eight sections.  They are not easy to design, cut or sew. Precision is extremely important because multiple pieces are added. If poorly cut or sewn together, the star will not lie flat.

In designing the Windmill Star, it appears the author replaced four points of the star with four blades of the windmill. Perhaps the author felt the star represented the guidance her family was shown, and the blades of the windmill represented the perseverance of the harsh environment of the late 1800s. This quilt pattern also goes by the name or Arrowhead and it is believed to have originated in Pennsylvania. 

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
p: 574.862.4344

Visit 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