May 30 - September 15
Quilt Gardens ...along the Heritage Trail. 16 gigantic gardens, and hand-painted super-sized murals.
One of our favorite things about summer is the beautiful Quilt Gardens blooming in every corner of Elkhart County. After 13 years, we know a thing or two about this beloved summertime experience. Like what?
How did it start?
Like most great things, the Quilt Gardens started with a “what if” question tossed around by local tourism officials. Two test gardens were planted at Das Dutchman Essenhaus in Middlebury and American Countryside Farmers Market in Elkhart. The public loved it, and the Quilt Gardens grew from there.
Just how many flowers are there?
That’s a tricky question to answer, because many of the plants produce varying amounts of blooms, while other plants are there for their greenery. It’s fair to say that the 16 Quilt Gardens will have more than 1 million blooms!
What is the largest Quilt Garden?
Most Quilt Gardens are about 900 square feet, but three are greater than 2,000 square feet. Das Dutchman Essenhaus in Middlebury is the largest at 3,142 square feet. The other mammoth gardens are Linton’s Enchanted Garden in Elkhart and Dutch Country Market in Middlebury.
Aren’t all Quilt Gardens in parks?
Not necessarily. The beauty of the Quilt Gardens is that they are practically everywhere - next to businesses, on the lawns of historic sites, and in heavily traveled downtowns and public places - but parks are a wonderful complement to gardens. Four Quilt Gardens are located in public parks or botanic gardens - Abshire Park in Goshen, Central Park in Elkhart, Krider World’s Fair Garden in Middlebury, and Wellfield Botanic Gardens in Elkhart.
How much work is it to do this?
From planning and preparing the flower bed, to planting, weeding, watering and feeding, the Quilt Gardens take a huge amount of effort every year. About 200 volunteers and staff put in roughly 2,000 man-hours to keep the Quilt Gardens looking their best.
Gardens move to new locations every year, right?
Quilt Gardens site managers and volunteers love being a part of this exhibition. Of the 16 garden sites in 2020, nine have participated every year including Das Dutchman Essenhaus and Krider World’s Fair Garden, Middlebury; Central Park, Ruthmere and Linton’s Enchanted Gardens, Elkhart; Elkhart County 4-H Fairgrounds and Old Bag Factory, Goshen; Nappanee Center, Nappanee; and the Town of Wakarusa.
What’s the most popular flower?
Each garden site can select their own plants. Experience has taught organizers which plants and flowers work best for the Quilt Gardens’ needs. While there is quite a bit of diversity in plant choices, the most popular flowers are wax begonias.
- Download a map of each Quilt Gardens location and Quilt Mural site - Take tons of pics and tag us using hashtag #QuiltGardens - Enjoy the Quilt Gardens while you drive our FREE Heritage Trail Audio Driving Tour - Check our list of area Festival & Events...you might want to stay longer - Check out our Pinterest Board to see Planting pictures