May 30 - September 15, annually
Quilt Gardens ...along the Heritage Trail. 17 gigantic gardens, and 25 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 15 years, we know a thing or two about this beloved, free 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 17 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. Five Quilt Gardens are located in public parks or botanic gardens - Abshire Park in Goshen, Central Park in Elkhart, Elkhart Environmental Center 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 get the Quilt Gardens ready and looking their best over five months of the year.
Gardens move to new locations every year, right?
Quilt Gardens site managers and volunteers love being a part of this exhibition. Of the 17 garden sites in 2022, nine have participated every year including Das Dutchman Essenhaus and Krider World’s Fair Garden, Middlebury; Central Park, Ruthmere and Linton’s Enchanted Garden, 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
2021 Quilt Gardens Photos
Coming Soon...2022 photos
Maps, Resources & Info
When can I see the Quilt Gardens?
The Quilt Gardens are viewable May 30 - September 15 each year during all daylight hours. Elkhart County is on Eastern Standard Time which means in summer time, daylight can mean perfect garden enjoyment as late as 8 or 9 p.m. each evening. Many people like to go back to their favorite site to see them at different light and times of the day.Learn more about the quilt gardens.
Are the Quilt Gardens and Quilt Murals all in one location?
How do the Quilt Gardens and Quilt Murals look right now?
The Quilt Gardens are planted on May 30 and are then what we lovingly call “baby gardens”. As the summer season heats up, and the inevitable rain & heat hit, the gardens fill in, grow and become just gorgeous and filled with surprises.
Our volunteers work hard with each of Mother Nature's challenges to provide you the best experience and are committed to pattern appreciation and view ability. What’s neat about this event, is one garden is having some challenges, keep going to the next one on the Heritage Trail.
They are all at different stages due to soil content, weather, and local environments. For real time info give the Visitors Center a call at 800-262-8161 for today’s garden update. The Quilt Murals always look fabulous! We hope you enjoy them all!
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
Is there an admission fee for the Quilt Gardens?
All Quilt Gardens and Quilt Murals are viewable free of charge so plan to stop, get out, walk, and enjoy at each stop. Read the signs, take a picture and share using #quiltgardens. Breath in the fresh air and enjoy nature and art for free.