Annual outdoor tour to showcase unique landscapes
By Heather Lusk
An heirloom garden, a hidden garden and one that started as a blank slate more than a decade ago are among the six gardens that will be a part of the Gardens of Zionsville tour on June 20.
The gardens are located throughout Zionsville, from the village area to the new development of Oldfields on Hunt Club.
“We try to get a good mixture and we’re really grateful to the people who allow us to come into their gardens,” Fran Safford, event co-organizer, said. “It gives you an idea for something you can do in your own garden.”
Tickets are $15 in advance at SullivanMunce, Akard True Value or the Zionsville Chamber of Commerce. On the day of the event tickets will be $20 and only available at the museum. Tickets for children aged 10 and younger are $5.
Starting from scratch
Kelly Platt, who volunteered her mature garden to be on the tour, created the landscape with her husband. She moved to her home 13 years ago and created her garden from scratch.
“I look at my garden as a living, breathing thing, constantly shifting,” Platt said. “So as the garden has matured I’ve taken the starts and created a whole lot more.”
The garden, accredited by the National Wildlife Federation as a Wildlife Habitat, has been host to squirrels, chipmunks, deer, foxes and coyotes according to Platt, along with various birds. But the blue heron was a guest that threatened one of Platt’s favorite parts of the garden: the koi pond.
“The first couple of years, we lost all our fish,” she said. They had no idea who the culprit might be until one day she happened to look outside and saw a heron sitting on the waterfall. “He actually went down and caught one of my fish,” she said. She and her husband swiftly made changes to the setting to ensure it wouldn’t happen again.
Now the tree coverage is so dense that herons flying overhead have no idea that the small pond is below.
Platt suggests that those wishing to create their “own little paradise,” focus on what they enjoy.
“I highly recommend planting your garden based on things you love,” she said.
Members of the local garden club and Master Gardeners of Boone County will be at each of the gardens to answer questions.
The 1930s heirloom garden that is part of Maple Lawn Farm will be part of the tour with the historic house also open to visitors that day.
A hidden garden is tucked behind Vicky Savidge’s village home. The space was once filled with weeds and dead pine trees, she said, but now is an unexpected surprise.
Akard True Value is sponsoring a scavenger hunt featuring a question about each garden on the tour. Entries will be collected at the store and those with correct answers will be put into a drawing.
The Gardens of Zionsville tour will benefit the SullivanMunce Cultural Center. Along with the garden tour are many events at the museum.
Butler’s Pantry, Delaney’s Shop and others will create dining tablescapes with different themes.
Several artists – including Zionsville local Edie Kellar Mahaney – will display their flower-related works of art.
Container gardens donated by businesses such as Altums, Zionsville Flower Company and Akard True Value will be auctioned.
Platt is looking forward to sharing her garden on June 20. “I hope people enjoy it,” she said. “It’s extremely vibrant and full of life and has a little bit of everything.”
She hopes that more people decide to share their gardens in future years. “There are so many beautiful gardens in this area.”
Painting In Plein Air
In conjunction with the garden tour is the 10th annual Paint Out. Using their own supplies, artists create their original artwork in a few hours in “plein air,” or outside, during the day.
Artists are encouraged to paint in the Village or among the gardens that are part of the tour. Painting is open to all ages and skill levels. The artwork will be judged at the SullivanMunce Cultural Center at 2 p.m. with monetary awards given for the top three professional artists. Other awards such as free classes at the museum will be presented to winners of the amateur categories.
Most of the art will be available for sale at the museum until 3:30 p.m.