Gardens of Zionsville tour returns June 23


By Heather Lusk

This year’s Gardens of Zionsville tour will feature seven properties with a naturalistic feel, a change from the formal gardens showcased in previous years. Some are rural and some are in the village, but all have a country garden feel, according to event organizer Candace Ulmer, a member of the SullivanMunce Cultural Center Guild.

Sandra Fontaine prepares her cottage garden for the annual tour. (photo by Heather Lusk)

Being part of the garden tour was a bucket list item for Sandra Fontaine. Her cottage garden, dubbed “Le jardin secret,” has been a work in progress since her family purchased a 5-acre property 30 years ago. When clearing the bramble in the yard, she discovered a pond underneath, now surrounded by irises.

“The yard has evolved,” she said. “We fell in love with this property. It’s very hidden.”

Her gardens are full of little surprises, like an angel nestled in a tree stump.

Another 5-acre property is filled with “vignettes” to reflect different books, from “Winnie the Pooh” to “Bridge to Terabithia” and from “Harry Potter” to “Eloise.” One of the first homesteads in Zionsville, the property has original fruit trees and bushes.

Garden owner Tracy Phillips wanted to be part of the tour as a birthday present to her house, which turns 100 this year. She also recognized the positive impact SullivanMunce had on her daughter’s life. Lauren Phillips, now an artist, began taking classes at the art center when the family first moved to Zionsville.

“I feel that it’s paying it back a bit,” Phillips said.

The tour is from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. June 23 beginning at SullivanMunce. It will have a Garden Market from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on the museum property.

Tickets are available at and Akard TrueValue Hardware for $15 before the event date. Tckets are $20 at the door the day of the event. Children 10 and under are $5.

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