Spring Plant Exchange, a Calendar Garden and Native Indiana Plants

“In the beginning, our plant exchange was really small,” says Elkhart County Park Department Chief Naturalist, Jerry Good. “But, it’s been growing. This will be our fifth year.”

Yesterday, DH and I traded plants with more than 60 friends and neighbors. The sun was out. We met new people. We took home a Rose of Sharon, a tea plant and yellow irises. I petted a baby raccoon.

It was a perfect day.

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One man’s excess might be another man’s garden centerpiece.

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Queen patiently waits while her family trades plants and tours the gardens.

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Steve Ganglo, DeFries Garden Park Caretaker, with orphan, Coonie.

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Who could resist that face? Coonie is being raised on half ‘n half and baby formula.

THE CALENDAR GARDEN

Designed by Jon Curtell, DeFries Calendar Garden has a section for each season. It is further divided by months. Every month features  grasses, bushes, plants and flowers at their peak. Native Indiana plants are on the outside of the garden. Horicultural displays are toward the inside.

 
Pathways representing four lunar equinoxes, form a compass leading to a pond in the middle of the Calendar Garden.

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The pond with it’s water lilies is the garden focal point. There are goldfish and bluegill, too. The bluegill were added because the park department wanted native Indiana fish. Nobody considered size. As a result, the number of goldfish is dropping.

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A patch of green amidst pink lily pads.

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Every month has a lunar marker featuring a distinct moon phase.

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One of the seasonal sections.

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May is in full bloom.

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The back entrance to the house Beth DeFries built and donated to the Elkhart County Park Department. Steve Ganglo, park caretaker and his wife Linda live here now.

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Benefactor Beth DeFries, an amateur botanist interested in preserving Northern Indiana’s native plants, donated her land and house to Elkhart County’s Park Department.

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  1. Strawberry Lane’s avatar

    What a delightful time that must have been! Thanks for the terrific photographs … I feel like I just when plant shopping!

    By the way, I gave you an award, it is over at Strawberry Lane.

    Reply

  2. risingrainbow’s avatar

    Plant trading day sounds like fun. I wish they did that here. I’m about at my max on some plants but can’t stand to see them not used. Trading would be a great way to go.

    Reply

  3. BarnGoddess’s avatar

    beautiful photos-wow.

    I wish we had a plant exchange here, I have lots of houseplants that keep growing, but Id like something new to mix in….

    I am thinking about getting some ferns for outside….not sure about it yet tho.

    Reply

  4. ann’s avatar

    I really enjoy following your blog and this was a special treat. I grew up next door to Elkhart Co (LaGrange) but live far far away now, so your blog is like a taste of home for me. Thanks!

    Reply

  5. Jenny Litchfield’s avatar

    It’s been enjoyable to read your blog. Loved looking at the photos of your indigenous plants. Couldn’t agree more with the sentiment about the silence of growing things.

    Reply

  6. sweetrosie’s avatar

    I love your photos – they’re a real slice of your life. The slipper orchids are so beautiful and the water lillies too perfect. Thank you 🙂

    Reply

  7. ell’s avatar

    Miss you. Hope things are well.

    Reply

  8. Overwhelmed With Joy!’s avatar

    A plant exchange, how fun! I sure enjoyed seeing all your pictures.

    So, I’m stopping by to let you know that I’m hosting the Holiday Cooking, Blogger Style recipe exchange again this year, on 7 November. I hope you can join me and if you’re willing to help me spread the news, I’m offering a giveaway as well!

    Reply

  9. Bruce Geibel’s avatar

    I have a 1 acre pond and I am interested in introducing some water lilies. Can you suggest a good way/ resource to get this started

    Reply

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