As many may have noticed we did a change-out on the circular bed in front of the Efroymson Family Entrance Pavilion. This was a bit earlier than usual as we have not had that first frost which is the usual event that requires removal of the tropicals and annuals. There was a very good reason for the early action all the same.
On October 6 it will become a dedicated space known as Nonie’s Garden in honor of Nonie (Eleanor) Krauss, the late wife of John Krauss, Vice Chairman of the Board of Governors for the IMA. Nonie was a life member of the Nature Conservancy, an advisory board member of the Central Indiana Land Trust, and Secretary of the Indianapolis Garden Club. Those of us who have been with IMA a few years also remember her work on The Heartland Garden, a gardening show broadcast on public television in Indiana. It frequently showcased the horticulture and Horticulturists of the IMA. Nonie’s Garden will be a fitting tribute to a woman who loved nature and gardens.
The generous gift from John along with his and Nonie’s friends and family will allow us to keep a space that used to be mulch half the year fully planted year round.
The plants currently in the garden are for the winter display. Each is chosen for its contribution to brightening the space during our dreary winter period. Not unlike the way Nonie brightened up the lives of those who spent time with her. Some well placed fall annuals will add extra color. 400 Tulips will enhance the spring display. Come May and the warmth of late spring we will remove the winter planting and install the summer display. The summer display will be exuberant, colorful and lush – a planting truly expressing the joy of life that Nonie represented. After frost we will again install a winter garden. Each year major elements of the garden will change, both in winter and summer.
For this winter, in the center is a grouping of Betula populifolia ‘Whitespire’ with palest gray bark that can capture and reflect even the dim sunlight of January. Surrounding it are several blue weeping Alaska cedars (Xanthocyparis/Chamaecyparis nootkatensis ‘Glauca Pendula’). They are also known as Nootka cypress. These graceful evergreens will look especially lovely with snow on them. Also included are several yews for more green in winter. For bright color we included 2 deciduous shrubs. Deciduous hollies (Ilex verticillata ‘Cacapon’ and ‘Red Sprite’) will provide bright red berries that will contrast with the gray bark of the birches and the dark color of the evergreens in early winter. For color all the way to spring we planted a red twig dogwood called ‘Cardinal’ (Cornus sericea ‘Cardinal’). Another very appropriate plant as Nonie was an avid birder with a lifelong list of over 600 birds. The dogwood stems will gradually become deep red as temperatures cool and hold the color until late spring.
Thanks to help from my hardworking colleagues and our volunteers we were able to complete the change-out in four days. It could have been even faster but we had to remove 18 plus inches of horrible wet clay soil. Replacing this soil with a good-draining more friendly mix will insure a beautiful garden. Here’s Chad digging out the bad.
This is how awful it looked after a rather small amount of rain.
In this shot he’s mixing the new soil, blending a purchased general garden mix with a super draining structured soil mix.
We placed the birches before adding all the soil back in.
When I said I had help I meant it. There are almost as many people as plants.
And here is the final planting.
I think you will find that as the weather gets uglier it will get more beautiful. Hope you like it too Nonie.
Filed under: Horticulture