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4 Seasons 4-Ever

In the interest of being green and sustainable, of reducing, reusing, and recycling, and of running out of time, I’m using an email from the Bossman as the foundation for this blog post. Thanks Mark for all the facts in one concise piece of literature.

Some may have noticed a bit of a commotion going on over by Garden Terrace the last couple weeks. That’s because the IMA has received a very generous contribution allowing us to begin work on the complete rehabilitation of the Four Seasons Garden.


This is a project we have discussed doing for many years. It is the last large chunk of the Oldfields landscape awaiting restoration.  With its completion in the spring of 2011 we will have one of the most intact Country Place Era estates anywhere in the country. The first picture shows one of the four statues in the garden representing the four seasons that gives the garden its name. That and the fact it is heavy on the evergreens I suppose.

You will be amazed at how quickly this is all taking place. Most of the work is being done in-house by our own Horticulture and Grounds crews along with Horticulture volunteers.

The overgrown and misshapen yews are history. Drain lines are being installed, to be followed by a new irrigation system. The drain lines were added because many of the old yews died from excessive soil moisture. Despite a good deal of digging when removing the old plants there was no evidence as to why this wet condition existed.

The troublesome circular pool, which never drained well, was reduced to rubble.

An outside contractor is creating a new, deeper pool.

This new one will be recirculating, and will have a skimmer box to trap debris. It’ll also have four small jets along its edge as the original once had, to provide some refreshing sounds and keep the water cleaner.

The marble bench at the garden’s west end is also being refurbished and we plan to put back a small sundial which once graced the south entrance (does anyone have a photograph of the original sundial?).

Anne Bruce Haldeman of Louisville designed this garden for the Lillys back in 1939, when their Recreation Building (now Garden Terrace) was being built.  It was refurbished by the Indianapolis Garden Club as a group project back in the 1960’s. Forty years later the garden was badly overgrown once again.  While we will utilize much of Halderman’s original design, we’ll make some modifications to make it more useable and attractive for our many garden patrons.  All changes will be carefully documented, just as we did in the Rapp Family Ravine Garden some 11 years ago.

As of today many of the new yews have already been planted.

Plumbing and electrical work will continue for another month or more.  The boxwoods should arrive next week so replanting of the shrubs will be nearly complete this fall. Some deciduous shrubs and herbaceous plants will go in come spring. It should look glorious for our celebration of Oldfields’ centennial in 2012.

I mentioned last time I thought fall color would go fast. But as often happens nature is messing with me again. Our plants here have held on to their beauty pretty good. You can still come and revel in the glory of autumn. I mean it. Get yourself over here.

Filed under: Horticulture

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