Back to

Summer’s Almost Gone – Maybe

Wow. The end of another month. And quite a change from the end of last month. At long last some rain has fallen. The plants are certainly relishing this new found moisture.

My tropicals at home are probably not thrilled with the cooler temperatures, but must be beside themselves with joy at not relying on me for water. I tended to be a bit stingy with it. As you may remember, about two minutes after watering plants the soil seemed as dry as before. It got to be quite a chore. And I’ve been fearing the monthly water bill ever since the drought started in earnest. Here at the IMA it was much easier to keep things hydrated, but to this day I confess there seems to be something different when the water comes from the clouds rather than the hoses.

Fall color is starting to kick in. At first glance it kinda surprises me. Then I remember tomorrow is October. I think it was so damn hot for so damn long that it’s still a little hard to believe change is possible. These ash in the main parking lot really caught my eye this week.

Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: Horticulture


Pot Recycling at the IMA

Melissa is happy to be helping the environment.

Gardeners tend to be collectors with nurturing and thrifty natures.  These temperaments usually lead to garages and sheds chock full of flower pots that are “too good to throw away.”  The staff of the IMA Greenhouse and volunteers from the Horticultural Society would like to help you clear out the excess inventory with our annual pot recycling day.  We are particularly seeking those types of pots and flats we use regularly, including clay pots in any size, 4.5” plastic pots and smaller nursery pots.

In recent years, these donated pots have saved the Greenhouse thousands of dollars in new container purchases, allowing us to put our limited funds to better use.  As petrochemical costs continue to rise, plastic pot prices have skyrocketed.  Add in the cost of freight and terra cotta pots have gone up considerably, as well.  We are helping prevent limited resources and energy from going to the production of new pots.  Reusing the containers also keeps pounds of plastic out of the waste stream.  It is estimated that a 1 gallon plastic pot might take 200 years to breakdown.

We also get warm fuzzy feelings from sharing! There are times when more materials than we are able to use and store have been donated.  After past recycling events, we have shared with other not-for- profit groups including the IUPUI Greenhouse, Indiana School for the Blind and Visually Impaired, Marion County Master Gardeners and Indiana Native Plant and Wildflower Society.  Also many items have been returned to the growers to help them keep their costs down so we can provide better prices to our shoppers!

Carole up to her elbows in reclaimed pots.

On Saturday, October 1 from 10:00 – 1:00pm your pots can be dropped in the Greenhouse parking lot.  You will be greeted by friendly volunteers from the IMA Horticultural Society.  The volunteers will sort, stack and sanitize the incoming pots to ready for reuse.  These folks literally get up to their elbows in this work.  Stop by with your donations and visit awhile. The weather forecast is for a bright sunny day and I can guarantee that the volunteers will have a sunny disposition, too.  For more information, please call 317-920-2652.

Filed under: Greenhouse, Horticulture


Raindrop: Can You See Behind the Scenes?

We recently launched the Raindrop web application as part of FLOW: Can You See the River, a project conceived by Mary Miss. Our team started on the project about a year ago, when Mary and her studio began meeting with us and scientists from Butler University and Williams Creek Consulting to build an app illustrating the concept that “All property is riverfront property.” When Mary and I began discussing the project, we talked about the challenge of catching a person’s attention and then engaging them with a visual experience that could lead them to deeper levels of information and insight about the natural world. This is essentially what a good visualization does, so I was excited to be part of the team building this technological bridge between art and science.

Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: Technology


The Perks of Partnership

Our guest bloggers today include our friends from the Marian University Ecolab.

Our newest installation in 100 Acres: The Virginia B. Fairbanks art and Nature Park, Mary Miss’ FLOW: Can You See the River?, is all about community engagement. What better way to talk about community efforts than by asking one of our partners to highlight some of the ways that they will be reaching out to people. The EcoLab at Marian University is just one of many partnerships brought about by Miss’ work and we are happy to have them share some opportunities that they will host over the next couple of days.

The Marian University Ecolab is 55 acres of wetlands, forest and prairie in the heart of Indianapolis. Besides being an incredibly diverse and beautiful area, the EcoLab is committed to environmental education through interaction with the environment.  We were very excited when Mary Miss approached us with an art-in-nature collaboration and knew it was a creative fit to our mission.  An art exhibition like this is another ingenious way to help connect the community to nature.  During FLOW week we are offering a number of FREE events, all of which will engage the visitor in his/her surroundings and help them see how “all property is riverfront property.”

FLOW-focused field trips: The EcoLab will be offering free FLOW-focused programs to school groups throughout festival week and will continue to offer similar programming through the duration of the installation. These programs will include a short presentation on the importance of the White River in our daily lives, a nature hike highlighting the several installation points on the EcoLab grounds, and a hands-on restoration project that will benefit our watershed.  For more information about how to schedule a FLOW program for your class during the week of the festival or anytime following, please contact Shannon Unger, Environmental Education Coordinator, at 317-524-7700 or

Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: Art and Nature Park, Local, Public Programs


Flow: Can you See the River?

Our guest blogger today is Dori Thayer, an intern in the Public Affairs department.

Mary Miss has decidedly sparked many Indianapolis residents’ curiosities with the installation with her newest citywide project, FLOW: Can You See the River? with her unmistakable markers. Miss’s project hopes to make the local community aware of the White River’s functions, history and most notably, what we can do as area residents to be more aware and environmentally friendly. This project showcases the river, its watershed and how it sustains us. Mary Miss, who hails from New York, has done many projects of this scope that focus on the environment, history and sustainability.

The red fiberglass balls, juxtaposed against nature, serve as markers for points of ecological importance. The balls and mirrors (on certain markers) are complete audio descriptions that are accessible by cell phone, and links to the the project’s very own mobile app, Raindrop.  The descriptions inform and encourage visitors to recognize how their daily lives affect the White River, and conversely, how the White River and its history affects us.  (Coincidental note, the red balls were fabricated locally by artist Brian McCutcheon’s studio.  An exhibition of his work just opened at the IMA entitled, Out of this World featuring himself and his adorable son and muse, Angus).

This project extends beyond the markers with talks from Mary Miss herself and other local environmental groups. Through these collaborations, this exhibition moves beyond the museum for a truly citywide effect.

This project came upon me, an intern, in a very ambiguous form and in bits and pieces at the beginning of the summer –I did not know how these complex pieces would fall together.  Very quickly did my small part in the project become clearer as the spreadsheets and countless Word documents that I stored on my desktop had a course of action. The Mary Miss team had detailed the exact latitude and longitude of each of their markers.  Through the course of a few weeks, I input each individual marker into FLOW’s website, learning a lot a lot about a city I had recently become a new resident of. The end result is a map of Indianapolis covered in these red dots, these ecological points of importance. You may find one very close to your home or your workplace.

Come and mark the opening of Indianapolis’ very own ecological scavenger hunt (in a way) by participating in the Flow: Can You See the River? festival beginning today, along with the launch of the interactive map (and be sure to visit the website!).

Come to the IMA this evening for a talk by Mary Miss at 7pm in celebration of the opening. Join us earlier at 6pm for a reception in the lobby.

Filed under: Art, Art and Nature Park, Contemporary, Local


Recent Flickrs

College Night: What do Museums Need Most?College Night: What do Museums Need Most?College Night: What do Museums Need Most?College Night: What do Museums Need Most?College Night: What do Museums Need Most?College Night: What do Museums Need Most?