You come to the Perennial Premiere Plant Sale for the plants…well, duh! But this year, you’ll be staying for the wonderful, exciting festival atmosphere.
In addition to some of the most beautiful and unusual plants (perennials, annuals, tropicals, herbs and houseplants) this event also boasts a gathering of some of the most knowledgeable horticulturists in the Midwest. Nowhere else will you find such a well-informed assemblage to answer all your gardening questions…and all anxious to help you!
Calling all forward-thinkers! All competitors! All educators, community leaders! People with common sense!
We would like to share an idea with you…it’s a great idea, and part of what makes it great is that, first of all, it’s part of a competition (ladies and gents, start your engines!), and second, unlike many ideas, it can easily move from proposal to tangible action with the involvement of an inspired and informed community. That would be you! We have the knowledge, the tools and the man power, but we need your vote.
So, what’s the big idea? Rain Bird has established a grant for The Intelligent Use of Water Awards,which gives $10,000 to fund projects that focus on water conservation and environmental sustainability for community green spaces. An interesting twist is that the winners are 100% reliant on the number of online votes cast for a project. It’s like the American Idol of environmental grants! The program is particularly unique in that anyone – non-profits, homeowners, educators, retailers, industry professionals, you name it – can participate and submit a project proposal.
The horticulture staff at the IMA would like to implement the second phase of the rain garden that was built to capture run-off from the Madeline F. Elder Greenhouse parking lot in 2009. That first rain garden has been incredibly successful, but it doesn’t account for 15,500 square feet of the parking lot where a directional shift in gradient directs water away from the rain garden. The parking lot sits at the crown of a hill where there is a ongoing need to capture the remaining portion of water to prevent erosion, filter petroleum products and pollutants, and reduce the amount of sediment and run-off from entering directly into waterways, including the Indianapolis Central Canal which runs adjacent to the museum property. The goal is to retrofit a section of the historic Interurban Railway below the current rain garden with a 3,450 square foot bioswale that uses native plants as a filtration system. It is important for us to unite art and engineering in a rainwater management system that is useful, efficient and aesthetically appealing, and to be able to use this expanded project as a practical, instructive model for both the homeowner and professional. Implementation of this project will involve a plant list of native grasses and perennials that will have lower maintenance requirements once plants are established, having thick plantings for the prevention of weed establishment and lessening the chance for exposed soil to dry out prematurely.
Greenhouse parking lot from which run-off is generated.
Original rain garden by Madeline F. Elder Greenhouse
Site for future bioswale in Interurban Railway.
It is a given that we are all motivated to action by different things, and while many of us will never reach the status of Rachel Carson or Aldo Leopold in our lifelong dedication to environmental advocacy, we should have an intrinsic responsibility for making a positive impact on our community and our quality of life with the realization of many small projects. Whether or not you participate in it, the simple fact is that you are a part of your community and will be affected by what happens within it. Water quality is so intricately tied to a community, and efforts made on even an individual’s practices are valuable. In our case, we feel responsible for our rainwater run-off that adds to the stress of municipal sewer infrastructure and the risk of down-stream flooding, and the reduced water quality from eroded sediment and other pollutants. In the longterm, we are looking at the direct ties between water and environment to improve wildlife habitat as a result of our efforts, and desire to share our success (and failures) with those who participate in our community.
Help us succeed in this; it is one more step forward, and the benefit belongs to you.
A recent tweet to the IMA asked the following : @imamuseum are the flower gardens still alive?
Now my first reaction I admit was –Well, what the hell do you think? Was there a nuclear holocaust I missed? But then the reasonable part of my brain kicked in and I figured they were probably really wondering about the annuals and tropicals. Most of these are indeed gone, either damaged by last week’s frost or removed so winter materials could go in.
You will still find a few that were not badly damaged or we simply have not got round to. Don’t let a little frost stop you from coming out to see some “flower gardens”. Read the rest of this entry »
Though the weather has been scrumptious, it is the time of year for change in the garden. I don’t always like admitting it. I’m having to accept that my wonderful tropical season is nearly over.
That soon the land will be covered in a deathly blanket of brown and gray. All my intense oranges, bright pinks, and glowing chartreuses will be gone. GONE! Just like that.
And then, then I’m faced with life filled with neutrals. It’s almost too much to bear. Not that I don’t appreciate the change in the seasons, but come early February……. sheesh!
I usually wait until frost before removing annuals and tropicals, getting every last drop of summer beauty from the plants. Plus some of the plants I overwinter go dormant a bit better if they are hit by frost before digging – elephant ear (Colocasia, Alocasia), Canna, dahlia, and banana (Musa, Ensete) are good examples. All of these can spend the winter in a state of suspended animation in the basement. Tropicals that cannot tolerate cold and are kept growing over the winter do, of course, need to be dug before frost.
But if my tender plants are in a garden area that gets a winter treatment, well, you do what you must. Some years you cannot wait ’til frost and you have to respect the available time for doing the change-out. Thus was the case this week with Nonie’s Garden right in front of the main museum building entrance. Over a three day period, the garden went from summer glory to winter joy.
The garden had filled in rather nicely.
The salvias were in full bloom, the tall S. splendens “Van Houttei” and its dwarfer color echo, S. splendens “Vista Burgundy.”
The Justicia fulvicoma (Mexican plume) was at its peak.
Now, not everything was at its peak, I admit. The Leonotis leonurus (lion’s ear) was just beginning to show color. The Hedychium “Tara” (ginger) I planted to fill space (and hoped might bloom despite a late planting) did fill space. It was not that great a summer for growing, even the tropicals.
On the other hand, the Colocasia esculenta “Elena” was beautiful.
As a recent first-time home buyer, I’ve learned a lot of things that I did not know six months ago. From the actual home buying process to moving and settling in, it has been a crash course. Most recently, I covered a chapter in household plants.
My husband and I moved from a 750 sq. ft. apartment to a tri-level three bedroom house, so needless to say, we’ve started the search for furniture. Oddly enough however, the first items on our “to purchase” list were plants – who needs a couch, anyway? Now I must say, I have only owned one or two plants in my lifetime. I’ve always appreciated plants, especially the kind I can eat, but I’ve never really explored owning them until I purchased a home.
With the IMA’s Greenhouse Shop full of plants from which to choose, I knew where I wanted to shop, but had no idea what to buy. No idea. One of the great things about working at the IMA is that each department is a resource, full of knowledge across a wide-range of topics, especially when it comes to horticulture. Thankfully, my green-thumbed colleague Lynne Habig agreed to some hand holding and plant teaching. When she started talking about all of the different types of greenery, she said something that really sparked my interest: clean-air plants.
And with that, my plant lesson was quickly interrupted by an impromptu guest-lecture on household pollutants. Pardon my ignorance, but this was the first I had heard of sick building syndrome. As Lynne broke it down for me, our indoor environments are full of pollutants (trichloroethylene, formaldehyde, benzene, etc.) that are espoused from common household items like electronics, adhesives, paints, cleaning products, and fabrics (yikes!). These chemicals are linked to everything from eye irritation and dizziness to liver carcinogens and even throat cancer. Sick building syndrome occurs when small spaces are tightly concealed in an effort to save energy, but in turn creates a harmful space where these pollutants can gather.
So what does all of this have to do with plants? For many years, NASA conducted a study on ways to purify the air both on earth and in space habitats which are perhaps the most contained work environments. The study found that common household plants are actually the best crime fighters for such pollutants.
I was sold. I wanted to fill my house with plants, but now I needed to fill it with clean-air plants. According to the study, the top plants found most effective in decreasing the amount of air-pollutants include:
Bamboo Palm – Chamaedorea Seifritzii
Chinese Evergreen – Aglaonema Modestum
English Ivy- Hedera helix
Gerbera Daisy- Gerbera Jamesonii
Janet Craig – Dracaena ‘Janet Craig’
Marginata – Dracaena Marginata
Mass cane/Corn Plant - Dracaena Massangeana
Mother-in-Law’s Tongue Sansevieria Laurentii
Pot Mum – Chrysantheium morifolium
Peace Lily - Spathiphyllum
With Lynne’s continued guidance, I picked out a selection from the Greenhouse Shop that fit the clean-air profile and my personal tastes: English Ivy, Mother-in-Law’s Tongue, Golden Pothos, Peace Lily, Spider Plant, and Dracaena, all pictured below.
And while they might not bestow “clean-air” – I couldn’t pass up a few other nice looking gems.
For those of you now wanting to purify your own air, don’t worry, it won’t break your bank. The plants purchased range from only $3.95 – $7.95. If you’re still not sold, check out the video below of our 2011 Indianapolis Island resident Katherine Ball talking about her use of clean-air plants.