Sutphin Mall & Fountain

Centered in the front of the IMA’s main façade, Sutphin Mall and Fountain have been an Indianapolis landmark for over 30 years. Some of the trees are underplanted with the perennial Geranium ‘Brookside,’ whose bright blue early summer flowers are followed by red and orange highlighted foliage in the fall. Other trees are underplanted with early spring flowering blue Grecian windflowers (Anemone blanda ‘Blue Shades’). In these beds you will also find plumbago (Ceratostigma plumbaginoides) which has cobalt blue flowers in early fall followed by bright red highlights in its foliage. Around the fountain are 17 large concrete planters filled with colorful foliage and flowering plants from May to October. Outside the Café, they are planted with evergreens and twig dogwoods for the winter months. A large curved bed in front of the fountain is filled with bright annuals and tropicals for the summer months.

The geometric beds of the Mall contrast beautifully with the curvy, relaxed and mingled plantings of the nearby overlook, and the large blocks of a single species give the illusion that the Mall is longer than its 300 feet. The permanent plantings were chosen for their multiple seasonal interests, as all of the selections contribute something to the malls beauty at least 2 seasons of the year.

Highlights of Sutphin Mall

  • Acer rubrum 'Franksred' Red Sunset®, Red maple: these were put in at 4 to 5 inch caliper, in today's market it is hard to find 50 plus matched trees of any species, spring flowering can be very good, fall color is spectacular with lots of red, silver-gray bark adds some winter interest, still believe there are more interesting trees for the home gardener
  • Fothergilla major, Large fothergilla: witch hazel relative, fragrant creamy white bottle brush flowers in late spring before leaves are fully expanded, blue-green leaves, good fall color in yellows, oranges, and reds, full sun to part shade, 6 to 7 feet tall with similar spread
  • Buxus 'Green Gem', Boxwood: hybrid of B. microphylla var. koreana and B. sempervirens, slow growing mound shape, hold dark green color in winter, 2' by 2'
  • Buxus 'Glencoe' Chicagoland Green®, Boxwood: planted in circle at end of mall, hybrid of B microphylla v. koreana and B. sempervirens, good green color in winter, 2 to 3 feet tall with similar width
  • Geranium Rozanne®: good blue colored flowers from May to November with heaviest bloom in May and June, good foliage all season with fall colors in oranges and reds, full sun to light shade, about 1' tall by 2' wide
  • Echinacea Big Sky® Sunset, Coneflower: one of the best of the new hybrid coneflowers, deep sunset orange flowers in summer, seed heads can be left to provide winter food for birds
  • Campanula ‘Sarastro', Bellflower: large nearly cobalt blue bells on stems to 18 inches, heaviest bloom in May/June, with deadheading blooms through September, excellent new perennial
  • Sedum rupestre ‘Angelina’, Sedum: beautiful golden chartreuse foliage develops shades of orange and copper in cold months, yellow flowers in early summer, great in the ground or in containers
  • Sedum spurium 'Red Carpet', Two row stonecrop:very low growing sedum, bronze foliage with reddish flowers in summer, full sun, tolerates dry soil and high pH, 3" to 4" tall by 12" to 18" wide

Beds along wall above North Stair

  • Sedum sieboldii, October daphne: interesting texture created by the 3 leaves being whorled around the stem, beautiful glaucous blue-green foliage frequently with pinkish or lavender edges on the leaves, pink flowers in fall add to beauty and stick around for winter interest, tolerates dry and likes good drainage, full sun, 6" by 12"
  • Iris sibirica 'Caesar's Brother', Siberian iris: typical iris foliage is good contrast to Sedum sieboldii, velvety blue-purple blooms in late spring, tolerant of moisture but surviving nicely in well-drained soil, 24" to 36" tall by 24" wide with the flowers a little taller than the leaves
  • Malus 'Prairiefire', Crabapple: dark pink flowers (not quite red in bud), purplish foliage all season but darkest in spring, small red fruit, full sun, very resistant to crabapple diseases, 20' by 20'
  • Pennisetum alopecuroides 'Cassian', fountain grass: nice green color and soft texture, blooming starts in August, golden fall color with red tints, 3' by 2'

Pocket gardens

  • Buxus sempervirens 'Vardar Valley', Boxwood: low growing, 2' to 3' by 4' to 5'
  • Euphorbia amygdaloides var. robbiae, Robb's spurge: evergreen, very dark green leaves with chartreuse flowers in spring, spreads by runners, sun or shade, plants can grow to 2' tall and wide

Next to walk along drive

  • Juniperus conferta 'Blue Pacific', Shore juniper: softer look than many junipers, very low growing, good groundcover plant, full sun, good drainage is best, 1' to 2' tall by 6' to 9' wide, usually planted on 3' spacing
  • Hydrangea paniculata 'Kyushu', Panicle hydrangea: pruned into the shape of a small tree, this form is called a standard, blooms in mid-summer on new wood so can be pruned and still flowers, typical flowers for this species, large white panicles that age to shades of pink then tan, dried flowers add winter interest, full sun to part shade, will need pruning to maintain form, can grow to 10 feet or more high and wide, easily pruned to smaller size

Highlights of Sutphin Fountain

  • Metasequoia glyptostrobioides, Dawn redwood: purchased large so they would be more in scale with the museum façade, species discovered by the West in the 1940’s, a deciduous evergreen with good bronzey fall color, is a conifer, needs little training to grow very pyramidal, small leaves means fewer problems in fountain, eventual size can be 100 feet tall by 25 feet wide with 40-50 feet possible in 20 years under good conditions
  • Fothergilla gardenia, Dwarf fothergilla: a great multi-seasonal shrub, one to two inch fragrant creamy white bottlebrush flowers in late April as the leaves emerge, in summer the leaves are deep blue-green with heavy venation, fall color is excellent mix of oranges, reds, and yellows, 3 ‘ x 3’ in size
  • Geranium ‘Brookside’, hardy geranium: large blue flowers , fairly long bloom period – about a month of heavy flowering in May/June with intermittent flowering rest of summer, good leaf texture, good fall color with highlights or red and orange, cut back after main flowering cycle for tidier more mounded look rest of season, sun to light shade
  • Ceratostigma plumbaginoides Plumbago: an excellent groundcover for sun or light shade, incredible cobalt blue flowers in late summer – fall, one of few perennials with fall color taking on shades or red and orange, plants emerge late in spring
  • Liriope muscari ‘Big Blue’, Lily-turf: excellent groundcover for sun or shade about one foot tall, lavender-blue flowers in late summer, tolerant of most soils
  • Buxus ‘Green Mountain’, Boxwood: hybrid of B. microphylla var. koreana and B. sempervirens, pyramidal growth habit, excellent for hedging, occasional light pruning to maintain shape, mature size about 5’ tall by 3’ wide, one of the best for our area
  • Taxus x media ‘Everlow’, Yew: as the name suggests low growing yew topping out at 3’ – 4’, very good green winter color, as with all yews good drainage is important
  • Leptodermis oblonga, Leptodermis: lavender flowers in early summer similar to miniature lilac blooms, lightly fragrant, full sun, about 2’ tall and wide
  • Buxus 'Glencoe' Chicagoland Green®, Boxwood: hybrid of B microphylla v. koreana and B. sempervirens, good green color in winter, 2 to 3 feet tall with similar width
  • Anemone blanda ‘Blue Shades’, Grecian windflower: shades of blue daisy-like flowers only a few inches tall, blooms early spring, will self-sow where happy
  • Acer griseum Paperbark maple: one of the best small trees, a true 4-season plant, beautiful blue-green leaves in summer followed by fall color in oranges and reds, when the leaves drop incredible cinnamon bark that peels like a birch tree, if you can have only one tree this is it, 20’ – 30 ‘ tall by 10 – 30’ spread
  • Ilex verticillata ‘Red Sprite’, Common winterberry: one of the heaviest fruiting deciduous hollies, nice foliage in summer, abundance of persistence red berries nearly ½ inch in diameter, is a female so male is planted nearby (‘Jim Dandy’), 3’ – 5’ tall with equal spread, birds love the fruit too
  • Physocarpus opulifolius ‘Seward’ or Summer Wine®, Eastern ninebark: hardy easy to grow shrub with dark burgundy leaves, excellent white flowers in late spring, small version of Diablo®, 5’ - 6’ tall and wide
  • Narcissus ‘Ice Follies’, Large cup daffodil: creamy white daffodil that hold up to the changing spring weather
  • Echinacea Big Sky® Sunset, Coneflower: one of the best of the new hybrid coneflowers, deep sunset orange flowers in summer, seed heads can be left to provide winter food for birds
  • Echinacea Big Sky® Twilight, Coneflower: similar to Sunset but color is deeper with more coral-red
  • Sedum ‘Matrona’: very hardy perennial with thick succulent gray-green leaves on burgundy stems, pinkish flowers in autumn that dry and look great with snow in winter
  • Sedum ‘Black Jack’: a dark burgundy child of ‘Matrona’, naturally occurring sport, flowers likewise are a much richer pink color
  • Persicaria amplexicaulis ‘Golden Arrow’: beautiful chartreuse leaved perennial with long bloom period in summer to fall, burgundy flower spikes are a great contrast to the golden foliage, about 18” tall and wide
  • Buxus sempervirens 'Vardar Valley', Boxwood: low growing, 2' to 3' by 4' to 5'