Wednesday, April 27, 2011

April 27, 2011 Is a garden a natural area?

No, but more and more gardens feature native plants.  DeFries Gardens, River Preserve County Park at 17477 County Road 46, New Paris, IN 46553 has an intriguing display of both  domestic cultivars and native plants.  The Calendar Garden displays plants by months of the year, with native plants on the outside of the circular brick path and domesticated plants on the inside.  When we were there today, April 27, we were fortunate to find designer and gardener Jon Cutrell pulling invasive plants from the native section of "April".  Beth DeFries, the visionary benefactor of the gardens, provided many of the unusual native plants.  For years she collected native plants and established them on the property where she and her husband lived for years.  Many of those plants are now in the formal calendar garden and many remain throughout the surrounding woods and informal gardens.  We were fortunate to have Beth D. as our neighbor in Goshen for several years.  We witnessed first-hand her passion for planting native plants; some of them persist in our neighbor's garden years after Beth moved away.

Cutrell has also collected and transplanted native plants from Indiana, his native Pennsylvania, and other eastern states.  He agreed to comment in this blog if information in this entry is wrong or incomplete.

Below are labeled photos of some of the native plants from the "April" section of the garden:
Virginia Bluebells, Martensia virginica - So far we have seen these grow naturally only in woods south of US 6

A multiple-petaled Bloodroot, Sanguinaria canadensis; these occur rarely in nature; we have only seen these in the DeFries Gardens

A multiple-petaled Rue Anemone, Thalictrum thalictroides - another rare occurrence  

Barren Strawberry, Waldensia fragaroides  They grow natively in Indiana south of Indianapolis.

In the woodland gardens we found many native species in bloom today:
Prairie Trillium  Trillium recurvatum
Toad Trillium  Trillium sessile
Large-flowered Trillium   Trillium grandiflorum
False Rue Anemone  Enemion biternatum
Spring Beauty  Claytonia virginica
Marsh Marigold  Caltha palustris
Dutchman's Breeches  Dicentra cucullaria
Squirrel Corn  Dicentra canadensis
Jack-in-the-Pulpit  Arisaema triphyllum
Yellow Trout Lily  Erythronium americanum
Common Blue Violet  Viola sororia
Long-spurred Violet  Viola rostrata
Yellow Violet  Viola pubescens
Cream Violet  Viola striata
Purple Springcress  Cardamine douglassi
Wild Ginger Asarum canadense

Foreground: Toad Trillium; background: Prairie Trillium

Large-flowered Trillium surrounded by False Rue Anemone

Cream Violet, Viola striata - note the stripes on the lower petal


  1. Hello-

    Just checking in from Laos (saw the link in the CMC newsletter). I'm very excited to be coming to Goshen for a few months this summer and look forward to lots of time in nature...of a different variety of what I get from my home here. Thanks for giving me a glimpse of what may be in store.

    Kris Peachey

  2. Very glad to hear from you fa away in Laos. By the time you arrive this summer the forest canopy will block much of the sunlight, so few woodland flowers will be in bloom. But even more flowers will be blooming in wetlands and reconstructed prairies at places like Baintertown wetlands, Waterford Mennonite Church wetlands, Boot Lake Nature Preserve northwest of Elkhart, Pipewort Pond Nature Preserve north of Bristol, Bonnieville and Oxbow County Patks, etc. All the best to you in the meantime.