Wellfield Botanic Gardens

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Wellfield Botanic Gardens

ELKHART — The newest beauty in Wellfield Botanic Gardens comes courtesy of a couple of neighborhood craftsmen.Island Garden is being constructed as a Japanese garden, a precise landscape where every detail matters.The mild fall meant that a several men could finish work on Yu Sui Te, or “Pavilion Befriended By Water.” By the time the garden is done next summer, the work of a neighborhood guy who specializes in crafting with boulders will be evident too.Al, Joe and Paul Eggink have a tiny shop on Crawford Street near the garden. Bruce Gowdy was working with them. One morning a number of weeks ago, I found them on the roof of the pavilion with the curved roof. They were finishing this amazing wooden structure.The beams of the building were turned by Gowdy from ash trees that had to be taken down because of the pesky emerald ash borer. “It’s like a long table with a roof on it,” Paul Eggink said of the pavilion. As his brother Al points out, working on it is different than remodeling or replacing windows.“We all bring our different skill sets to it,” Gowdy said. “All these projects have been really fun.”Below them, Gabe Gratzol, whose business is called Rustic Rocks Landscaping, was moving stones into place for a wall. He lives across Christiana Creek from the Elkhart park and has done most of the stone work in Wellfield, said Eric Garton, executive director.He’s building a grand entryway to the garden from the rest of the Wellfield. This Japanese garden will have a waterfall, be ADA accessible via a ramp and have other features designed by one of the best in the business.Sadafumi “Sada” Uchiyama is helping design the garden. He’s garden curator for the Portland, Ore., Japanese Garden and took over another designer’s start at Wellfield. He believes he and others can make the garden a national attraction, not just a regional one, he said during a visit in October. “The details are very important, not just the view,” he said.In a Japanese garden, a man-made structure isn’t supposed to be the tallest thing. Putting the pavilion on top of the hill was actually a mistake that preceded Uchiyama, so he has plans to plant trees that will eventually eclipse its height, said Garton.The details include the stones Gratzol moves, the structure the Egginks and Gowdy constructed. This new garden is just the latest piece of work. Gratzol rebuilt the waterfall in the creek.“I’ve set just about every large rock in here,” he said of the larger garden.For these craftsmen, it’s like a playground in which to make beauty. Turns out, it’s on a spot where they also used to play.They would sneak into the old Wellfield. Gratzol said he used to mountain bike there. “It was awesome,” he said.Paul Eggink didn’t always sneak in.“I remember coming here fishing with my dad in the ‘60s,” he said.It would have been closed after 2001. “We effectively do a big service to the city by maintaining,” Garton said. The Elkhart Rotary Club founded the park in 2005. A Japanese garden was part of the master plan from the beginning and Jurate Krabill, with her late husband Don, contributed in a way to make it possible.The Wellfield is a different kind of garden. It became a private park that now charges admission, except on Tuesdays when it’s free. Gowdy said he enjoys seeing all the people enjoying the garden on that day of the week.Instead of tax dollars, the garden relies on donations, fees and the Taste of the Gardens fundraiser each August. Not everyone is happy to have to pay to get into a park, but if you’ve been to Frederik Meijer Gardens in Grand Rapids, you see what’s possible when a garden isn’t constrained by tax dollars and is fueled by private donations.The growth of the Wellfield, largely because of a dedicated group of volunteers and paid directors like Garton and others before him, mean that craftsmen from our community and elsewhere can create spaces we wouldn’t have otherwise. That means just about every time you go, the space has something new, something more remarkable.More donations, more pledges, mean that construction of The Children’s Garden is underway, said Garton. He’s excited that it’s moving forward. One more way Wellfield keeps growing.Marshall V. King is a freelance writer and photographer who has worked in Elkhart County as a journalist for more than 20 years. You can read his Dining a la King column in The Tribune on Fridays.

Wellfield Botanic Gardens

Sculpture in the Gardens: Heavy Metal at Wellfield Botanic Gardens Wellfield Botanic Gardens is pleased to announce a NEW, collaborative sculpture exhibit, on display from May 13 through September 30, 2017. Presented by the Elkhart County Convention and Visitors Bureau, with support from Vision in Mission and Goshen College, the exhibit features ten large, metallic sculptures positioned thoughtfully around the gardens for viewing enjoyment. All sculptures incorporate ‘found’ or repurposed materials, an important component for sustainability of our natural resources! John Mishler photoTwo of the pieces were created by nationally renowned art sculptor John Mishler, who specializes in the use of the common metals including aluminum, copper, steel, and stainless steel to create both abstract and symbolic works of art. Many of John’s outdoor pieces incorporate kinetic energy and have moving parts that turn with the wind. The “moving sculptures” have become John’s trademark. He has works in many public and corporate collections such as ESPN Zone, Chicago; Andrew Corp., Orland Park, IL; City of Elkhart, IN; Wisconsin Percent for Art Commission, U of Wisconsin; Madison & Walker & Co., and Reston, VA. He has works in private collections across the US, Canada & the South of France. Mishler’s sculptures will be accompanied by eight additional large-scale sculptures created by John’s former students and colleagues from the Goshen, Indiana area. Sculptures are numbered 1 through 10 and can be viewed (in order) walking counter-clockwise around the Garden’s main walkway. The exhibit is free with admission to the Gardens.

Wellfield Botanic Gardens

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The Memory of the Garden… The natural beauty of Wellfield Botanic Gardens stays with you long after your visit is over.  This peaceful place lingers in your mind and soul because it has reawakened something in your humanity which is connected and comforted by your relationship with plants, animals and water.  Nature, art and people intermingle with respect, appreciation and wonder.  Spiritual mixes with relational as you enjoy the surroundings purposely created for enhancing your human experience.   You may choose a contemplative solitary walk, a memory making celebration of family or an enriching community event. Whatever brings you to Wellfield Botanic Gardens, “the memory of the garden” will bring a smile to your perspective and a connection to all things living and growing.

The Wellfield Botanic Gardens in Elkhart, Indiana, is a 36-acre site located at 1000 N. Main St., six blocks north of the downtown area. The name Wellfield refers to the 13 wells on-site, which are operated by the Elkhart Department of Public Works. The historic site is the city’s biggest source of drinking water.

Wellfield Botanic Gardens is pleased to announce a NEW, collaborative sculpture exhibit, on display from May 13 through September 30, 2017. Presented by the Elkhart County Convention and Visitors Bureau, with support from Vision in Mission and Goshen College, the exhibit features ten large, metallic sculptures positioned thoughtfully around the gardens for viewing enjoyment. All sculptures incorporate ‘found’ or repurposed materials, an important component for sustainability of our natural resources!

Wellfield Botanic Gardens is being promoted as a major tourist attraction in northern Indiana. The gardens are being used as the site for various cultural and civic events, as well as weddings. In addition, the site is located at the end of a trail that connects parks throughout Elkhart County. Extension of the trail would link it with the Pumpkinvine Nature Trail.

Tourism Wellfield Botanic Gardens is being promoted as a major tourist attraction in northern Indiana. The gardens are being used as the site for various cultural and civic events, as well as weddings. In addition, the site is located at the end of a trail that connects parks throughout Elkhart County. Extension of the trail would link it with the Pumpkinvine Nature Trail.

Live music provides the soundtrack to magical evenings at Wellfield Botanic Gardens at our summer concert series presented by Center for Hospice Care. The concert lineup features an eclectic assortment of jazz, contemporary, classic rock, R&B, country, indie-pop, Americana, folk and “blue-eyed soul” performed live by popular artists of our region and beyond. Gates open at 6 p.m., concerts begin at 7; get your space on the event lawn or under the event tent early and stroll the beautiful garden trails while listening to nature’s symphony before enjoying the concerts as the sun sets. Fresh food items may be purchased from Matterhorn Catering or bring your own picnic dinner to enjoy during the concert….

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