Marion County

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Purdue Extension Demonstration Garden Wins Foodscaping Landscape Design Challenge

November 24, 2019
Demo Garden 2017 B Banner

This year All-America Selections challenged the AAS Display Gardens across the U.S. and parts of Canada to create a design based on the theme “Foodscaping-Interspersing Edibles in the Ornamental Garden.”

Gardens were divided into three categories based on the number of visitors per year:

 Category I: fewer than 10,000 visitors per year

Category II: 10,001 – 100,000 visitors per year

Category III: Over 100,000 visitors per year

The First Place Winner in Category II for 2017 is the Purdue Extension-Marion County Demonstration Garden in Indianapolis, located on the Indiana State Fairgrounds. The Second Place Winner in Category I is the Master Gardeners Association of Tippecanoe County in Lafayette, and the Southwest Indiana Master Gardener Demonstration Gardens in Evansville received honorable mention in the same category. All three locations are official AAS Display Gardens that highlight the latest award-winning edibles and flowers. They also show various gardening techniques and provide ideas to home gardeners.


Category II: 10,001 – 100,000 visitors per year

First Place Winner: Purdue Extension Marion County Demonstration Garden, Indianapolis, Indiana.

This garden is located on the Indiana State Fairgrounds where Master Gardener volunteers interacted with about 13,000 visitors during the 17-day fair. Over 300 visitors participated in the “spin the wheel and find the plant” game for younger gardeners to discover AAS edibles that are suitable for foodscaping. The lush, healthy foodscaping design featured Candle Fire okra, Aji Rico and Hot Sunset peppers (to name a few) in the main ornamental garden. They also used three AAS pumpkin Winners (Pepitas, Super Moon and Cinderella’s Carriage) as ground cover around a newly planted ornamental tree. A lunch and learn lecture on the topic of foodscaping further explained the concept featuring AAS edibles in easy take-home messages. The garden also included attractive signage on the concept of foodscaping featuring AAS edibles in the garden.

Purdue Extension-Marion County Master Gardeners, along with the local horticulture educator, plan, plant and maintain the garden through the growing season. Most of the produce goes to a local food pantry. The garden is located just east of Discovery Hall on the State Fairgrounds. If you would like a group tour of the demonstration garden in 2018, send an e-mail to: The best viewing time is between mid-July and mid-September. The demonstration garden has a web page and a Facebook page:




Category I: fewer than 10,000 visitors per year

Second Place Winner: Master Gardeners Association of Tippecanoe Country (MGATC), Lafayette, Indiana.

The MGATC took advantage of existing flower beds to concentrate on mixing and matching veggies and ornamentals in-ground, in containers and in raised beds. One hanging basket included tomato Fantastico, Profusion Double Hot Cherry zinnia and feathery fennel Antares. In raised beds they layered ornamentals and vegetables using South Pacific Scarlet cannas followed by Candle Fire okra, Profusion Double Deep Salmon zinnia then a row of lower-growing Artwork broccoli, Katarina cabbage, Konan kohlrabi, Prizm kale and Red Kingdom mizuna. A thorough and impressive 6-page article in the local Lafayette magazine brought many guests to the gardens with questions, enabling them to further their motto of helping others grow.

Honorable Mention, “Food Bank Donation”: Southwest Indiana Master Gardener Demonstration Gardens, Evansville, Indiana.


For the landscape design challenge, AAS provided the gardens with AAS award-winning seed from the last five years. Gardens also had the option to incorporate any older AAS Winners from the past 85 years. Gardens not only had to create and execute a design based on this year’s theme, but also had to generate publicity about the challenge and AAS Winners as well as submit photos documenting their creations. The judges were impressed by the creativity exhibited when combining edibles and ornamentals in each of the participating gardens. Many gardens were so successful growing their edible AAS Winners that they donated their produce to local food banks and food pantries!

AAS profiled all of the 2017 contest winners on their website under Display Gardens:


AAS news release locally adapted by Purdue Extension-Marion County (Suite 201, Discovery Hall, Indiana State Fairgrounds, 1202 East 38th Street, Indianapolis, IN 46205-2807). 11-3-2017

It is the policy of the Purdue University Cooperative Extension Service that all persons have equal opportunity and access to its educational programs, services, activities, and facilities without regard to race, religion, color, sex, age, national origin or ancestry, marital status, parental status, sexual orientation, disability or status as a veteran. Purdue University is an Affirmative Action institution. This material may be available in alternative formats.

All-America Selections is a non-profit organization founded in 1932 to anonymously test new plants for home gardening. They utilize a network of 80+ volunteer judges in over 40 trials grounds across North America to rate entries against comparisons. Then they use an active publicity program to promote the best performers that are declared AAS Winners.


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