“The garden demonstrates how to grow food and ornamental plants,” says Steve Mayer, Extension Educator-Horticulture, for Purdue Extension-Marion County. “Gardeners can see and learn about plants adapted to Indiana and how to care for them.” Gardeners can see award-winning All-America Selections (AAS) flowers & vegetables and vegetable gardening techniques like raised beds. It's a place for gardeners to get ideas.
The demonstration garden was created on the Indiana State Fairgrounds in 2012 by Purdue Extension-Marion County staff and Master Gardener volunteers. The demonstration garden features annual flowers and vegetables.
In 2013 the Purdue Extension-Marion County Demonstration Garden became an official All-America Selections (AAS) Flower and Vegetable Display Garden. It is the only AAS Display Garden in Indianapolis and one of less than a half-dozen in Indiana. An AAS Display Garden provides the public an opportunity to view the newest AAS winners in an attractive well-maintained setting.
The demonstration garden is located 350 feet east of Discovery Hall where the Purdue Extension-Marion County office is located. This is in the northwest corner of the Indiana State Fairgrounds, 1202 E. 38th St., Indianapolis, IN 46205. There is no charge to view the garden or for parking for garden entrance (except during State Fair). For directions or more information on the garden, call 317-275-9290, or e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
A small amount of the produce is used for testing and demonstration, but most of the fresh vegetables are taken to a local food pantry.
Year-by-Year Garden Development
In 2012, site development began in early June and planting began on June 14, 2012 and was completed before the end of July.
In 2013 the flower garden area was completely redesigned. Other new additions to the garden in 2013 included five cedar and patio block raised garden beds, two hinged cedar raised beds, two cedar benches, two new cedar signs for the garden and a VegTrug. The garden became an official All-America Selections (AAS) Flower and Vegetable Display Garden.
In 2014 new additions to the garden included: three steel corner bracket raised beds, a vertical wall garden, a tomato trellis system, a new insect-proof structure for growing cucumbers, and five fabric 20-gallon pots for growing tomatoes.
In the 2015 growing season, two 20-foot raised beds were framed with 2x6-inch cedar lumber, and a circular retaining wall was built on the back slope for the back circle planting bed. A vertical succulent garden was also constructed. During the fall, we began using cover crops in 1 bed.
The 2016 growing season saw another new circular retaining wall for the center planting circle, a newly designed two-sided vertical succulent garden, a hanging basket display area, and a strawberry tower. Garden theme was Bicentennial Colors of the Flag: Blue and Gold. During the fall, we used cover crops in 7 beds.
In the 2017 growing season, three flower towers were constructed of cedar fence pickets for impatiens. A sensory garden was created in the new 2'x8' Elevated Cedar Planting Box. We also used a biodegradable paper mulch and row cover hand pegs. Two metal raised beds were installed from kits. We entered the All-America Selections Display Gardens Design Contest for the first time. Foodscaping was the theme for 2017 (see Related Files). We won 1st place among AAS Display Gardens in the 10,000-100,000 visitor category for 2017.
In 2018 we entered the All-America Selections Display Gardens Design Challenge for the second time. The theme was Get Social in the Garden (see Related Files). This encouraged people to post on social media in the garden. We also made the garden more social with additional seating areas, including the construction of two turf benches. We won 1st place among AAS Display Gardens in the 10,000-100,000 visitor category for 2018 (see news release in Related Files). The two circular raised beds in front of the garden were converted to four approximately crescent-shaped beds. Two archways were in the 2018 garden: 1) two Jasper tomatoes on the previous large arch and 2) white cypress vines and hops on a new structure. The latter was built from one cattle fence panel (16 feet by 50 inches). Two additional metal raised beds were installed from kits. The garden also included a "wall" of hanging pots of succulents. The three flower towers featured Petunia Evening Scentsation. Cover crops were planted in the fall. A link to a one-minute drone video of the 2018 garden is found below.
2018 Demo Garden YouTube Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Svbz6ZlKUwo
We entered the All-America Selections Display Gardens Design Challenge for the third time in 2019. The theme was Re-Use Recycle Re-imagine (see Related Files). For the third year in a row, we won 1st place among AAS Display Gardens in the 10,000-100,000 visitor category (see news release in Related Files). We constructed two different types of compost bins and built a new type of raised bed along the inside of the fence (made with Oldcastle Tan Brown Planter Wall Blocks and 2x6-inch cedar lumber). The two turf benches were converted to flower planters out front. Plants on the arches were Seychelles Pole Bean and Hops. The flower towers and hanging baskets featured Onyx Red Ornamental Pepper. Cover crops were planted in the fall. A link to a 48-second drone video of the 2019 garden is below.
2019 Demo Garden YouTube Video: https://youtu.be/BrzvruoaO9A
Thank you to all of the Purdue Extension Master Gardeners in Marion County who plan, plant, harvest, and maintain the demonstration garden in Indianapolis each year! The garden would not be possible without all of their efforts.
Many thanks also goes to organizations and businesses who contributed to the Purdue Extension-Marion County Demonstration Garden in some way: All-America Selections, Carter-Lee/ProBuild Indpls., Cedar Creek Fence Company Inc., Dramm Corporation, Garden Tower Project, Garfield Park Master Gardener Association, Heidenreich Greenhouse, Indiana State Fair, Lowe’s-Beech Grove and Post Road, Marion County Master Gardener Association, Marion County Soil & Water Conservation District, Preferred Advertising Co., Inc., Ready Seal, and Tractor Supply.
The Purdue Extension-Marion County Demonstration Garden began a Facebook page on August 5, 2014: https://www.facebook.com/PurdueIndyDemoGarden
Photos of the garden are also posted on Twitter: https://twitter.com/purduehortindy
See Related Files below for the following documents:
2019 AAS News Release on Winners of the 2019 “Re-use, Recycle Re-imagine” Landscape Design Challenge
2019 Plant List and Map (88 All-America Selections Winners)
2018 AAS News Release on Winners of the 2018 “Get Social in the Garden” Landscape Design Challenge
2018 Plant List and Map (89 All-America Selections Winners)
2017 Plant List (110 All-America Selections Winners)
2016 Plant List (77 All-America Selections Winners)
2015 Plant List (71 All-America Selections Winners)
2014 Plant List and Map (73 All-America Selections Winners)
2013 Plant List and Map (55 All-America Selections Winners)
2013 Demonstration Garden Project: Cedar and Patio Block Raised Garden Beds
2012 Plant List and Map (45 All-America Selections Winners)