Marion County

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Purdue Extension-Marion County Demonstration Garden

November 7, 2018
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“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 only 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:

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.

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.

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. Foodscaping was the theme for 2017. We entered the All-America Selections Display Gardens Design Contest on Foodscaping (see Related Files). We won 1st place in the 10,000-100,000 visitor category.

In 2018 we entered the All-America Selections Display Gardens Design Challenge on 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. This involved reconstructing the two circular raised beds in front of the garden to four approximately crescent-shaped beds. Two archways were in the garden this year: 1) using two Jasper tomatoes and 2) white cypress vines. The latter was a new structure composed of cattle panel fencing (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 Purdue Extension-Marion County Demonstration Garden began a Facebook page on August 5, 2014:

Photos of the garden are also posted on Twitter:

See Related Files below for the following documents:

2018 AAS News Release on Winners of the 2018 “Get Social” 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)

Related Files

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