How does your garden grow?

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Tips for planting this spring 

By Sophie Pappas and Sara Baldwin

It’s that time of year again; that time when those at Better Homes and Gardens start printing words like bulbs, perennials, shrubs and groundcovers. But what does it all mean? And what can you do to beautify and enjoy your Zionsville yard?

Current in Zionsville asked local experts where and how to get involved with gardening, for those who have green thumbs and those who have never lifted a seed.

“Now is the time to plant perennials, especially trees and shrubs,” said Jonas Carpenter, Co-Founder of Bread & Roses Nursery. “They’re dormant, so they will have less transplant shock.”

Cold crops like peas, carrots, kale, broccoli and beets can be directly sewn soon into your garden area, as well as spring bulbs like tulips and daffodils, which will begin to flower in the coming weeks. Seeds for later crops can now be started indoors, near a sunny window.

Whatever you decide to plant, Carpenter said don’t be afraid to try new things.

“Gardening is all about making mistakes, so don’t be afraid of failure,” Carpenter said.  “Think about how you can offset your culinary needs with a garden, and remember that the answer to healthy plants is living soil.”

 Where to go

Community gardens are a great place to get started with this year’s garden planting. Several gardens around town offer small land plots for rent, designed for people who may not have a large enough yard to grow vegetables or flowers.

The Zionsville Parks and Recreation Department has 20-feet-by-20-feet garden plots available for $20 per plot. There are 10 plots left for use at Elm Street Green in the village, and more than 20 plots left at Heritage Trail Gardens, which is located on southwest corner of the intersection of county roads 400-S and 875-E.

“People grow vegetables and some people donate all of their produce to food pantries,” said Parks Director, Matt Dickey. “And as long as we’re allowed to, we provide water for all of the plots.”

Another location to plant is at St. Francis In-The-Fields Episcopal Church on Mulberry Street.

Plots at the church are $40 per plot, and are located directly behind the church building.

According to Rector C. Davies Reed, many of the church’s gardeners donate to local food banks as well. There are 68 plots available at the church.

For more information on renting a plot through the town, contact the Park and Recreation Dept. at 733-2273.

To purchase a plot at the Episcopal Church, call the church office at 873-4377.

Garden tour

For a bit of inspiration on what a beautiful garden can look like in Indiana springs and summers, make a trip to the annual Gardens of Zionsville tour. This year’s tour will take place from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., June 14.

The event is organized by the SullivanMunce Cultural Center, and all proceeds will benefit SullivanMunce.

“There will be six lovely gardens to explore,” said SullivanMunce Art Director, Cynthia Young.

All of the gardens on display during the tour are located on private properties throughout the village and Zionsville.

“There will be knowledgeable gardeners in each garden to greet and talk with the visitors,” Young said.

For more information or to purchase tickets for the Gardens of Zionsville tour, visit the SullivanMunce Cultural Center located at 225 West Hawthorne St. Tickets are $20 for adults, but are discounted to $15 before June 14. Tickets for children 10 and older are $5.

Garden clubs of Zionsville

Another good way to brush-up on gardening skills is to join a garden club. The Village Residents’ Association of Zionsville gathers throughout the spring and summer to discuss gardening options and weather patterns.

Stonegate neighborhood also hosts a garden club in the large central park throughout the neighborhood. Seasonal planting meetings will start this month.

For information on how to join the Stonegate Garden Club, contact Lisa Pellam at 847-4541.

To join the Village Residents’Association Garden Club, contact Marianne and Guinn Doyle at 873-2547.

Take a class

Learn how to include edible plants in an ornamental garden, or how to attract more butterflies to your yard.

The Hussey-Mayfield Memorial Public Library is hosting professional gardener, Amy Mullen, to teach classes this month.

The Edible Landscapes class is from 7 to 8 p.m., April 15 in the Hussey Room.

The Butterfly Gardens class is from 7 to 8 p.m., April 29 in the Hussey Room. To register for the gardening classes, contact the library at 873-3149.

Here are a few guidelines to help green your thumbs and ready your yards for planting season.

  • Start planning your garden space. Though you may not be planting much right now, this is the perfect time to start planning and preparing.“It is important to start out understanding your soil structure, which will help you decide how to garden,” said McKenzie Beverage, Sustainability Coordinator at Butler University.

    Add organic matter to your garden areas from compost (if you have it), or by purchasing fertilizer from a local farm or hardware store. Gather materials like untreated cedar and pine to build any raised beds, and begin mapping out your space.

  • Prune bushes and ornamental grasses before they germinate. Rake old leaves and clean up old foliage. Later-blooming shrubs can be cut back 8-to-10 inches to encourage new growth and maintain a manageable size.
  • Plant perennials, especially trees and shrubs, as well as cool-season annuals.  

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