Small grants beautify Zionsville


Commentary by Donna Monday

Debbie Hall LeDrew, an original member of the Village Garden Club, said it was in the 60s that LaVonne Heighway put an ad in the Zionsville Times asking if there was interest in starting a garden club. Voila! The Village Garden Club was established.

“She was a character,” LeDrew said of Heighway. “I remember her driving through town and checking out people’s trash to pick up pieces of carpeting for her garden. She put carpet between the rows. She said it was comfortable on her knees.”

CIZ COM 0905 Grants
Maplelawn board member Mary Robbins-Nierste with Dahlia Kevin Floodlight at Maplelawn Farmstead. (Photo by Mike Nierste)

Back then, the club met monthly at each other’s houses, where they shared snacks, recipes, plant clippings and hints for better gardening.

Today’s club members continue monthly meetings, sometimes in their homes and often at Town Hall, for PowerPoint presentations. This year alone, discussions have included everything from future plans for Zionsville Parks to beekeeping.

Club President Carol Wood took notes on a program about growing milkweed to attract monarch butterflies. She has nine chrysalises in her garage. Two monarchs have already flown.

“One male and one female,” she said, having determined that by the spots on their lower wings.

Past President Carol Gobeyn said members are the most important part of the club.

“Their support and participation keep it going and allows the funding and awarding of our grants,” she said. “Those grants are given every spring and amount to up to $200 per gardening project.”

Jason Carr, a recent Miami of Ohio graduate, received a grant a few years ago to create a pollinator garden in Lions Park for his Eagle Scout badge. You’ll find it at the northwest end of the park path, with both his name and that of Lion sponsor Dan Dumbauld.

Joann Ostrognai used her $200 to label trees along Ford Road on either side of the Village Walk entrance.

“I know school children use that walk, and I thought they might have a project to identify trees,” Ostrongnai said.

Hussey-Mayfield Memorial Public Library bought seeds for its seed catalog with its grant, while the Zionsville Cultural District bought dahlia bulbs to give away.

Maplelawn Farmstead’s $200 can be seen in gorgeous dahlia blooms. One called the Kevin Floodlight is dinner-plate-size and yellow. It looks like lemon meringue pie on a stem.

Take a walk soon and see what small grants and big ideas can do.