One of the most exquisite, panoramic views at Friendship Botanic Gardens can be seen from the peninsula known as the Cancer Survivors’ Garden of Love and Hope.
The garden’s planting scheme was developed in July of 2016 by Stuart Franzen, Secretary of the Board of Directors and local landscape architect. The garden was partially funded by Horizon Bank and was installed that fall by H&S Services.
It serves as one of the premiere locations for contemplation, prayer and meditation on the 105-acres of meadows, wooded trails and cultivated garden areas. It is also one of several venues for intimate wedding ceremonies and can accommodate up to 100 guests.
The peninsula is home to a snow-white gazebo and colorful plants ranging from chokeberries, fragrant sumac,and geraniums, to cardinal flowers and catmint. It branches out into the gentle waters of Lake Lucerne, a spring-fed lake where muskrats, turtles and geese can often be found.
“The plants were specified for their compact growth habit and extended period of seasonal interest,” said Franzen. “They were also selected for their ability to tolerate some inundation, as Lake Lucerne water levels fluctuate during wet periods.”
This garden is the former site of the “Theatre of Nations” stage, where world-famous performers entertained thousands in the mid-twentieth century with Shakespeare productions, opera performances and more. Majestic weeping willows envelope on the adjacent shore.
Visitors may sit in the gazebo and admire beautiful blooms in the Persian Rose Garden from across the lake or transfix themselves on the breathtaking, 26-foot fountain that illuminates an array of colors throughout evening events, courtesy of the Barker Welfare Foundation.
One of the most popular sites at Friendship Botanic Gardens is the ArcelorMittal Children’s Garden, an arena for educational play experiences set against the backdrop of cultivated gardens and surrounding wilderness.
Funded byArcelorMittal, this garden was installed in four phases beginning in 2016 and serves as a place for children to learn about flora and fauna, the wonderful world of bees and the water cycle.
“We are so gracious for ArcelorMittal’s continued support throughout the years,” said John Leinweber, President of the Board of Directors at FBG. “On beautiful days and during our events, the Children’s Garden is full of families learning about the natural world.”
Volunteer Carol Sloane has spent ample time in this garden and is dedicated to improving the learning experience for children.
The Garden consists of a playground set that includes slides, climbing walls, a wooden tower and more; a hydraulic hand pump where kids can draw groundwater up from the earth and watch it trickle down a 16-foot gold miner’s sluiceway, demonstrating the fundamental process and understanding of where water comes from; a small butterfly garden; a garden of senses, which includes five raised flower beds with plants and herbs specifically selected to provide a feast for the senses; three flower-shaped, permanently installed xylophones featured in the sound garden, and a whimsical, learning cabin with an observation window where children can view the inner workings of a honeybee colony.
Accompanying educational signage explains the water cycle, the science of sound and information about living organisms in the nearby forests.
Friendship Botanic Gardens is open Tuesday-Sunday 9-5 p.m. Children 12 and under are free. Please visit www.friendshipgardens.org for more information.
Solace and peace, especially during these uncertain and difficult times, is very important to one’s mental health and may be best found in Friendship Botanic Garden’s Horizon Bank A-Maze-Ing Labyrinth Garden.
This garden, which was installed and graciously sponsored by Horizon Bank in 2018, serves as a primary place for peace, meditation, and prayer. Its beauty and eternal promise of growth and rejuvenation have made labyrinth gardens infamous places for healing, reflection, and a place to unwind the mind.
“The A-Maze-Ing Labyrinth Garden is an extraordinary garden – over 500 chokeberry bushes in such a captivating setting,” said John Leinweber, President of the Board of Directors at Friendship Botanic Gardens. “Children will love it as a maze, and those who appreciate labyrinths may utilize it as a place to reflect, meditate and pray in peace.”
Labyrinth gardens were originally designed as a meditation tool and a place of personal and spiritual healing. A labyrinth is a complex circuitous path that leads from a beginning point to a center, which can be walked. Walking a labyrinth can assist one in resolving inner discomfort and life’s distractions. This spiritual tool can be used to calm and quiet the mind; the pathway represents a spiritual track or can be seen as a symbolic “hero’s journey.”
In the labyrinth, as in life, there is no “right” way to follow the path. Labyrinths themselves are geometrical patterns used for walking and act as tools to assist the consciousness. However, this garden has several maze-like qualities: there are multiple dividing paths which force the traveler to choose one of many options, there are more than one possible exits and there are dead ends, too.
“This area is a beautiful addition to our grounds and we can’t thank Horizon Bank enough for this phenomenal garden,” Leinweber said.
Hello, I am the summer 2020 Intern at Friendship Botanic Gardens, and it is such a pleasure to be here! I have just received my Bachelor’s Degree from Indiana State University and am excited to have this opportunity where I can continue to grow.
At school, I studied human and environmental systems, sustainability, and art. In short, I have learned how environmental justice issues are social justice issues and how to transform into a greener way of life to benefit not only the Earth, but ourselves. While I was in school, I was also able to work within other nonprofit organizations and experienced how they operate, so I am glad to be using some of my existing knowledge while continuing to learn more in this new environment. I am excited to acquire the knowledge of how a nonprofit of this size and mission functions and for all of the new learning opportunities Friendship Botanic Gardens has for me.
As the new intern, I have a variety of jobs that range from learning about fundraising and other behind the scenes tasks, to getting my hands dirty in the gardens with our botanist, Rima, and other volunteers. You will often see me posted at the Welcome Cabin as you enter the Gardens, or you may see me assisting our Wedding Coordinator, Stephanie, with events! As I am a few weeks into this position now, I am being assigned additional side projects like collecting a list of all the species within the gardens and attempting to map them out, as well as conducting interviews with volunteers, staff, and board members! I love being able to spend my summer learning and growing in such a beautiful space with such welcoming people.
Growing up in the Chicago area and having family based here, Michigan City has always been my vacation spot. Over a year ago, my mother moved here to be closer to my grandparents, and when I graduated from ISU and moved out of Terre Haute, I moved in with my grandmother and became her housemate! My mother and grandmother were actually the ones to recommend that I apply to work at Friendship Botanic Gardens and after hearing so many wonderful things about this place, I chose to shoot my shot and apply for the internship position way back in December. Luckily, I was able to keep my position through all the chaos and everyone has been very supportive here. I have already been enjoying my experience so much and am looking forward to the rest of the season!