Another season of spectacular Garden experiences is finally here, and dazzling new gardens and attractions are sprouting up everywhere in our 105 acre oasis of natural beauty. This spring we were honored to unveil phase 2 of the ArcelorMittal Children’s Garden, now featuring an expansive and multifaceted Cedarworks playset beckoning families to explore an array of nearby sensory garden beds. This centerpiece and focal point for the entire FBG grounds further establishes the ArcelorMittal Children’s Garden as a visually captivating arena for learning and play experiences set against the backdrop of natural habitats and formal garden landscapes.
This stunning addition to the Friendship Botanic Gardens experience would not have been possible without ArcelorMittal’s unwavering commitment to enriching the lives of the people of Northwest Indiana. Thanks ArcelorMittal!
A New First Impression for FBG – and all of Michigan City!
The profound transformations underway at Friendship Botanic Gardens are leading the way as Michigan City grows into a thriving destination community for tourism, recreation, and economic investment. It’s for this reason that the Michigan City Redevelopment Corporation generously committed to funding the rejuvenation of our Highway 12 entrance – along with much-needed improvements to the electrical infrastructure throughout the grounds. Thanks to a visionary landscaping plan by Board Member Stu Franzen, our main entrance is being transformed into a mosaic of perennial gardens and naturalistic stone masonry.
Combined with other new features like the “Botanic Magic” sculpture by John Searles and the “Botanic Beacon” digital LED sign, our stretch of the Highway 12 gateway into Michigan City is conveying to millions of motorists annually that Michigan City is a flourishing and vibrant lakefront destination community with endless opportunities to “Create, Play, Repeat.”
Gala in the Gardens
On June 3rd over 150 FBG supporters from around our community and beyond came together for a very special celebration of the rich legacy of the Gardens... as well as their unlimited potential for the future. The Symphony Garden proved to be a magnificent backdrop for this elegant evening of dinner, drinks, and live auctions of artwork and other prize packages. Thanks to the hard work of our events committee, the Gardens raised over $35,000 in funds toward the continued revitalization of this once-forgotten community treasure! The entire FBG family wishes to thank the variety of community stakeholders who attended this magical evening and the hardworking board members who made it reality.
FBG kicked off the beginning of our 2017 season with our first-ever Easter Egg Hunt in the Symphony Side of the Gardens. The response from families in our community exceeded our wildest expectations. Nearly 1400 people flocked to the Gardens to search for Easter treats while getting their first look at all the remarkable improvements we’d been working on all winter long. Stay tuned for an even grander Easter experience in Spring 2018!
A New Attraction Taking Root on Lake Lucerne
If you’ve visited the gardens lately, you may have noticed new plots steadily sprouting up on the Lake Lucerne Peninsula – the historic site of the Theater of Nations performance area where big bands and Opera performers entertained thousands in the mid-twentieth century. Thanks to generous
support of Horizon Bank, this storied peninsula is now home to the Cancer Survivor Garden of Hope and Love. Our Board of Directors conceived of this new plot encircling the freshly painted gazebo as a tribute to the countless lives affected by cancer. We hope the stunning panoramic views of Lake Lucerne and the surrounding walls of willow trees can help bring visitors a small measure of the peace and tranquility that renews and revitalizes the human spirit. Transformative projects like these wouldn’t be possible without the unwavering support of stakeholders like Horizon Bank. We continue to be honored and humbled by the broad swath of supporters who’ve believed in us along every step of this unprecedented journey.
New Equipment and Infrastructure is “Powering” FBG’s growth
As our hardworking grounds crew and operations staff work to continually improve the Friendship Botanic Gardens Experience, we’ve been fortunate enough to steadily grow our collection of equipment and improve our facilities and infrastructure. Both Horizon Bank and the Michigan City Redevelopment Corporation have funded extensive electrical improvements throughout the grounds that make it possible to host crucial events like evening wedding receptions and fundraisers. Thanks to a grant from the Barker Welfare Foundation, our staff now has two brand new forest-green people movers that will allow us transport disabled and elderly guests throughout the grounds – now everyone has the ability to fully appreciate the natural splendor that graces the vast FBG landscape.
Behind the scenes, a brand new tractor is helping our grounds crew make the Gardens more beautiful and spectacular than in any time in recent memory. Just this month, acres upon acres of brush and weeds have been cleared away from areas like the spruce walk, revealing quaint meandering footpaths and sun-dappled clearings where visitors can appreciate the serenity and tranquility along with the timeless rhythms of nature.
Our Board of Directors never ceases striving to create new gardens and attractions throughout the FBG grounds. That’s why we’re currently in the planning stages for a variety of new projects made possible thanks to community-oriented donors who are eager to become a part of the amazing story of Friendship Botanic Gardens. These visionary new additions will include an expansive labyrinth garden designed to serve as a one-of-a- kind signature attraction that can draw visitors from across our region and beyond. Local community organizations are also spearheading the creation of 2 new Ethnic Heritage Plots: an Irish Garden and an African Garden.
Another Season of Transcendent Experiences at FBG
Be sure to mark your calendars for all of the momentous events we have in store for our 2017 season. The improvements to the Gardens and grounds will be on full display during our flagship 2017 fundraiser: The FBG Bacchus and BeerFest. Buy your tickets early for discounted pricing to this evening of music and exquisite craft beer and wine.
Other 2017 Events On the Horizon:
Lyric Opera in the Gardens
Bacchus and Beer Fest
Haunted Trails and Ghost Stories
Native American Celebration and Thanksgiving Day Turkey Walk
Don’t Forget, FBG is hosting Nature Inspired Art Classes for children ages 8-12 on
July 19th, August 2nd, and August 9th Register online at www.friendshipgardens.org.