2013 Master Gardens’ Garden Walk Inspires Porter County Gardeners

The annual Porter County Master Gardeners Association Garden Walk of 2013 was held to once again inspire gardeners in the community.

Gardeners of all kinds gained ideas, whether it was the apartment gardener looking for colorful and unique container ideas or for the homeowner wanting to transform their own yard with vibrant perennials or delicious vegetables.

My first stop was at the “Rain Garden”, beautifully designed and maintained by homeowners Kevin and Lorri Cornett.

Kevin said, “When you live in a community like Valpo and have a great location and are lucky enough to have a property like this, it makes you feel like it’s your responsibility to keep it up.” The Cornetts admitted that they used to have a tremendous water run-off problem.

“The run-off was intense so we attended a watershed meeting by Save the Dunes. As homeowners we were asked if we wanted to volunteer to put in a rain garden. We put the rain garden in and we have been very happy with it ever since. It is a really wonderful grant program by Save the Dunes,” said Kevin Cornett.

I attended the Garden Walk for the first time myself and was inspired to get out in my garden just to pull a few of the weeds that had sprung up, but my friend Janet Gast went to see what all the other gardeners are doing.

Gast said, “I love to get ideas for my own garden. I am looking forward to seeing something unique and different and maybe even see a new species of flowers. I really enjoy seeing what others do in their gardens; gardening is a joy. I love it so much; to be able to get out in my garden just brightens my day.”

There were seven stops along the Garden Walk. One very charming stop was on Froberg Road at a farmhouse that was built in 1870. The beautiful old world charm was mixed with new. The old architecture blended beautifully with Adirondack chairs, a hammock for lounging and a birdwatchers stand for the avid bird watcher looking for more than just flowers in the garden.

A garden making a difference is the City of Valparaiso Community Garden located at 3210 N. Campbell at Foundation Meadows Park. They are taking an approach to gardening with people in mind. At the Community Garden, forty plots were available to the public for personal use, including two raised beds for wheelchair access. The Master Gardeners care for the two remaining plots with all the produce going to local food pantries including Hilltop, Immanuel Lutheran and others.

Master Garden Volunteer and Fit City Representative Linda Mapes said, “There has been a drop box set up for the produce to be placed and then a volunteer comes by daily and takes it to the food pantries. Our Master Gardeners have a schedule and each week it gives each of the gardeners what their job is going to be whether it is weeding or watering.”

For those with a larger budget and a bit more flair, the gardens owned by Nancy and Roger Marshall were a must see. The 140-acre estate had shaded pathways, groomed lawns and a pond complete with a “bullfrog choir.”

There was something for everyone at the Marshall Garden, refreshments, including finger sandwiches, fruit and more were provided as the guest lingered and strolled along the luxurious pathways viewing the various plants and flowers. For all the men, Roger Marshall opened his “Garage Mahal,” his man-cave. The property is still being transformed so if you missed it, you might get the chance to stroll their amazing gardens next year, but for now you can click the link below to take a photographic tour of the seven properties and their beautiful flowers and gardens.

Click here for more photos!