Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Wellfield Botanic Garden Spring Market

Saturday, I made my way with the youngest boy in the backpack carrier to Wellfield Botanic Gardens for the Spring Marketplace. The new visitors' center is now open, but I didn't take the time to peek inside. I've seen pictures on Facebook, though. It looks like it will be a good gathering and multipurpose site.

I needed to feed the baby when I arrived, so stopped by the Seminars tent. The presenter was talking about taking care of rhododendrons. It sounds like these are a little finicky, yet quite beautiful! I was carrying the baby around in a hiking backpack and I would say someone mentioned him/it at just about every booth I visited! They know how to reach a mother, right?

Later, I started walking through all the booths scattered throughout the blooms of the gardens. So many gorgeous wares for sale! Many are options sold by local crafters and artists! Unfortunately, I can't find my cards for the first two places. :-( And I liked them both!

These pottery pieces had many natural elements.

These bonsai trees are a true artwork, requiring skill and patience! The pots were gorgeous as well. All were done by Michiana Bonsai Study, a local club.

The walk along this path smelled divine. Flowers were in full bloom! It was great weather for the day and a beautiful backdrop for all these great businesses.

Loved this little stream running through the gardens. In my ideal world, we'd be able to splash around in it a bit, but I do understand this is a GARDEN. :-)

Elkhart County Parks had a display for the Elkhart County Historical Museum and park services. I saw a donation box for the Ox Bow Tower, too. I stopped in the Elkhart County Parks office to pay for upcoming classes and made a small donation this last week. If many people give a little, there is a matching grant that will pay the other half of the costs.

Elkhart Local Food Alliance and Rise Up Farms had free seeds and explained some initiatives they are working on. I snagged sunflower seeds. Where should we plant these? :-)

Seed to Feed was nearby and works on joint projects from time to time. What a neat concept! They are also working on teaching people how to garden on their own. Here is an article that explains what they are doing. They have fed so many with local foods from their efforts! They have several gardens in Elkhart and Goshen that are growing food for area food pantries.

This handmade goat's milk soap is from Sturgis. I bought a bag of ends and pieces for a $1. Cindy's Whimsies gave me a little extra when I mentioned I had four boys! :-) She had a poison ivy relief bar that contained jewelweed, a natural remedy for poison ivy. The two are often found growing together. I love watching the jewelweed POP! It's always surprising, even when I know to expect it. 

These unique flowers from upcycled dishes would be cute in a yard. There were so many neat options for Mother's Day and Father's Day gifts! Stems-by Design

I talked to Ruth from Indiana Native Plants and Wildflower Society (INPAWS) for a bit. I have learned so much from their Facebook group. They have a membership available for a small fee. I NEED to send the paperwork in I filled out quite some time ago. :-) I love their encouragement for native plants!

The Public Works department of Elkhart City was there with samples of the different products that people can pick up near the Elkhart Environmental Center.

The Elkhart Dahlia Society had a good presence as well. I don't know much about these beautiful flowers, but did take my two youngest over to Bonneyville Mill just a few days after I had the baby. I was getting a little stir crazy and needed a little nature fix. We loved looking at the colorful dahlias to the left of the mill. The gentleman on the right is one of the volunteers responsible for keeping this bright spot beautiful!

The ETHOS Science 2 Go bus was there as well. We love seeing them out and about. There are always neat activities related to science and good information.

I liked looking at the insects and creepy crawlies outside the bus!

Yes, I'm a science geek at heart! I was always the teacher at the school with the after school science club and very hands-on science projects in the classroom. It's great ETHOS helps provide materials to make this more approachable for teachers in Elkhart and Fairfield Community Schools.

Elkhart Environmental Center had a display about the Center and recycling.

One way to recycle is through vermicomposting! We have a worm bin in our kitchen. We feed them our kitchen scraps, like breads and fruits and veggies. They make us good natural fertilizers for our garden boxes. As we talked about vermicomposting to a woman looking at the display, she thought it sounded to hard. It really isn't, but there is a bit of a learning curve. However, there is also a new company in Elkhart that produces worm castings for plant improvement. Positive Organic Living is providing this great option for our gardens! They also happened to be at the event, so I hope she checked them out after our chat. I did! I look forward to trying their product and am glad there are options available.

I talked to Big Brothers Big Sisters, too. I hadn't realized that there can be Big Families, too. We have an extra seat in the van and having another child with us isn't very difficult. We'll have to look into the options more.

Since it was Lemonade Day, I had to get a little lemonade. It hit the spot!

The Elkhart Art League had activities to connect the gardens with art. They offer art classes, summer camps, and more!

Beautiful flowers and colors!

Dutch Maid Bakery of Goshen really took the theme of the event to heart as they had tulip cookies and other cookies with an edible picture of flowers on the front--these were really neat and would add an elegant and whimsical touch to many special occasions.

Unfortunately, my phone/camera ran out of power about this point, yet there was so much more to see!

Other places included: 
Ray of Light -- Exercise, massages, holistic health, etc.

Create-A-Landscape -- Beautiful bird feeders and cement benches. The benches can be personalized and are neat!
Confluence of Willows -- Lovely willow baskets and copper sculptures
Benedict's Nursery -- I couldn't find a website, but did find this blog post about them. They had cute small plants and fairy garden items. 
John Mishler: Kinetic Sculpture -- Great pieces of art! Love how these move. I've seen pieces here and there and have heard of what he is doing. 
Stone Ridge Landscaping -- Looked nice!
BI Bowshers Ironworks -- nice scupltures!
Premiere Aquascapes -- Nice water features. Loved these. 
Country Comfort -- more fairy things and lots of plants
Varns & Hoover Hardware -- lots of birdhouses and other items. Plus, Monica works there!
Possibility Place -- Native plants! I was excited to see them here! I had just been on their website the night before. Snagged a couple fruit producing items. 
Ten Thousand Villages -- I always enjoy their things!
Elkhart Art League -- great classes!

Did I miss anything? There was also food by several local vendors and some music as well. It was funny that someone mentioned the baby in the backpack at just about every booth. :-) I love carrying him around that way!

One thing I noticed is that many of these smaller businesses did not have much of a web presence. I have a friend that is helping small women owned business have more of a digital imprint. Support Local can help in cases like this. I know having a digital presence (for nature in my case) is one reason I started this blog.