GWA Indiana 2011
Aug 25th - Aug 29th, 2011

Monday, August 29
6:45 a.m. - 8:00 a.m. Breakfast & GWA Annual Business Meeting

Join us for breakfast at the Hyatt and the GWA business meeting. Hear the annual report from the Board of Directors. Also, hear about next year’s symposium plans in Tucson, Arizona!

8:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m. Westside Story Tour & Lunch

The final day of programmed scheduled tours will include a variety of sites from public to private and even retail!
The first stop is the Slow Food Garden at White River State Park which is a 6,000 sq.ft. garden located at the foot of the State Museum Lawn. The purpose of the garden is to encourage and inform the public of working an urban vegetable farm. The garden includes rare and under-represented crops on display to increase their marketability.

Slow Food Garden at White River State Park
These quotations from the Growing Places Indy blog ( ) give an excellent brief background of the garden.
“To introduce Growing Places Indy and the concept of developing the Culture of food and urban agriculture in the city of Indianapolis, our initial project is the Growing Places Indy Slow Food Garden at White River State Park. This 6,000 sq. ft. garden, located at the intersection of Washington St. and Old National Road at the foot of the State Museum Lawn, offers the visiting public the opportunity to see, read about and get hands-on experience in a working urban vegetable farm”.

“This initial garden location will be planted with: 1) heirloom, rare and endangered crop varieties that preserve agricultural and socio-cultural heritage, as well as crop biodiversity 2) specialty crops that are underrepresented in the marketplace to stimulate consumer demand and subsequently grower supply.”

Donna’s notes….we enjoyed visiting this garden and discovered some vegetables that had not been seen before, such as the red okra. They are committed to educating people about fresh food and have a wonderful spot to grow and show. Big compost bins, beds separated with great walking paths and at this time of year still full of producing plants.

Broyles Garden
Joe and Nancy Broyles bought their lovely home over 30 years ago. There were no real plantings, not even foundation plantings, other than some lily-of-the-valley. But there were many large trees. It was in fact heavily wooded to be a city lot. Even now it is wonderfully shaded despite a severe storm 15 years ago took out ten trees.

A neighbor across the street inspired Nancy to start planting. At first it was “let’s put something here or there”. Or when out they would find a plant they liked, bring it home, then find a spot for it. As plants thrived they became bolder though always keeping in mind they were limited in plant choices by the shade. Fortunately, the high canopy provides shade yet allows plenty of light for optimal plant growth. Over time the beds developed. The Broyles’ garden has a large assortment of hostas and shade plants accented with Japanese maples.

Plants get moved about in Spring based on whether they are performing in their current location (or not). The Broyles are very kind in giving a plant a full year to prove it is truly dead and indeed a couple have returned to the land of the living.

The pond with fountain was found after they bought the home when they chanced upon a stone that was part of it. Joe dug the whole thing out himself.

So enjoy a walk in the shade, take a moment to appreciate the sound of running water, or sit down and rest in the gazebo in the back garden which provides the perfect setting for viewing and enjoying Joe and Nancy’s labors that created this urban garden where quiet and solitude reside.

Next, visit the Eastman Lilly House. The Eastman Lilly House is the home of Dick Butler and Dr. Jaime Street. The gardens associated with the home have never been on a public tour! This house is significant because it is one of the first built in its neighborhood and is associated with two prominent Indianapolis figures, Dr. Joseph Eastman (an internationally known surgeon) and Josiah K. Lilly (of the pharmaceutical company Eli Lilly and Company). Altered from its original design, it is still a good example of the Colonial Revival style popular in the late 19th century.
Dick Butler and Jamie Street purchased their circa 1893, historic Eastman-Lilly Georgian revival home in 1983. At that time there were no active gardens. The Butlers were busy working professionals so, other than annuals, they paid minimal heed until the early-90’s. In 1992 the neighborhood ex¬perienced the hand of Mother Nature with the loss of over 10 very large trees, leaving por¬tions of the yard open. The gardening bug bit, and they became more serious about their landscape. Over the years a se¬ries of smaller gardens developed.

Being a predominantly shade garden in the Mid¬west, the Butlers have incorporated many hosta, over 700 cultivars, some rare and collector spe¬cies, oldies but goodies, as well as newer varieties. Near the kitchen one garden is filled with cultivars whose names are all linked, appropriately, to food. Elsewhere there is a Party Room, a Lady’s Room, a Hidden Garden, an Oriental Garden and a Victorian Garden. The whimsical Hippo Garden is making its début this summer.

The Butler garden does not rely solely on hosta but also includes a large palette of perennials for season-long interest while Japanese maples add color and tex¬ture in summer and structure in winter. A collection of antique English chimney pots and statuary are distributed throughout the grounds along with containers of annuals carefully placed to add seasonal interest. The visitor will enjoy water features strategically placed in the gardens.

Even though Dick and Jamie have been developing their lovely gardens for over 15 years, GWA is the first group to get the opportunity to tour the Butler’s garden. We are most appreciative of their generosity, an example of true Hoosier (ah, Boilermaker) Hospitality.

Avon Gardens
With five acres of display gardens and a retail shop with excellent tree, shrub, perennial, and annual selections, this stop will be one you won’t want to miss. Owner Karen Robbins designs the gardens to both inspire and educate visitors. You can actually see mature plants growing in mature gardens so you really know their full capacity to perform in a landscape. And right next to some of those mature plants will be a young new cultivar being trialed for its hardiness under the sometimes harsh Indiana growing conditions. Lunch will be served at these beautiful gardens. More information at .

Donna’s notes….this is a lovely spot to visit. First there is the garden center with space given to plants for sale, garden accessories and gifts in the gift shop. Next there is a beautiful area separate from the garden center where they have set it up for celebrations, like weddings. In fact there had been a wedding reception there the night before so we had the added pleasure of all kinds of candelabra scattered amongst the plants to enjoy as well. It is a gorgeous place for such an event, surrounded by beautiful gardens. Walking through you never know what you will see around the corner and colour and placement of plant material truly shines. Places to sit and enjoy the view are everywhere. Towards the back it slopes down to a running brook, again with lots of places to sit. Urns full of annuals in bright colours cheer you up as you stroll. Truly a lovely place with lots of parking too!

After we got back to the hotel a couple of us decided to go and visit the Indianapolis Zoo and Gardens. It was so worth the visit. You enter the conservatory first where you are greeted with many tropicals including orchids then you exit the other side out into the gardens. We were stunned. First you are greeted with a knot garden running quite a good distance down to the entrance to another garden and on either side of this knot garden are a series of design gardens on one side and a more relaxed and native garden on the other. Beautiful. There is even one of the design gardens with a train in it. Past this into the next garden of a series of ponds filled with waterlilies including the giant waterlily. Then through this to the Wedding Garden. This is a large area in a circle shape with covering on one end that can be set up for a wedding. The large grass area I expect is where the seating would go. I cannot tell you how impressed we were with the gardens here. A true jewel.

We kind of ran through the zoo and while dong this noticed how wonderful it was too with all the planting material. The exhibits where the animals were enclosed also had lots of planting material around them making the while experience one of a stroll through a magical garden where animals lived in very comfortable surroundings. Even in the heat of the day, it was nice and shaded here and you could see the red lemurs sacked out on the branches of the trees enjoying a siesta.
Totally a great experience for the whole family. This zoo and its gardens are a treat to visit.

Concurrent Sessions
1:30 p.m. - 2:30 p.m.
New Rules of Collaboration

It’s no secret that the way books are authored and published is changing. When first-time authors Susan Morrison and Rebecca Sweet teamed up, they realized the only way to meet their deadline was to create a definition of collaboration that worked for them. That meant figuring out how to divide up the work, tapping into their personal and social networks for content contributors and starting their promotional strategy before they’d even written the first chapter. Panelists: Rebecca Sweet, Harmony in the Garden and Susan Morrison, Creative Exteriors Landscape Design.

A Garden Photo Database
A lost photo, one you cannot find, is lost revenue. Catriona will review structuring a garden photo database that has the power to find photographs based on cross-referencing so important aspects of photographs are catalogued. She will demonstrate how this custom-made database makes it easy and efficient to respond effectively to photo requests from editors. Presenter: Catriona Tudor Erler, Freelance author, photographer and speaker.

Prickly Plants with Punch
Most ornamentals are grown for their flowers, but there is a subgroup of great architectural interest: plants with wicked spines. These plants may be awkward to handle and rather unfriendly to visitors, but often have stark beauty that contrasts with the lushness of other plants. The presentation will include trees, shrubs, perennials, biennials and more. Presenter: Larry Hodgson, HortiCom, Inc.

Concurrent Sessions
3:00 p.m. - 4:00 p.m.
A Self-Publishing Saga with a Happy Ending

The value of face-to-face communication in the facebook and twitter era is lost. Or is it? Two garden writers – two time zones and two generations apart - met at a GWA regional meeting two years ago. Now they have a book, a web site and a newly-launched “No GuffTM” gardening movement, shared with the whole wide world. They will discuss the recent publication of their new book. Panelists: Donna Balzer, Donna Balzer Consulting and Steven Biggs, Freelance.

Garden Blogging
Is the garden blogging path the right path for you to take toward opportunities in garden writing and speaking? Learn about the different experiences of three garden bloggers and the opportunities garden blogging created for them. They'll share how and why they started garden blogs, where this path has led them and tips for others who hope to use a blog to advance their careers. Panelists: Mary Ann Newcomer, , Carol Michel,  and Dee Nash, .

Awesome Annuals
This presentation will highlight new, cutting-edge annuals and ways to "repurpose" some old favorites in ways that will help the gardener not only be successful, but display artistic and colorful gardens. Learn how to help the gardener make wise choices in those impulse buys in the garden shop by teaching them where those plants thrive and what will keep them going all season. This presentation will also cover the top varieties and their performance under minimum maintenance standards. Also discussed will be the importance of using trials in order to make recommendations for various locations. Panelists: Barbara Wise, Southern Land Company and Pamela Bennett, Ohio State University Extension.

4:00 p.m. Coffee Break
Concurrent Sessions
4:30 p.m. - 5:30 p.m.

Evaluating Garden Products in the Organic Marketplace
Get the "certified organic" scoop straight from the source. This presentation from the Organic Materials Review Institute (OMRI) explores the criteria used to evaluate garden products and explains how the National Organic standards are developed and changed. An overview of the National Organics Standards Board structure and petition process, as well as the relationship between OMRI and the organic certification process, will be covered.
Garden Writers will also learn how to identify products for organic use and where to find accurate information to share with their audiences. The presentation will explain the US organic rules and where these products fit into the certification process. Finally, you'll see a demonstration of OMRI's Lists and free website service to find out whether a product is listed, or to learn more about allowed materials.
Presented by an Organic Materials Review Institute representative, OMRI is a nonprofit organization that is accredited under the ISO-65 international accreditation program to review products for organic use. For more information, visit: Presenter: Peggy Miars, Executive Director/CEO of Organic Materials Review Institute (OMRI)

Evidence-based Garden Information
Good garden writers want the latest plant and soil science information to pass on to their readers, but how to tell what’s science – and what’s pseudoscience? This seminar will provide nonscientists with some guidelines for evaluating articles, books, and electronic resources objectively. We’ll then use those guidelines to evaluate information on several products and practices of interest to gardeners everywhere. Presenter: Linda Chalker-Scott, Washington State University.

Behind-the-Scenes in New Plant Introductions
Every year, dozens of “new and improved” plants are put on the market offering new colors, unusual foliage, increased vigor, repeat blooming, and other improvements. In this presentation, go behind-the-scenes of the world of plant introductions from two perspectives. Presenter: Geri Laufer, Freelance.

6:00 p.m. - 9:00 p.m. Awards Reception and Banquet
The Hyatt is the perfect setting for the 2011 Garden Media Awards presentation and Honors Ceremony. Join us for an evening of networking, friendship, and celebration as we congratulate and honor our colleagues. Banquet wine sponsored by Proven Winners ColorChoice (

9:00 p.m. - 12:00 a.m. Karaoke
Come sing and dance at the final get-together.


  • New Eden
  • Kids Garden
  • Plant a Row Grow a Row