Glamorous Gardens at Newfields in Indianapolis


The gardens that stand out the most in Indianapolis are at Newfields, formerly known as the Indianapolis Museum of Art. Surrounding the international renowned museum galleries are beautiful gardens with water features and over 50 acres of beautiful woods to enjoy. The Gardens and Fairbanks Park are a combination of fresh, traditional, the familiar and the exotic, something to please everyone. Here are the most glamorous gardens within the Newfields complex.

1. Formal Garden

The Formal Garden is entered through white arbors which were designed using archival photographs of the garden. In the center of the garden grows perennials, annuals, boxwood, roses, evergreens and a fountain. In the spring display, there is an assortment of tulips and daffodils which make for an outstanding planting.

2. Rapp Family Ravine Garden

This is a historical garden and also the dominant feature on the Oldfields Estate. Designed in the 1920’s by Percival Gallagher, the Ravine Garden is one-acre in size. Located behind the Lily House, the Ravine Garden descends more than 40 feet to reach the edge of the Indianapolis Water Company Central Canal. The Ravine Gardens were restored in 1998 with funding from generous donors, George and Peggy Rapp and other family members. It features three rock-rimmed pools, a cascading stream, and more than 19,000 assorted perennials, bulbs, shrubs, and trees.

3. The Allee and Border Gardens

The Allee and border gardens have a combination of small-scale intimacy and panoramic formality to the grounds of the Oldfields estate. The Allee is a sweeping lawn which is lined with 58 red oak trees. It stretches 775 feet to the front of the Lily House. It ends at a circular pool with a fountain. The Allee brings the element o stately grandeur to these gardens. Plus, on either side of Oldfields Allee are border gardens of sun and shade. These gardens offer intimate space within the everchanging view of the flowers. Known as the “gardener’s gardens,” they feature an unusual and exciting array of annuals, perennials, bulbs, shrubs, and trees.

4. Dickenson Four Seasons Garden

This garden is wheelchair accessible and is for all visitors regardless of physical limitations. To create a multisensory experience, the plantings are carefully selected. Fragrance in the garden continues from February through November.

5. The Rain Gardens

The Rain Gardens are shaped into a shallow depression that was designed to capture runoff from the parking lot which is adjacent to the Madeline F. Elder Greenhouse. Rain Gardens improve the quality of water by mimicking the natural cleaning processes used in meadows and forests. In meadows and forests, rain evaporates, is absorbed by plantes, or seeps into the soil within 24 to 48 hours after a rainfall. The Rain Garden traps fertilizers, sediment, and other source pollutants which are in the stormwater runoff and keeps them from being swept untreated into streams and rivers. Native plants were included to provide food and shelter for wildlife.

6. Sutphin Mall and Fountain

For over 30 years, The Sutphin Mall and Fountain have been an Indianapolis landmark. The bright blue of the perennial Geranium “Brookside” is underplanted beneath several of the trees. Other trees have planted under them the blue Grecian windflowers for subtle contrast. There are 17 large concrete planters around the fountain which are filled with flowering plants and colorful foliage. The sizeable curved flower bed in front of the fountain has tropical and bright annuals for display during the summer months.

7.  The Garden for Everyone

The Garden for Everyone is wheelchair accessible and lets you engage all your senses. It features fragrant plants, beautiful sculptures, and the inspiring inscription that quotes Antoine de Saint Exupery,It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye.” 

Spending the day among these gardens is a relaxing way to enjoy time with family and friends. To turn your backyard into its own glamorous oasis, visit our Indianapolis lawn care page for more information!

Feature image source: Serge Melki from Indianapolis,  CC By 2.0 


Lisa Rodriguez