The outdoor gardens are known collectively as the DeHaan Tiergarten. This 3.3-acre landmark botanical attraction combines the best of gardening ideas, plant information and inspirational design. Just like the seasons, the gardens are always changing, so no two visits will ever be the same.
The Polly Horton Hix Design Garden will inspire you to create your own garden with unusual design themes. Made up of 12 diverse garden “rooms,” these themed gardens provide examples of design techniques that visitors can try at home. Explore concepts like symmetry versus asymmetry, plant form and texture, use of sculpture and whimsy as garden elements. As you admire the greenery, don’t miss the guest-operated G-scale model train
Discover plants from Indiana’s past in the Indianapolis Garden Club Heritage Garden. Here, you’ll find a mix of traditional species, like purple coneflower and hollyhock, as well as more modern hybrids of “old fashion” plant varieties, such as shasta daisy and goldenrod. All of these native species, have been part of Hoosier gardens and greenspaces for generations. Also included are some truly historic specimens, including some that were transplanted from sites like the President Benjamin Harrison Home.
Admire the intricate design and the Earth Stone sculpture. Sculpted evergreen hedges of holly, barberry and yew form the geometric patterns. Seasonal plantings of cheerful spring tulips and brightly colored summer annuals add interest and variety while bronze animal sculptures add a touch of whimsy. At the garden’s pinnacle is the 12-foot Earth Stone sculpture — the central feature of the outdoor landscape.
Take a stroll in this lovely tree-lined space. Nestled between the Design and Shade gardens, enjoy glorious garden seclusion among the low-canopy trees and outer wall of vines and shrubs. A wide variety of perennial plants provide a tapestry of colors and textures. Plus, discover hidden artistic creations among the bricks in the Allee wall.
Celebrate shade where perennials, shade trees and native wildflowers bloom. The Ruth Lilly Shade Garden provides a soothing canopy using a number of native Indiana woodland trees, including tulip tree, Ohio buckeye, blue beech, bald cypress and shingle oak. In summer, find a shady spot to sit on a stone bench while you enjoy views of perennial plants including hostas, ferns, hellebores and more.
Find a simulated prairie, with bold drifts of color intermixed with waves of tall grasses, in the Virginia B. Fairbanks Sun Garden. Abundant pollen and nectar plants, like purple coneflower, black-eyed Susans, hardy hibiscus and butterfly weed, provide beautiful scenery while also attracting bees and native butterflies. Look for the meandering stream that flows through this buzzing meadow and make time for a serene stop at the end of the Sun Garden, where playful ducks look over a water garden filled with water lilies, lotus and water hyacinth.
Learn how water can enrich a landscape design. The Allen W. Clowes Water Garden is the highlight of the spring blooming season as the beauty of thousands of brightly colored tulips and other bulbs are reflected in the rippling waters of four pools. Children also love to play and splash in the spouts of the delightful “Spitting Frogs” water feature.
Discover a picturesque setting that’s perfect for your outdoor ceremony or event at the Efroymson Wedding Garden. Bordered by a whimsical hedge maze, this lush 150-foot diameter lawn provides a beautiful backdrop filled with fragrant roses and ever-changing annual plantings, which makes it a favorite destination for exchanging vows in Indianapolis. Learn how you can host your wedding ceremony or reception in this gorgeous greenspace.
As balancing food production and saving pollinators in a complicated issue, populations of many species are in decline, but luckily home gardeners can make a big difference. At the Indianapolis Zoo, a special pollinator garden provides a diversity of nectar and pollen sources, especially favorites like milkweed for monarchs.
The Zoo has participated in city-wide pledges and pollinator counts, helping raise awareness for these important animals. As an extension of the Zoo’s wild bee and butterfly conservation efforts, honey bee hives also introduce people to bees’ connection to local environments and how they can play a role in rebuilding pollinator habitat.
Admission to White River Gardens is included with Zoo admission.