Wellfield Botanic Gardens is an organization in Elkhart dedicated to promoting the inseparable relationship between water, plants and animals. To read more from its staff and volunteers, visit the gardens’ blog, Make Your Place.
“We do not inherit the earth from our ancestors; we borrow it from our children.” – Ted Perry (often ascribed to Chief Seattle)
Wellfield Botanic Gardens has come so far in such a short time; it is hard to believe that six years ago the English Cottage Garden was the only completed garden. Since then the Annual Garden, the Water Celebration Garden and the Conversation Garden, to name a few, have been dedicated. Three more gardens will receive their finishing touches and plantings this spring, and work is starting on several more gardens. We are certainly blessed to live in a very giving community, as all this work and beauty is possible due to donations from local people, not from tax dollars or government money.
While the gardens have only occupied this place for a short time, the land has been here forever. If we could go back in history 100 years, 200 years, 1,000 years or even longer, what would we have seen and experienced as we stood on this site? What would it have been like after the final glacier receded? Which animals roamed the ancient woodlands? What kind of plants would have been present? When did the Potawatomi first start living in the area? What were the first impressions of the early settlers, why did they stay?
If we could make a time lapse film of the last few hundred years, we would see huge changes in the way the land looks, the number of trees, houses, roads, people, industry, farms, etc. I wonder what changes are in store for Elkhart and this well field site over the next 10 years, 100 years and beyond. What are we creating for our children and grandchildren? What role can the gardens play in making Elkhart a better place to live?
The founders of the gardens envisaged that, "The gardens will be a place that fosters a sense of responsibility and a sense of stewardship for the natural world, a place that brings people together and draws many visitors into our community." I hope that we– the staff, volunteers and community – can work together to achieve that goal; that we will make the place we call home a great place for the future generations that will live here.
Come visit the gardens and see how you can help that dream come true …
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