ELKHART — A sunny afternoon of art, food and music amongst flowers and streams greeted crowds at the fourth annual Taste of the Gardens at the Wellfield Botanic Gardens Saturday.
The Elkhart Rotary Club puts on the annual event to raise money for the Gardens. The Club launched the idea of creating the Gardens in 2002 to mark the 100th anniversary of Rotary International and continues to oversee its growth.
This year, artwork from about 120 artists was on display and for sale, while 18 restaurants offered a variety of food, according to Eric Amt, executive director of the Gardens. Six musical groups also played throughout the day.
“It’s a unique setting,” he said. “It’s just a wonderful experience to be in the gardens— lots of shade to sit and relax, lots of friends to visit.”
Elaine Swartz and Mary Jay Yoder best friends for 45 years had both been to Taste of the Gardens before, but decided this year to come together. They come “for the gardens, the art, music, food,” Swartz listed, but there’s also a social aspect to the event.
“We see all our friends out here,” she said.
As the Gardens continue to expand, there’s also always more to see, Yoder said.
Both avid gardeners, Swartz added, “we’re getting a lot of good ideas here too.”
Artists at the event showcased paintings, pottery, jewelry and other works.
This was the third year Robert Morris of Goshen had his black and white photography for sale at Taste of the Gardens. He enjoys the event, he said, but as an artist, spends the day at his booth, talking with people and selling his photos, so still hasn’t seen much more of the grounds.
Now 80 years old, Morris said Saturday’s event was his final art show.
“Next year, when I’m not selling here, maybe I’ll get out to see it,” he said.
The private park offers a variety of gardens, several intertwined with waterways. Statues, cottages, bridges and brickwork also add to the aura of the gardens, while benches throughout the gardens offer visitors a place to rest or reflect. The gardens highlight many plants more familiar to northern Indiana, along with less common area plants, like in the Southwestern Garden.
Matt Neuerburg of Edwardsburg, Mich., was at the Gardens for the first time. He and his 13-year-old daughter, Ellie, both said they were impressed with the quality of everything there.
“It’s so beautiful out here,” Ellie said. “I’m glad I came.”