Madison in Bloom
with large fish pond, colorful Koi
private gardens featured
on annual historical society tour
(May 2009) During last years Madison
in Bloom Garden Tour, Chuck and Cindy McKay found that their home became
something of an unofficial stop. As visitors were enjoying a neighbors
garden, they also paused to ask questions about flowers in the McKays
by Lela Bradshaw
holly trees, Crepe
Myrtle and Prairie Fire
crab apple to her garden.
They were looking at the fishpond and the Japanese
Maple, recalls homeowner Cindy.
This year, the couple bowed to the friendly pressure of friends, allowing
the garden of their downtown home to become one of the many normally
hidden treasures featured through Madison in Bloom.
The Madison in Bloom Garden Tour will run the weekends of May 9-10 and
May 16-17. Tour headquarters will be located at the Madison Railroad
Station, 615 W. First St. There, guests will be able to purchase tickets
and pick up a map of the gardens that are part of the event. At the
headquarters, visitors inspired by their walks will also have the chance
to pick up something special for their own gardens during the Clifty
Garden Center plant sale.
This years Madison in Bloom will also feature a special evening
of music and prose readings beginning at 5 p.m. on May 9. This event,
titled, Happy Hour in the Garden, will include musical guest
Kimm Hollis, a professor from Hanover College, on the the piano, and
readings by Thelma Mullett and Margaret Seifert. The program will take
place on the grounds of the Jefferson County Historical Society, and
community members are invited to bring out their lawn chairs and enjoy.
Donations are appreciated, and wine and hors doeuvres will be
Madison in Bloom has become a spring tradition for many area garden
enthusiasts. Joe Carr, director of the Historical Society, reports that
the tours have been taking place for about 18 years and roughly
1,000 people go through the gardens over the two weekends. We never
have the same garden two years in a row. We have people working, scouting
the gardens around downtown.
The Madison in Bloom tour offers flower lovers the chance to see gardens
not normally open to the public. Its neat, say Cindy,
a lot of them youre not going to see if youre just
walking down the street.
Not only does the garden walk offer the chance for the curious to gather
ideas for their own gardens and landscaping, but it also serves as an
important fundraiser for the Historical Society.
Bloom Garden Tour
Dates: May 9-10; May 16-17 in downtown Madison, Ind.
Hours: 10-4 Saturdays; noon-4 p.m. Sundays
Chuck and Cindy McKay, 808 W. Main St.
Rella Tower, 518 West St.
Jerry and Dottie Massie, 413 E Third St.
Iron Gate Inn (Dee Comstock), 708 E Main St.
Marlene Green, 418 E. Main St.
Douglas and Ann Grahn, 218 Walnut St.
$10. Children under 12 free. Group rates available.
Tour headquarters: Jefferson County Historical
Society, 615 W. First St.
Information: (812) 265-2335
The McKays garden contains a blend of the old and
new and will inspire guests not only to work with the plants that they
have at home, but also to be open to adding new things to an existing
layout. These peonies and iris are probably 40-50 years old,
says Chuck McKay. Theyve been here a long time.
This year, the McKays have been busy with new additions as well. Were
adding some perennials, Cindy says, We just added this year
the holly trees, the Crepe Myrtle and the Prairie Fire crab apple.
The centerpiece to the McKays garden is a lovely pond, home to
seven Koi fish. The couple reports that their seven grandchildren are
fascinated by the large, colorful fish and love to see them fed. If
you walk out to the fish pond in the summer, they will feel you through
the water and come up to to the top, Cindy says.
The McKays say they are looking forward to welcoming guests to their
garden. Our daughter is so excited about it. Shes going
to make some special flower cookies, says Cindy. The McKays, together
with tour volunteers, will be available to share information about the
plants and garden decorations. Cindy points out that the walkway from
the house to the shed is made from bricks from the old St. Marys
School. The couple agrees that some of the best advice they can give
aspiring gardeners is, Dont take it too seriously.
The couple credits their neighbors, the Hills, with giving them advice
on their plants and helping out with the roses.
Chuck adds with a laugh, A good neighbor thats
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