Gardens & Nature Area

Browse our gardens and Nature Area and visit the gardens to relax and unwind. You may even want to put your gardening skills to work for Minnetrista as a volunteer.

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Small Changes, Big Impact

Minnetrista Permanent Green Roof Exhibit

The Minnetrista Center Building is host to three green roof systems—two installed in 2008 which were the first green roofs in Muncie and one more recently in 2013. Explore Minnetrista’s role in energy and storm water management and discover how you can live sustainably in the interactive exhibit Small Changes, Big Impact.

Small Changes, Big Impact is sponsored by Vectren and Muncie Sanitary District.

The Tree Gathering Space

Location: River overlook across from the Mary Lincoln Home
This area provides a peaceful location to observe the river inhabitants. The overlook features plenty of seating for a peaceful afternoon lunch and a permanent binocular to view wildlife.

Backyard Garden (Former Children’s Gardens, renovated in 2012)

Location: Backyard and surrounding gardens of L. L. Ball home.

Wander through the L. L. Ball backyard gardens to discover colorful flowers, a quaint lily pond that’s home to Minnetrista’s goldfish family, and numerous nooks that are ideal for relaxing, enjoying a picnic, or getting caught up in a good book. The front garden space of the home is landscaped to be reminiscent of the plantings that existed when Lucius Ball’s family resided in the home.

Colonnade Garden

Location: Bed East of the L. L. Ball House Parking lot
Sit and relax in a peaceful escape amidst limestone columns draped in wisteria, intricate mosaics, and capitals set in lush, shade-loving perennial plantings. The columns and capitals are artifacts from the Minnetrista House after it burned.

Oakhurst Gardens

Location: Oakhurst Home (G. A. Ball Home)
Oakhurst, built in 1894, was the home of George, Frances, and Elisabeth Ball. This home was named Oakhurst to reflect its oak grove surroundings. Some garden features have survived one hundred plus years to remain much like they were when the family lived here. Please stay on the paths while visiting these gardens.

Courtyard Garden

Location: Surrounding the back porch at G. A. Ball Home
This shaded garden is overflowing with ferns and native ephemerals like trilliums, mayapples, Virginia bluebells, and celadine poppies. Ephemerals grow, store nutrients, and flower during the early spring before the leaves emerge on the trees, and then go dormant during the summer months. The path and stream that meanders through the courtyard was restored during the 1991 reconstruction and was original to the property.

Sunken Garden

Location: Right side of Oakhurst Dr.
The Sunken Garden contains a rock wall garden. Along the top of the rock walls you find a shady haven to woodland plants such as lungwort, epimedium, geranium, and ferns.

Formal Garden

Location: To the right of Oakhurst
The Formal Garden is a curved garden bed filled with perennials, shrubs, and annuals for all-season color. This garden is a popular spot for weddings. During renovation of this garden, Aunt Emma’s Path was discovered and raised from decades of debris and now provides the southern access to the Formal Garden.

Oakhurst Woodland

Location: Throughout Oakhurst Gardens, the naturalized parts of the garden
The woodland is filled with plants native to Indiana and Europe. It is a carpet of blue scilla in the spring following the yellow clusters of winter aconite. Spring transforms this garden from winter brown into a lush woodland. Check out Elisabeth Ball’s Doll House adjacent to the Courtyard Garden. Continue on the garden path and you will come to the Discovery Cabin. Stop by the front desk of the Minnetrista Center Building to arrange a guided tour of the gardens.

The Fiddlehead Gathering Space

Location: South of the Greensward between the Minnetrista Boulevard and the White River
Relax on a bench and take in perennials planted in mass around Heritage Birch and Quaking Aspen trees.

Greensward (est.1994/95)

Location: Across from the Catalyst sculpture
This grassy area is a favorite for visitors wanting a sunny location to picnic.

The Leaf Gathering Space

Location: South of the Museum building along the Greenway
Take a refreshing drink from the water fountain while enjoying the small-scale rain garden that captures storm water from the surrounding sidewalks before it heads to the White River.

Rose Garden (est. 2000, David Austin bed replanted 2005)

Location: Tucked in against south side of The Center building
Hybrid tea roses surround the Gazebo. Along the limestone arbor is another rose bed planted with David Austin or English roses.

Rain Garden

Location: East Lawn
The Rain Garden uses its 6,200 square feet to capture storm water. It is designed to hold water for up to two days, allowing it to slowly filter back into the soil. Native perennials thriving in this natural area are tolerant of the fluctuating water conditions.

Wishing Well Gardens (est. 2000)

Location: Surrounds wishing well sculpture overlooking the East Lawn
Originally designed by the Delaware County Master Gardeners. The Wishing Well Gardens include:

Culinary Herb Garden (est. Spring 2005)

Location: In front of Orchard Courtyard brick wall
Culinary herbs are considered to be the parts of plants that are used to season foods.

Nature Area (est. 1999–2004)

Location: Across St. Joseph St. from the Orchard Shop
The Nature Area at Minnetrista features three representations of Indiana native habitats. A tall grass prairie; a man made pond, with water naturally filtered by a series of swales; and a woodland area, featuring more than nine varieties of Indiana trees combine to encourage wildlife to frequent the Nature Area. *Special Note: The Nature Area has rugged terrain and hills. Visit the Minnetrista Center Building to schedule a cart ride through this area.

Appeal to the Great Spirit

Location: Corner of Walnut Street and Granville Avenue
Features a bronze equestrian monument, sculpted in 1929, by Cyrus Dallin. This memorial statue was presented to the City of Muncie by Mrs. Bertha C. Ball in tribute to her husband, Edmund Burke Ball, who died in 1925. This monument proudly serves as the symbolic trademark of the City of Muncie. Minnetrista horticulture and the Delaware County Master Gardeners help to maintain this city park.