The Quilt Gardens of Elkhart Indiana

As I was scrolling along on social media, an advertisement appeared. Something along the lines of, visit the Quilt Gardens of Elkhart, Indiana celebrating their 15th year! What? Why haven’t I ever heard of these? I’ve been quilting for over 20 years, and they are only 4 ½ hours from my house! I had to check them out and see what I was missing!

My husband, Dave, said he would be my chauffer and personal assistant for the trip. I couldn’t have done it without him! Sometimes “technical issues” arise due to “user” (me) error. Dave solved several problems I encountered, but he also enjoyed looking at all the things to see along the trail too! Before I continue with the details, let me say it was a really nice trip that most people would enjoy. There is so much to see and do that planning a week there would be easy. We stayed three nights. That gave us two full days, but I still felt rushed to fit in everything. Quilters should put this on their “bucket list”! There is still time this year to visit! The Quilt Garden tour runs through September 15, 2022.

The Heritage Trail

Upon arriving we went straight to the Elkhart County Visitors Center, and I talked with Cindy. She was so nice and very knowledgeable about the Quilt Gardens and The Heritage Trail. She showed me around the center to view the many quilts they have hanging on the walls. They are for sale and made by local artisans. They exchange the quilts out and move them around to keep the center decorated. It’s such a nice touch!

She began by telling me about The Heritage Trail. The trail was started to bring people off the highways and down into the local towns and businesses. She gave us a CD for the car. As you drive it guides you with the history and sights to stop at along the way. The Heritage trail was selected among the 100 Places to See in Your Lifetime by the Editors of Life. Along this trail you will find the quilt gardens. It also travels through the local Amish communities.

Which one is the sculpture?

The Quilt Garden Tour

The gardens are celebrating their 15th anniversary and they are calling it an “Epic Art Adventure”. Along with the 17 gardens and 25 hand painted murals, they have included 23 life like bronze sculptures by world-renowned sculptor Seward Johnson. They can be seen at all the gardens. Others are placed throughout the towns! If you want to see the sculptures, then you must get there this year because they are only on display for the 15th anniversary. I really enjoyed these! The sculptures are life-size and are seen doing everyday activities. From a distance they looked so real! We saw one of a man washing a restaurant window, two ladies talking on a bench, two men playing a game along the sidewalk, and a mariachi band just to name a few! Very fascinating! They have also included some local artists to display their art, which you will find scattered in and around the trail.

Me being silly, but they are so life-like!

The quilt gardens are created through a juried process. This means there is an application. Those wanting to participate in creating a garden must submit their design for a block and what plants, flowers, or foliage they intend to use. A committee then selects the winners and therefore every year is different. They must weed, water, and make sure their gardens look nice. This includes millions of blooms, hundreds of volunteers, and thousands of hours!

Before you begin your tour, sign up for the Quilt Gardens Passport by scanning the QR code, with your phone, at any location. If you check in at the 31 locations, there is a gift bag waiting for you at the visitor center. We spent one day driving and checking into the 31 locations, because I wanted to make sure we got to see all of them and we did! On our second full day, we went back through the towns and enjoyed some shopping! If you have the time, visit the town, shop, and see the gardens at the same time to avoid backtracking! Doing this would take three or four days at a peaceful trek.

Yes, I got some shopping in!

Final Thoughts

Those of you who like quilting, flowers, and art will enjoy this event. It’s free and the only experience of its kind in the world! Click on this, Elkhart County Visitors Center, to view their website. It has great information and pictures! It’s also very easy to navigate around the site. Let me know if you have any questions or decide to take the Quilt Garden Tour and what your thoughts are in the comments.

Probably my favorite one!

Always Find Time to Sew,

9 thoughts on “The Quilt Gardens of Elkhart Indiana”

  1. What a place to visit. Hard to believe that the gardens are designed to look like quilts. I definately will spread the word around for travelers who visit our store. Quilt Gardens in Elkhart, Indiana

  2. Woah! These have to be so much work to get ready. Beautiful works of art. Glad you had a wonderful trip!

  3. Thanks for coming out to experience Quilt Gardens along the Heritage Trail and sharing your experience with others through your blog! We’re always proud to be a part of the program and love it when our staff/volunteers’ efforts make a positive impression on those who come for a Visit! And we just LOVE our “Monet – Our Visiting Artist” sculpture here for the 15th Anniversary of the quilt gardens. Seward Johnson’s sculptures are awesome and such a great compliment to the quilt gardens and murals around the county. -Eric Garton, executive director, Wellfield Botanic Gardens.

    1. I should have mentioned the Wellfield Botanic Gardens because we did visit them. We spent one morning wandering all along the paths. It was very beautiful and peaceful. I would recommend visiting them.

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