What are the differences between a Botanic Garden and a city park?
Botanic gardens are living museums.
Botanic Gardens are botanically diverse, rather than simply aesthetic collections of plants that are actively curated by a professional staff. Efforts and programs are driven by a Mission which includes an emphasis on education and fostering an appreciation for the inseparable relationship between animals, plants and water. While a city park is also a valuable component in the community and may have diverse ornamental plantings cared for by staff, they are not always actively focused on enriching educational content, programming and events, or managing and improving guest experiences.
Botanic garden etiquette is also different from that of a park. Again, think of a botanic garden as ‘living museum’. Activities such as running, climbing trees, sports or sports equipment, wading in the water, swimming, boating, fishing, picnicking and similar activities are not permitted at Wellfield. There are some beautiful parks within walking distance if you’d like to use them for those activities – – just ask our staff, they can point the way.
Is there a dress code to enter the Gardens?
Sort of. We’re not a country club, but we’re not a city park, either. Think of us as a ‘living museum’ and the behaviors you might associate with that environment. Shoes and shirts are required at all times (and yes, that means pants, too!). This is as much about safety as it is about aesthetics – there can be rough (even sharp) surfaces or objects out there, good footwear is essential and a requirement for entry. If you have questions, ask.
Do tax dollars support the operations of Wellfield Botanic Gardens?
Wellfield Botanic Gardens was founded in 2005 as a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization which derives all of its operating capital, development costs and endowment from private donations, user fees, annual memberships, private grants and earned income. Wellfield Botanic Gardens receives NO government or tax-based funding of any kind.
Is picnicking allowed?
No. To expand a bit on the ‘differences between a Botanic Garden and a City Park‘ FAQ above, for the health and safety of our wildlife as well as the cleanliness of our grounds, we do not allow picnicking at Wellfield. This includes coolers, picnic blankets, picnic baskets, portable tables/chairs, shade tents, barbecue grills, etc, – – you know, the stuff used to have a picnic. That said, we do have special events in which food may be purchased from permitted vendors or brought in, such as our Groovin’ in the Gardens Summer Concert Series, in which we have additional staff, volunteers, and additional receptacles for waste/recycling, and facility rental events that utilize catering, but during general admission hours, picnicking is not permitted. Visitors Cottage Staff are happy to provide directions to nearby city parks (there are several great areas within walking distance) which provide picnic tables, etc. We understand this may cause some inconvenience but appreciate our guests’ understanding of our situation and policies.
Can I jog in the Gardens?
No. As a living museum, we serve a diverse audience, many of whom come to Wellfield to enjoy the peace and serenity of the beautiful surroundings. There are wonderful parks in adjacent neighborhoods great for jogging; we can help you find one if you’d like to run or jog for exercise. However, we do offer ‘calmer’ forms of exercise and relaxation, like yoga – – check out our Yoga in the Gardens program here.
Can I ride my bike through the Gardens?
No. We are a pedestrian-only botanic garden. We do encourage riding bicycles TO the Gardens for a visit; there is a bike rack located conveniently in the parking lot just outside our Visitors Cottage.
Can I bring my dog to Wellfield?
The ability to purchase an annual dog permit (valid for general admission) is a benefit of membership at Wellfield. As a current member, you may purchase a dog permit good for one year along with your membership. For more details see our membership page. PLEASE NOTE dogs are not allowed at special/ticketed events including, but not limited to, Groovin’ in the Gardens Summer Concert Series, Taste of the Gardens, Mother’s Day Brunch, Scarecrow Picnic, Monsters in the Garden, Wellfield Winter Wonderland Holiday Lights.
Can I get married or use the Gardens for a special event?
Of course! We’re a great place for that – – see our Event Rentals Page for details.
What is the relationship between the city of Elkhart and Wellfield Botanic Gardens?
The land that Wellfield Botanic Gardens sits upon is owned by the City of Elkhart and the site is still an active well site for the city’s water (in fact, nearly 70% of Elkhart’s drinking water comes from the well field!). Wellfield Botanic Gardens leases the property for the purposes of operating a not-for-profit botanic garden. Wellfield’s administrative offices are currently housed in the old Public Works Facility, located adjacent the Gardens at 921 North Main Street. Wellfield Botanic Gardens does not receive any monetary support from the City of Elkhart and is funded entirely through private donations, user fees, annual memberships, private grants and earned income. Wellfield Botanic Gardens receives NO government or tax-based funding of any kind. Wellfield works closely with the City of Elkhart on projects that may have potential impacts on the well field and water operations to ensure that projects comply with all local, state, and federal environmental guidelines and policies.
What is the relationship between the neighborhood and Wellfield Botanic Gardens?
“Having a property close to Wellfield Botanic Gardens is an asset and a selling point. The Gardens have impacted my property with a higher property appraisal. Wellfield Botanic Gardens is a benefit to the entire community.” – Levi King, property owner
Who funded the development of Wellfield Botanic Gardens?
Starting in the spring of 2003, the Elkhart Rotary Club worked with a steering committee to study the concept of the gardens, interview landscape architects and raise $235,000 from club members to create the Master Plan for Wellfield Botanic Gardens.
How is it funded now?
Wellfield is funded through private donations, user fees, annual memberships, private grants and earned income. Wellfield is a private, 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization and receives NO tax support.
Can we spread a deceased loved one’s ashes at Wellfield Botanic Gardens?
We do not allow spreading of ashes on our property. However we are in the planning stages of a ‘Memorial Garden’, with interment of ashes being a possibility.
A current option for creating a lasting memorial for a loved one is our Commemorative Paver program; click here for more information
What kinds of fish are found in the ponds and Christiana Creek here at Wellfield Botanic Gardens?
According to the City of Elkhart Aquatic Biologist [http://www.elkhartindiana.org/aquaticbiology] there are a number of species, including:
Common Carp (non-native)
Redear Sunfish (non-native)
Yellow Bullhead Catfish
Brown Bullhead Catfish