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Signs of Spring

Popular garden tour
returns to Madison, Ind.

The biennial event features five
private gardens this year

(May 2017) – In mid-May, visitors will be able to explore five beautiful private gardens within Madison, Ind.’s National Historic Landmark District during “Madison in Bloom,” set for May 13-14 and May 20-21. This will be the 27th year for the event, according to John Nyberg, executive director of the Jefferson County Historical Society, which sponsors the event.



• May 13-14 and May 20-21 in Madison, Ind.
• Tour hours: 10-4 Saturdays; noon - 4 p.m. Sundays
• Tour Headquarters at the Jefferson County History Center, 615 W. First St., Madison, Ind.
• Tour Highlights: Tour five private and one public house museum garden in the National Historic Landmark District. Hospitality Stops located along the way.
• Tickets: $20 and children under 12 free. Available at the Lanier-Madison Visitors Center, 601 W. First St. or the Jefferson County Historical Society, tour headquarters.

• Information: (812) 265-2335 or visit: www.MadisoninBloom.com.

All of the private gardens on the tour are located within less than one mile of one another on East and West Main Street this year. The tour also includes the garden at the Jeremiah Sullivan House, a Historic Madison Inc.-owned museum one block south of Main Street. Times for the event are 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturdays, and noon to 4 p.m. Sundays. Tickets are $20 and are good for both weekends. Children under 12 are free.
“Madison in Bloom is a fundraising event for the Historical Society,” Nyberg said. He said he hopes for a good turnout because the event helps the whole community.
“People come from Illinois, Ohio, Kentucky and Indiana. They spend money as they go to shops, restaurants and hotels.” As a result, the Historical Society has increased its marketing for the biannual event. “We have really tried to step it up.”
Nyberg said he hopes for about 1,200 people at the tour.
“This year, we are giving away native trees from the State Nursery,” Nyberg said. “There will be four garden spots where ticket holders can go to pick out their trees.”
Until recently, there was an air of secrecy about the sites of this year’s garden tour, Nyberg said, in order to give the homeowners a chance to work on their gardens. “They have been working so diligently,” he said. “We didn’t want to have people peeking in over their shoulders.”
Private gardens on the tour include:
• Larry and Pam Newhouse, 416 E. Main St.;
• Ray and Vicki Black, 834 W. Main St.;
• Charles and Cynthia McKay, 808 W. Main St.;
• Brandon and Sheri Taylor, 509 W. Main St.
• John and Linda Davis, 415 W. Main St.
• The tour also includes the Jeremiah Sullivan House owned by Historic Madison, Inc., 304 W. Second St.

Photo by Alice Jane Smith

Cindi McKay of Madison, Ind., is pictured with her dog, T.J., on her porch next to a miniature garden of succulents she planted in her grandmother’s wash pan.

The McKays have been on the garden tour in the past. When Cindi retired from King’s Daughters’ Hospital not quite two years ago, she thought she might try to do it again. Not only was she true to her word about the garden tour, she also agreed to be on the Christmas Tour of Homes this year. The garden is “a lot of work,” she admits, adding that her husband reminds her “it is not a competition.”
Still, “I want it to look the best it can be.”
The McKays have lived at 808 W. Main St. since 1988. Their home was built in the 1850s. They like to use their garden as an entertaining area during warm weather. They have a covered porch, where they will hang pieces of stained glass by Madison artist Rhonda Deeg. The bricks used in the fence and walkways were acquired when the St. Mary’s Catholic School was demolished. “One good thing about the demolition was that the bricks are spread all over town,” Cindi said.
In the back patio, the McKays have put in a fish pond surrounded by a large Japanese Maple Tree and a tall old Magnolia Tree. Ferns, cora bells and liriope also surround the fish pond.
“It is such a peaceful area,” Cindi said. “My grandmother gardened, and I’ve always liked flowers.”

Photo by Don Ward

Larry and Pam Newhouse will show off their garden during the upcoming Madison in Bloom. They live at 416 E. Main St., Madison. Their garden is unique in that it features five Edelweiss plants, which grow in the mountains of Switzerland.

The McKays have changed the yard somewhat since buying the house 29 years ago. Cindi fell in love with the house when she served as a tour guide there once during a Christmas Tour. The McKays had been looking for a home but had not found one they really like. On a suggestion from their real estate agent, the owners of 808 W. Main St. was approached and agreed to sell them the house.
Since then, they have planted many trees and bushes. A rose of Sharon tree borders the side back yard, along with peonies, irises and black eyed susan. The side garden contains holly trees, a prairie fire tree, lilac tree, crepe myrtles, hydrangea bushes and knock out rose bushes. On the side street, there are crab apple coral burst trees. The front yard has a knock out rose bush, crab apple tree, potted geraniums and sweet potato vine. 

Chuck, a Certified Public Accountant, is from Madison, and Cindi is from Trimble County, Ky. They have four children.

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