Benton House Historic Garden

312 South Downey Avenue

A green initiative of the Irvington Garden Club

A few of the plants growing within this unique garden were in cultivation over 400 years ago; whereas, others were introduced to gardeners in the 1700’s. Most, however, date to the 1800’s. All are fitting companions to the historic Benton House (1873) and each, if plants could talk, could tell us stories of intrigue, folklore, plant explorers who traveled the globe, their medicinal uses and, for some, their religious significance.
Within the garden are significant numbers of iris, daylily, hosta, daffodil, and other genus commonly found growing in gardens prior to year 1900.
Garden Club 32016 BentonHouse2

The garden’s “fernery”, adjacent to Ohmer Avenue, is home to several Indiana native ferns including the evergreen Christmas fern (Polystichum acrostichoides), cinnamon fern (Osmunda cinnamomea), and the leathery like fronds of the ostrich fern (Matteuccia struthlopteris).  Additionally, the site displays many of the garden’s species hosta which are native to Asia and especially Japan.  Several of the earliest are: H. tibea (1830’s), H. sieboldiana (1830), H. verticosta (1790), H. plantagenia (1784), a very fragrant night blooming species, and the rare in the wild, H. nigrescens.

Last year saw the addition of Hosta aequinoctiiantha, the small leafed H. gracililma, H. nakaiana, and H. minor which has purple-red dots on its petioles.

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