A Garden Affair

Our next Garden Affair dinner auction will be in June 2016.

History of A Garden Affair

Since 1998, the Horticultural Society has been the host of a biennial fund raising event with proceeds designated to support a special project on the grounds of the IMA.  The summer event has traditionally included live and silent auctions, featuring an abundance of horticultural-related items. The festive event includes food, drinks and socializing. In this special event was christened “A Garden Affair.”

A Garden Affair, Saturday, June 7, 2014

By Kevin Foy, Auction Chair

Our biennial social and fundraising event on June 7raised $25,000 to support the work of the grounds maintenance team that keeps our museum landscaping looking so tremendous.

Along with the opportunity to mingle and partake in a wonderful meal, 160 Horticultural Society members and their guests were entertained by beautiful piano music while they bid on a huge assortment of specialty plants, home and garden items and Indianapolis cultural foods and events. New this year was the ability to place silent auction bids via cell phone, which despite a few bumps for some participants, was a great success.

The highlight of our event was the after dinner presentations by Mark Zelonis, Ruth Lilly Deputy Director of Environmental and Historic Preservation, on The State of the Garden. Charles Venable, the Melvin and Bren Simon Director and CEO of the IMA, spoke about the current state of the museum.

Great thanks to all that participated, to the planning commit-tee for all its work, and to our donors and patrons for their financial support ! A special thanks to our sponsors: The Brickman Group, Bartlett Tree Experts, Davey Tree, Elements Engineering, Upland Brewery, Custom Touch Irrigation, Stone Center of Indiana, Tiffany Lawn and Landscape Supply, Treeo, Vine and Branchand YATS. We couldn’t have done it without you. A very special thanks to our devoted supporter and premier sponsor, Mark M. Holeman, Inc. Landscape Architects and Contractors.

Garden Affair June,  2012, By David Gorden

The tables ringing the Deer Zink Events Pavilion were overflowing with auction items—plants, gift certificates, themed baskets, garden supplies, etc. Trees and potted shrubs were lined up outside. Attendees of A Garden Affair on June 3 aggressively placed their bids. The outcome: The Horticultural Society’s biennial fund raising dinner and auction raised more than $28,000. Due to the generous and enthusiastic support of sponsors, donors, bidders and attendees, this amount will help enable the Society to further its mission of supporting the gardens and grounds of the IMA by funding special projects and needs.

The Horticultural Society is fortunate to partner with the dedicated and knowledgeable horticulture staff of the Museum. They work hard and take great pride in what they do. For them and their efforts, all who appreciate the jewel that is the IMA’s gardens and grounds are grateful. The result of their work is highly visible. Every visitor to the Museum is a witness to it.

What is not so visible however, is the physical base out of which they operate. Tucked into the northeast corner of the museum grounds against Michigan Road is the Horticulture maintenance facility. It is badly in need of improvements and reorganization. Changes are needed that would allow the horticulture staff to work with greater efficiency, be more productive, and perhaps add a little more comfort to their work day.

Recognizing this need and the fact that funding for such is probably fairly low on the priority list of general Museum projects, the Board of the Horticultural Society identified this project as the beneficiary of this year’s A Garden Affair. We look forward to the planning process and implementation and especially seeing the impact the improvements have on the operations of the horticulture staff we so respect.

Special thanks go to the Corporate Sponsors of A Garden Affair: The Brickman Group, Monarch Beverage, Bartlett Tree Experts, Mosquito Squad, Indiana Living Green Magazine, Upland Brewing Company, Treeo, Stone Center of Indiana, Yats, Tiffany Lawn and Garden Supply and in particular, Mark M. Holeman, Inc. – Landscape Architects and Contractors, who again was the premier sponsor of the event.

Projects supported


Celebrating its 40th anniversary, the Horticultural Society’s “A Garden Affair” raises $28,000 to help fund renovation of the museum’s horticulture maintenance facility.


Construction of the 100 Acres causeway bridge (named “Blake’s Bridge,” after 100 Acres landscape architect Ed Blake).

The Horticultural Society’s biennial fund-raising dinner and auction is named “A Garden Affair,” and raises $25,000 to offset costs of water management at 100 Acres.


Renovation of the pool at the end of the Oldfields allee.

The Horticultural Society Fellowship, which funds a summer intern, is renamed the Dr. Gilbert S. Daniels Horticultural Society Fellowship, in recognition of Gil’s many years of support of the Society, including 16 years as editor of its newsletter.

Funds raised at the Horticultural Society Auction Benefit pay for renovation of the pool and at the end of the Oldfields allee.


Lightning protection for the stateliest of IMA trees. Funds raised at the Horticultural Society Auction Benefit pay for lightning protection for the stateliest of IMA trees.


Plans for renewal of the Four Seasons Garden adjacent to the Lily Playhouse.


Purchase of Diana Robing statue that graces the path toward the Ravine Garden at Oldfields. It is a replica of the original that once stood there.

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