The Presidential Site grounds feature an array of flower beds for visitors to enjoy. Our historic gardens are beautifully restored and masterfully cared for by nine volunteer gardeners (most of whom are Master Gardeners) who manicure and beautify the presidential estate on a weekly basis throughout the spring, summer and fall. They hail from local gardening associations, including: Garfield Park Master Gardeners, Arbutus Garden Club, Irvington Garden Club, Indianapolis Garden Club, Broad Ripple Garden Club, Hillcrest Garden Club, and Northside Master Gardeners.
Our gardens provide a visual oasis for visitors and passers-by. The Freedom Garden is a completely transformed area featuring small trees, shrubs and perennials along brick walkway to our expanded restroom facility. The Presidential Lilac Garden boasts lilac plants that were cultivated in the late 1800s, when Benjamin Harrison was U.S. President.
Visitors love to stroll the grounds while awaiting their museum tour, especially in the warmer months when the gardens are in full bloom. We encourage you to do the same! A map of the gardens will guide you through the following garden areas: Elizabeth Harrison Rose Garden, “Shades” of the Past Hosta Garden, Freedom Garden, Day Lilies on Delaware Garden, Victorian Vintage Garden, Caroline Scott Harrison Herb Garden, Arbutus Garden, Centennial Perennial Garden, Hoosier Harvest Vegetable Garden, Presidential Lilac Garden.
The Harrison Oak – sometimes called the “General Harrison” – has been designated as a historic tree by the America the Beautiful Fund. It was also designated as the Millennium Landmark Tree in Indiana. Vine & Branch, Inc. has carefully trimmed and maintained the Harrison Oak tree for many years so it can continue to welcome guests to the beautiful Presidential Site.
The Elizabeth Harrison Rose Garden located on the north side of the home offers brick pathways to walk through the period rose collection.
The Freedom Garden is located on the northwest edge of the property and is anchored by serviceberry trees, boxwood shrubs and knockout roses.
A new grape arbor was constructed to support the original Concord Grapes that were planted on the property by the Harrison family when they resided here.
The herb garden contains a variety of herbs identified by labels that tell the use of herbs in the Victorian Era.
This garden plot, established and cared for by members of the Arbutus Garden Club, is especially beautiful in the spring with a show of tulips and Carlesii Viburnum.
Growing in the vegetable garden each season are vegetables that are picked from the garden and put on the table. In Harrison’s time, the garden would have been much larger and the produce preserved by canning.
This garden can be found on the southern-most border of the property, approximately 150 feet from the house, and features plants of pink, lavender, burgundy, blue and rose colors.
These wonderful plants, appreciated by garden enthusiasts all over, cheerfully greet you at the front of the house. Upon closer inspection, the true beauty of the Grefsheim Spirea is revealed in breathtaking white flowers with bright white petals.
We are proud to serve as a satellite location for a University of Michigan historic peony project. Our gardeners have capably led this project of harvesting heritage (1800s) peony rhizomes for further beautification and authenticity of our Site gardens.
Tall hollyhocks stand stately on the property. This biennial plant flowers from mid-summer to late autumn.
Vintage peonies form a lovely background to a limestone sculpture that was commissioned and won grand prize at the 1893 Columbian Exposition.
A lonely foxglove stands erect in the herb garden. Digitalis provided by this plant acts as a cardiac tonic.
This planting of pale blue iris serves to connect the home with other gardens.
A colorful thank you to the following community members, gardeners, gardening groups and foundations for supporting gardening initiatives at the Site.