The idea for a quilt garden bed was conceived when four Master Gardener Volunteers (MGVs) went on a road trip to see Elkhart, Indiana’s Quilt Gardens. Charmed and intrigued by their quilt gardens we decided a quilt garden would be a great feature for a children’s garden. While Elkhart’s quilt gardens only include quilts planted with flowers, as the idea grew a floral quilt with a real bed frame seemed a unique idea. The Sunplace Special’s Quilt Garden hopes to attract kids and spark their imagination and interest in gardening through the familiar idea of their own beds and quilts except shown through flowers.

One MGV initiated the project by contacting people and seeking approval from the Master Gardener Coordinator and the finance committee. The next step was to select a design that could be rendered easily in the confined area of the bed frame depicted through annual flowers. One of our MGVs (an avid quilter) helped incorporate the design into a quilt template. Another donated and installed the headboard and frame. She also contributed ideas about the finished product.

The design is based on the children’s garden name Sunplace Special. Several patterns were incorporated to make it work. Several patterns were needed to make the design work to depict the sun and sky as seen in Sunplace Special’s original design as seen on our sign. Our Grandma’s Flower Garden presented several challenges quilt design with fabric not to mention flowers!

Quilts were popular during the Great Depression and made from fabric scraps cut into pieces to sewn together to form patterns.  Quilting was a way to reuse fabric in a thrifty and artistic way. Working on the colorful quilts probably brought to mind a woman’s own colorful flower garden during the cold winter months.

Quilt gardens must be planted with annuals so they maintain season-long bloom and an even height. MGVs chose which flowers to use and calculated all of the flowers needed for the project adjusting them due to availability. Annuals used in our quilt garden are:

  • Sun: Marigolds ‘Janie Primrose’ and ‘Janie Deep Orange’
  • Grandma’s Garden: Wax Begonia ‘Eureka Bronze Leaf Scarlet’
  • Sky & Clouds: Ageratum ‘Hawaii Blue’ and Dusty Miller ‘Silverdust’
  • Pillows: Vinca ‘’Pacific Polka Dot’
  • Border: Rye Grass

The final display will include educational information about how the quilt pattern was modified into a garden bed as well as the number and types of plants each individual floral section of the overall pattern. Sunplace Special thanks all of the MGVs involved with brainstorming and planting the quilt. Sunplace Special also thanks Warren Greenhouse for its advice and support in securing the needed plants.

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