Taltree Arboretum and Gardens
|Taltree Arboretum and Gardens|
|Location||450 West 100 North|
|Nearest city||Valparaiso, Indiana|
|Area||360 acres/1.5 km²|
|Open||7 days a week
The Taltree Arboretum and Gardens is a nature preserve near Valparaiso, Indiana in the United States. The preserve has the largest collection of oak trees in Indiana and an award winning garden railway.
In 1990, Damien Gabis, and a group of other environmentally concerned citizens, purchased 72 acres of land in order to preserve the prairie land of the region. They built a house on the property and Gabis and others lived onsite. Eventually, the property expanded to 360 acres and in 1998 Gabis founded Taltree. The original site had only 15 trees on site. Over time, Gabis and his colleagues planted 20,000 trees. Taltree has a performance stage called The Sidetrack which features educational lectures and musical performances. In 2011, Taltree was named one of ten arboreta in the United States that "may well leave you speechless" by MSN. In 2014, the preserve hosted its first OAKtoberfest, a one-day beer festival that showcased beer and cider aged in oak barrels and paired with food.
Arboretum and gardens
The total land for the arboretum and gardens is 360 acres. The property includes a prairie, woodlands, wetlands, savanna, and plant collections and display gardens. The arboretum has oak trees and an exhibit of oak trees from around the world. It is the largest collection of oak trees in Indiana. The display gardens include viburnums, conifer and Japanese maples. Native plants found in Indiana are on display in the Joseph E. Meyer Memorial Pavilion Garden and in the Native Plant Garden. Roses and flowering trees are on display in the Audrey and Leonard Hitz Family Rose Garden.
There is a garden railway onsite, which comprises a 2.5 acre G scale model railroad intertwined with plants. First installed in 2011, there are eight different railroads, totaling 3,000 feet of track, within the garden and up to nine different dioramas which tell the story of Railroads in the United States. The garden railway has over 500 plants varietals and 850 tons of limestone. The garden has a 14-foot elevation change and over 3,500 plants. Visitors are able to view the installation of the railroad each spring by Taltree staff.
The preserve is operated by volunteers and maintained with private donations.
- Mathie, Frank. "Trees, Trains at Taltree Arboretum, Gardens in Valparaiso". ABC 7 Eyewitness News. Retrieved 4 April 2015.
- Alan McPherson (August 2009). Botanic Gems Indiana Public Gardens: Including Greater Chicago, Dayton, Cincinnati & Louisville. AuthorHouse. p. 5. ISBN 978-1-4343-7772-2.
- "Taltree Arboretum & Gardens raising funds through NIPSCO matched giving". The Times. Retrieved 4 April 2015.
- Phyllis Thomas (19 June 2012). Indiana Off the Beaten Path: A Guide to Unique Places. Rowman & Littlefield. p. 111. ISBN 978-0-7627-8605-3.
- "Taltree Arboretum & Gardens introduces OAKtoberfest". Michigan City News-Dispatch. Retrieved 4 April 2015.
- "Taltree Arboretum: One of the Nation's Best". Indiana Dunes for Train Enthusiasts. Offbeat Travel. Retrieved 4 April 2015.
- Casey, Beth. "Taltree Railway Gardens opens for season April 1". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 4 April 2015.
- Official website
- "Garden Railroading: How The Pros Do It–Taltree Arboretum" from Lets Talk Trains Internet Radio