Fort Wayne Indiana: Hoosier State Garden Travel


Lakeside Park Fort Wayne IN

Welcome to another exclusive in our ongoing “Visiting Midwest Gardens” series. We’ll take you along on a three day excursion to Fort Wayne, Indiana, a vibrant city of 180,000 residents in northeast Indiana, just 20 miles west of the Indiana-Ohio border …

Known for its rich history and friendly people, Fort Wayne is home to several “can’t miss” botanical destinations. The city sits right in between Gardening Zones 5 and 6, which gives botanical sites and residents a wide variety of planting options …

Fort Wayne is also known for its culinary scene, so we’ll spotlight some of the city’s interesting independent restaurants and refreshment destinations. It’s a full and fun three days, so let’s discover Fort Wayne!

Day One – Arriving In Fort Wayne: A Conservatory, Sausage Rolls, and the Spring Street Area

Fort Wayne is Indiana’s second largest city and is easily reached via Interstate 69. I-69 cuts across Indiana linking the metro area to Indianapolis, two hours southwest. Flower Chick arrived on Route 33 from Elkhart and the beautiful Wellfield Botanic Gardens, about 90 minutes northwest …

Did You Know? Fort Wayne is named after a Revolutionary era military icon, “Mad” Anthony Wayne, known for his fiery demeanor. Wayne established the first fort in the present day downtown area …

First stop in town? A visit to Fort Wayne’s most prominent botanical destination, the Foellinger-Freimann Botanical Conservatory in the heart of downtown …

Foellinger Freimann Botanical Conservatory Fort Wayne

The Lush Tropical House At The Foellinger Freimann Conservatory in Fort Wayne

If you haven’t visited Fort Wayne in a while (it had been 20 years between visits for us), you’ll notice all the new development in the Three Rivers confluence area. The beautiful Headwaters Park is downtown’s crown jewel, with outdoor activities galore taking place. Adjacent is The Landing, the most historic area of Fort Wayne, completely redeveloped and bustling with vibrant new shops, restaurants, and foot traffic …

Midwest Gardener’s Handbook: All You Need to Know to Plan, Plant & Maintain a Midwest Garden

Visiting the Foellinger-Freimann Botanical Conservatory

A beautiful oasis for plants from around the world, the Conservatory is one of Fort Wayne’s top attractions and most revered public spaces. Reminiscent of larger urban conservatories like Chicago’s Garfield Park Conservatory  and Milwaukee’s Mitchell Domes , Fort Wayne’s Conservatory features three distinct plant life areas, along with outdoor gardens which come alive in the spring and summer …

Foellinger Freimann Botanical Conservatory Fort Wayne

An Exquisite Green Clipper Butterfly Spotted At The “Color In Motion” Live Butterfly Exhibit

The Botanical Conservatory’s Showcase House was humming and strumming with their seasonal “Color In Motion” butterfly exhibit in mid-June. Knowledgable garden staff were on hand to answer any questions and pace the entrants so it didn’t become too crowded for the sake of visitors and the winged stars of the show.

Flower Chick counted at least 14 different varieties of exotic butterflies flying and landing for a rest around the indoor garden.

The Swift Guide to Butterflies of North America:  An Invaluable Tool For Field Identification

Butterfly Exhibit at Foellinger-Freimann Botanical Conservatory

This Young Guest Was Truly A Butterfly Magnet!

Did You Know? The Foellinger – Freimann Conservatory is part of the American Horticulture Society’s (AHS) reciprocal program. If your travels take you to botanical gardens, an annual membership is one of the best deals out there. Present your membership card and get free admission to over 300 public gardens in the United States …

Foellinger Freimann Botanical Conservatory Fort Wayne

This Dazzling & Fragrant Plumeria Caught Flower Chick’s Eye In The Tropical House

After the Showcase Garden, make sure to wander through the Tropical Garden where orchids and palms thrive in the shadows of a cascading waterfall, then retreat to the quiet beauty of the Desert Garden.

Foellinger-Freimann Botanical Conservatory

Majestic Palms On Display At The Tropical House

You’ll discover many different types of tropical trees, shrubs and flowers in this balmy paradise.  Some of the exotic inhabitants include: Bird-of-Paradise, Lobster Claw Plant, Cinnamon Tree, Cacao Tree, Crown-of-Thorns, Red Powderpuff Tree and a thriving cycad collections.

Add A Touch Of The Tropics To Your Home Decor With These Houseplants …

Lobster Claw Plant at Foellinger-Freimann Botanical Conservatory

The Intriguing & Colorful Lobster Claw Plant A.K.A. Heliconia Rostrata

The Desert House was undergoing some renovations when I visited. Some of the hardy succulents in this exhibit comprised of  Prickly Pear, Agave, Jojoba, Mountain Yucca, Organ Pipe Cactus, Desert Hackberry and Century Plant.

Desert House at Foellinger-Freimann Botanical Conservatory

An Assortment Of Succulents In The Desert House Exhibit

Wells Street and Spring Street

Just two minutes north of downtown lies a small commercial strip of local businesses along Wells Street and to the west off Wells, Spring Street. Restaurants, shops, and service businesses abound – it’s a great area for shopping, happy hour, and a taste of Fort Wayne’s local flavor …

Never passing up an opportunity to visit a local bookstore, Flower Chick popped into Hyde Brothers Booksellers and the charming Honey Plant Garden Center right next door …

Hyde Bros Bookstore Fort Wayne

Hyde Brothers Booksellers is one of the largest bookstores in Indiana with over 150,000 titles. They maintain a good selection in hundreds of categories, and specialize in: History, Literature, Nature, Indiana, SF/Fantasy, Mystery, Horror, Sports, Religion, and the Social Sciences.

Flower Chick picked up a mystery book by a local author – as she likes to do in her travels. “Pribble Dives In” by Sarah Hume. I just finished the book at this writing, it is well written with humor and interesting, oddball characters.  Recommended if you like mysteries that keep you guessing!

Fort Wayne Hyde Brothers Books

After the bookstore, a visit to Honey Plant Garden Center was in order. A super cute store with a great variety of healthy houseplants for sale at good prices. You can find everything from African Violets to ZZ Plants here.  They also carry some attractive pots and other goodies for houseplant success.

Honey Plants Fort Wayne

Lovely Selection Of Houseplants & Accessories At Honey Plants

Two blocks north of the bookstore and garden center is Spring Street … head west (left) about six blocks to the intersection with Sherman Boulevard. You’ll encounter a cluster of independent small businesses that’ll further immerse you into Fort Wayne from the local’s perspective …

3 Rivers Coop Fort Wayne

Three Rivers Coop Offers Natural, Organic and Local Food Options

First is the well known Three Rivers Grocery Co-op, a community focused grocer and deli. Here you’ll find all sorts of local specialties, including freshly baked goods from downtown’s GK Provisions, Indiana made cheese, local honey, and more. Next door is the historic Green Frog Inn, a Fort Wayne favorite dating back to 1933 that’s an ideal stop for an afternoon libation.

Green Frog Inn Fort Wayne

This Sign At The Green Frog Inn Made Us Chuckle!

Across the street is the locally beloved Lexy’s Pizza, which has served the Fort Wayne community since 1957. It’s pretty much carry out only at this location, so order one of their famous sausage rolls to go (more about sausage rolls below).

Lexy's Pizza Fort Wayne

Finally, just down the block to the west is Fortlandia Brewing Company, a local nano brewery serving small batch brews to Fort Wayne beer lovers. We particularly liked the Udderly Awesome milk stout, a creamy dark beer with notes of chocolate, and the easy drinking Bee’s Knees, brewed with a touch of local honey and perfect on a warm late spring afternoon …

Fortlandia Brewing Company Fort Wayne IN

Introducing A Fort Wayne Culinary Staple: The Sausage Roll

Flower Chick loves sampling the local cuisine, and in The Summit city, nothing is more local than the famous Sausage Roll …

An Italian type specialty, the sausage roll is similar to a turnover or Cornish pasty. The ingredients of a sausage roll (Italian sausage, pizza sauce, and mozzarella cheese) are stuffed into a pizza dough outer shell and baked to a golden brown. Shaped kind of like a small torpedo or football, you’ll find sausage rolls in pizza joints and casual restaurants all around Fort Wayne.

Sausage Roll Fort Wayne IN

Fort Wayne Is Famous For Their Tasty Sausage Rolls

The sausage roll is especially prominent at the historic Redwood Inn, located on Main Street just west of the downtown area. This beloved neighborhood hangout has been known as Redwood Inn since 1962, but its history as a tavern / restaurant / gathering spot dates back to the 1890’s …

Redwood Inn Fort Wayne

Heading back into downtown, it’s easy to walk a bit and discover all the sites. Fort Wayne’s downtown boasts 99 blocks of shops, businesses, eateries, and green spaces. It’s best explored on foot!

In addition to gardens, Flower Chick always seeks out a local winery. In downtown Fort Wayne on Harrison Street, you’ll find the local tasting room for nearby Country Heritage Winery. Stop here and pick up a few bottles of your favorite style … we like their Heritage White and Heritage Rose, both produced from estate grown (Indiana) grapes …

Country Heritage Wines Fort Wayne IN

Though we kept these two bottles to enjoy ourselves upon returning home, a gift of local wine is the perfect thank you to the friendly soul who waters your plants when you’re away on vacation. Introduce your friends to different types of wine from the United States … educational and fun!

Did You Know? Indiana is quite a prolific wine producing state. There are well over 100 wineries and tasting rooms across the state. In fact, Indiana is one of the Top 20 wine producing states in the United States …

A Nightcap Atop The Bradley Hotel

If you’re looking for a place to enjoy a nightcap, you won’t go wrong at Birdie’s, an open air balcony bar at the top of the Bradley Hotel. Lively yet refined on weekend evenings, Birdie’s offers inventive cuisine and libations, all with great views of downtown Fort Wayne from up above …

Birdies Fort Wayne by FlowerChick

Birdie’s Rooftop Offers Tasty Food & Drinks Plus Excellent People Watching

The place is named after Vera Bradley matriarch Barbara Baekgaard, a bird lover whose nickname is “Birdie”. True to form, Birdie’s features an aviary inspired decor and a menu of small plates, creative cocktails, and local microbrews on draught. Open at 5 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday, Birdie’s has some of the best people watching in town!

Shop Vera Bradley Purses, Totes and Backpacks Here – Lots of New Patterns

Day Two: Fort Wayne’s Parks, Three Rivers, and Union Street Market

Among its many appealing characteristics, Fort Wayne is definitely a walking city. And that’s part of what’s on tap for Day Two of our exploration, starting with a visit to the Lindenwood Nature Preserve on the city’s west side …

Lindenwood Nature Preserve

A cheery late spring Sunday morning is a perfect time to explore nature and walk off some of Saturday’s excess. In Fort Wayne, there’s no better destination than the peaceful Lindenwood Nature Preserve, a 145 acre expanse less than 10 minutes from downtown…

Lindenwood Nature Center Fort Wayne

On the way to Lindenwood from the downtown area, you’ll pass this striking historic home just off Main Street near the St. Mary’s River. This is the childhood home of prominent 1930’s / early 1940’s actress Carole Lombard, who was born in Fort Wayne in 1908 as Jane Alice Peters …

She lived here with her family for the first six years of her life, relocating with her mother to southern California where she eventually embarked on a high profile movie career. She starred in many popular films of the era and married well known movie star Clark Gable.

Carole Lombard Home Fort Wayne

Actress Carole Lombard’s Childhood Home In Fort Wayne

Sadly, Carole Lombard lost her life in a 1942 plane crash returning to southern California from a War Bond Drive in her native Indiana. Her childhood home here in Fort Wayne is a state historic site and the nearby bridge over the St. Mary’s River is named the Carole Lombard Memorial Bridge in her honor …

Lindenwood Nature Preserve Fort Wayne

Lindenwood Is A Peaceful Place To Unplug & Go For A Hike

We hiked the Trail of Reflection at Lindenwood Nature Preserve which is the longest (one mile) and most used trail in the preserve. Featuring boardwalks and crushed limestone gravel … it’s easy to navigate.

Lindenwood Nature Preserve Fort Wayne

The Tranquil Pond & Observation Area At Lindenwood Nature Preserve

This preserve is a wonderful place to exercise, relax, and soak up the sights and sounds of nature. We came across deer, rabbits, chipmunks, geese, ducks and a beaver on our stroll through the woods.

Heading back to the downtown area, we crossed over the Maumee River to visit historic Lakeside Park and its renowned rose garden, which dates back to the early 1920’s …

Lakeside Park Rose Garden Fort Wayne Indiana …

Located just east of downtown, Lakeside Park was originally developed in 1908. The park is one of the most photogenic sites in Fort Wayne due to the spectacular rose garden and sunken gardens, a Lakeside Park feature for over a century …

Lakeside Park Fort Wayne

Pristinely Kept Lakeside Park and Rose Garden – Truly A Feast For The Senses

Stretch your legs a bit by strolling the half mile path around the lagoon and through the grounds … beautiful sights abound at every vantage point.

You definitely need to stop and smell the roses here.  Featured is an impressive collection of well-cared for roses of all types: hybrid teas, shrub roses, floribundas, grandifloras, climbing and groundcover roses.  Simply paradise for a rosarian or anyone who appreciates the exquisite beauty of the queen of flowers.

Lakeside Rose Garden Fort Wayne

A Picture Perfect Floribunda Rose Blooming Happily At Lakeside Park

The rose garden holds more than 2,000 rose plants with at least 150 types of roses present. This garden is so well thought out. It’s over 100 years old, but a lot of the bed lines are original and quite a few of the roses have been here more than 50 years.

Lakeside Park Fort Wayne

Take Your Time At Lakeside Park And Take In All The Beauty

The Sunken Gardens featured a colorful display of annual flowers in shades of purple, pink, coral and white.  Canna lilies, petunias, calibrachoa, and sweet allysum were some of the posies spotted.

Lakeside Park Sunken Gardens Fort Wayne

Vibrant Thriving Beds Of Annuals In The Sunken Gardens

Don’t miss Lakeside Park if you are visiting Fort Wayne in the summer months. It’s one of the prettiest rose gardens I’ve seen in my travels. No wonder it’s such a popular spot for weddings and other special events.

Easy Care Roses To Grow In Zones 5 & 6 – Click Here For The Hardy Options

Lakeside Park Fort Wayne

A Lovely Spot To Sit In The Shade At Lakeside Park

Freimann Square and Fort Wayne’s Japanese Garden …

Freimann Square, located on Main Street downtown, is Fort Wayne’s most popular gathering spaces for peaceful lunch hour reflection. Relax amidst flowering trees and flowers bursting with color through the spring and summer.

Fort Wayne IN

Fort Wayne Namesake “Mad” Anthony Wayne’s Statue In Freimann Square

Just a half block east is the Japanese Friendship Garden, celebrating the relationship between Fort Wayne and its sister city in Japan, Takaoka. Dating back to 1980, this small garden is tucked next to the Fort Wayne Art Museum at the Art United Center.

Japanese Friendship Garden Fort Wayne IN

The Friendship Garden Was A Gift From Fort Wayne’s Sister City, Takaoka, Japan

Visitors can enjoy Japanese trees, shrubs, lanterns, sculptures and boulders as they stroll along the walking path. A serene spot in the city.

Fort Wayne’s Three Rivers Distillery

Our original plan was to visit the lively Three Rivers Distilling Company for Saturday happy hour, but as they say, best laid plans …

So, a Sunday late morning visit it was! The distillery is a few blocks south of the Conservatory on Wallace Street. It’s open for brunch on both Saturdays and Sundays, but we stopped in for an eye opener …

Flower Chick is a fan of Old-Fashioneds so she had the delectable one pictured below made with their Third Time Bourbon – a wheated bourbon made from Indiana-grown corn and wheat, aged to be intentionally mellow with hints of vanilla oak with a sweet caramel finish. Delicious!

The Old-Fashioned: The Story of the World’s First Classic Cocktail, with Recipes and Lore

Three Rivers Distillery Fort Wayne IN

You Can’t Go Wrong With The Spirits Or Food At Three Rivers Distilling Company

Another Fort Wayne Culinary Tradition: Fort Wayne Coney Island

Fort Wayne Coney Island has long been one of downtown Fort Wayne’s favorite lunch spots, dating back to 1914. Located just off the corner of Main and Harrison (across from the Bradley Hotel), it’s famous for serving Coney dogs, which are flat top grilled hot dogs served with chopped raw onions and a special “Coney sauce”, which is similar to chili …

Coney Island Fort Wayne

A Tasty Lunch Of A Coney And Coke Hit The Spot

Coney Dog places are especially popular in southern Michigan, northern Indiana, and northwest Ohio. They’re typically independently owned and boast a loyal local following. Fort Wayne Coney Island is bustling from open to close and is the perfect choice for a casual, inexpensive lunch …

Classic Restaurants of Fort Wayne – Click Here To Explore

Exploring Fort Wayne’s Three Rivers From The Water …

When you visit this area, be sure to carve out time for a narrated boat ride on Fort Wayne’s three rivers. Boarding from Promenade Park downtown, a Sweet Breeze boat ride is an informative and fun way to experience the city …

Sweet Breeze Boat Tour Fort Wayne

Take in The Sights With A Narrated Boat Ride on The Sweet Breeze

Did You Know? Fort Wayne’s nickname is The Summit City. The nickname harkens back to the area’s canal days – the city’s location was the highest point of the canal route …

Relax and enjoy a guided cruise on the Fort Wayne Rivers. Sweet Breeze is an authentic canal boat replica offering 45, 60  and 90 minute tour lengths.

Tree Top Trail Provides Views Of The Downtown Skyline

Tree Top Trail Provides Views Of The Downtown Skyline

Discovering The “Local” Side of Fort Wayne …

With a good chunk of the afternoon ahead of us, it’s time to check out a new Fort Wayne attraction as well as a visit to a few local favorites …

Did You Know? One of Fort Wayne’s most distinctive geographical features is the confluence of three separate rivers in the heart of the city. The Maumee, St. Mary’s, and St. Joseph’s Rivers all meet here in Fort Wayne …

Promenade Park and Skyline Fort Wayne

View From The Sweet Breeze Of Promenade Park And Fort Wayne Skyline

From the Promenade Park boat dock, head west a block to Fairfield (at the traffic circle) and turn left one block to Main. A right here and over two blocks takes you to Broadway Avenue. This lively thoroughfare is one of the city’s most interesting strips, and it’s home to our next four stops …

Fort Wayne Through Time – An Informative Journey Through Fort Wayne’s Past

The Success Story of the Union Street Market

South on Broadway at the railroad crossing, you’ll arrive at the Union Street Market, Fort Wayne’s new public market. The market was established on the former General Electric campus, which at one time employed a large percentage of the city’s workforce …

Renovation and retrofitting the GE buildings took place in the mid 2010’s via a cooperative public / private venture. The end result is a welcoming public market and gathering space which features local food vendors, restaurants, and production businesses. It’s great place to spend an hour or two while visiting Fort Wayne!

Unions Street Market Fort Wayne IN

Inside The USM You’ll Find Local Coffee, Amish Pastries, A BBQ Vendor & More

Among the roughly two dozen vendors are the B & B Meat and Seafood Markets, a local honey vendor called Bee Great, and the Local Apple Cart selling infused fresh fruit treats from locally farmed fruit. If you’re hungry or thirsty, there’s no shortage of options to satisfy your taste buds …

We were so pleased to see the investment in this thriving public market and the obvious public enthusiasm for the project! There’s ample parking for the Union Street Market, which is open seven days a week …

Continuing south on Broadway, you’ll find two more Fort Wayne originals, so let’s explore …

Zesto and Mad Anthony

On a warm Sunday afternoon, there’s nothing better than a soft serve ice cream treat, and in Fort Wayne, there’s no better place than Zesto. Serving the community for close to 60 years, Zesto is a small family owned operation with a few locations scattered around town. This outpost on Broadway is the original …

Zesto Fort Wayne

Stop For Some Delicious Ice Cream At Fort Wayne Favorite Zesto

Zesto’s menu features anything you’d want for a casual snack or ice cream treat – choose from hot dogs, BBQ beef sandwiches, and other easy on the wallet items. Or skip right to dessert with sundaes, soft serve cones, slushies, shakes, and more. You haven’t experienced Fort Wayne until you’ve visited Zesto!

Heading back toward downtown on Broadway, just off the corner of Broadway and Taylor is Fort Wayne’s first brewpub,Mad Anthony Brewing Company. In business since 1998, this was the first place we stopped on our initial visit to the city over two decades ago.

Mad Anthony's Fort Wayne

The Bar At Mad Anthony’s Original Brewpub In Fort Wayne 

Mad Anthony Brewing, named in honor of the city’s founder “Mad” Anthony Wayne, also has a few locations around town. They boast a pub menu for lunch and dinner and a full line of house brewed beers and ales, which you’ll also find packaged to go at area liquor stores. Our favorite is the Olde Fort Blonde Lager, an easy drinker that’s one of Mad Anthony’s flagship brews …

Hoosier Beer: Tapping into Indiana Brewing History – See It Here

A Cold One at The Brass Rail …

Flower Chick’s tour guide / husband loves stopping in historic local taverns whenever traveling. Heading back up Broadway to the heart of downtown, he had his eye on The Brass Rail, one of the city’s most historic taverns. A noted live music spot, The Brass Rail has been around so long that no one seems to know the specifics. A little research tells us the bar dates back to the late 1940’s in its current incarnation, and probably longer than that.

The Brass Rail Fort Wayne

History aside, The Brass Rail is (during the day time), a quiet place to slake your thirst. Later on, the crowd gets younger and livelier as the scene morphs toward live music from local bands with an edge, like the creatively named “The Beat Creeps” (love that name!). Our knowledgeable bartender Caty, who introduced herself as “Katy with a “C”, gave us some great local tips and her insider take on several of our Fort Wayne agenda items. Thanks Caty!

At her suggestion, dinner led us to Henry’s, a Fort Wayne mainstay since 1959. Featuring a beautiful back bar and comfortable ambiance with a nod to history, Henry’s can be found on the western edge of downtown, just a couple blocks west of the Bradley Hotel. If you want a great steak in Fort Wayne, this is the place!

Henry's Fort Wayne

Cool Back Bar & Lighting Plus Good Food At Henry’s Restaurant

Day Three: Master Gardener Display Gardens, Laycoff’s, and the Indiana Tree Walk

Sometimes, traveling makes you pivot and go to Plan B. That’s what happened today, as we planned a breakfast visit to the Lincoln Tower Soda Fountain. Located on the first floor of the historic Lincoln Bank Tower in the heart of downtown, Lincoln Tower Soda Fountain is typically open 8-3 Monday through Friday. Alas, we visited on a bank holiday 🙁  So, Plan B took us to GK Provisions, a combination baked goods / coffee vendor / specialty grocer just a block west. A popular place with the downtown working crowd, GK Provisions is open for a quick bite and coffee seven days a week …

GK Provisions Fort Wayne

Delicious Artisan Baked Goods Featured At GK Provisions

Did You Know? The Lincoln Bank Tower, located on Berry Street in downtown Fort Wayne, is 312 feet tall. Completed in 1930, it was the tallest building in the city for 40 years …

Allen County Master Gardeners Dsiplay Gardens

The Purdue Extension Master Gardener Display Gardens Of Allen County

The Allen County Master Gardeners Association – Display Gardens in Fort Wayne is a unique outdoor learning space used to educate about gardening, horticulture, & the environment.  It provides inspired design concepts showcasing plants well-suited to this region.

The interesting & clever gardens are free to roam and gather ideas for your own gardens.  There are winding paths throughout the 22 garden areas and seating is available to allow you to immerse in the beauty of the gardens.

The Extension Master Gardener Display Gardens

The Everlasting Cutting Garden Featured Larkspur, Yarrow, Hollyhocks, Allium and More

All the specimens are labeled with the common and scientific name so you can easily request the beautiful botanical at your local garden center or online nursery.

The design, planting, maintenance, and management of these gardens are a labor of love provided solely by a large group of devoted Extension Master Gardener volunteers since 1989.

The Extension Master Gardener Display Gardens

The Scenic Woodland Garden Leading To The Community Garden Space

There are gardens for everyone here depending on your interests:  A Sensory Garden, Rain Garden, Pollinator Garden, Cottage Garden, Rock Xeriscape Garden, Ornamental Grass Display, Vegetable Garden, Fruit Trees, Trial Gardens and much more.

The Extension Master Gardener Display Gardens

Helping Out The Pollinators With Native Plants Such As Milkweed, Bergamot, Solidago and Echinacea

The Indiana Tree Walk …

Take a walk along the St. Joseph River as it flows through the campus of Purdue Fort Wayne and learn about native trees of Indiana. The Indiana Tree Walk is located at the southwestern end of Parking Lot 10, which is just east of the St. Joseph River and is connected to the Rivergreenway park.

Helpful Signs Mark The Trees Along The Walk

Helpful Signs Mark Each Tree Along The Walk So You Can Identify The Species

The walk is currently a 1.25 mile (one-way) lighted, asphalt trail, and features more than 100 tree species native to Indiana. The trail provides an opportunity to see live specimens of native plants, wildlife, and other interesting organisms in an urban, easily accessible, natural setting.

Some of the tree families included on the walk include:  Pines, Walnuts, Hawthorns, Oaks, Magnolias, Maples, Cottonwoods, Elms, Beeches, Locusts and Poplars.  You can download a map before your visit to locate a favorite type of tree, or discover new species.

Native Tree Walk Fort Wayne

Enjoy The Scenery & Learn About Native Trees On The Indiana Tree Walk

The river walk also sustains the ecology of the area surrounding the St. Joseph River. Root systems of trees planted next to the river have helped prevent soil erosion and stabilized the riverbanks. In addition, the trail showcases and preserves trees that have been rapidly disappearing in urban settings.

Trees of Indiana Field Guide – Easy To Use With Thumb Tabs By Leaf Type (2023 Edition)

Native Trees of Indiana

Lovely Views Along The Indiana Tree Walk On The Purdue Fort Wayne Campus

Lunch at Laycoff’s …

Located about 10 minutes north of downtown, Laycoff’s is a casual tavern style lunch and dinner spot that has served Fort Wayne for decades. Depending who you talk to around town, Laycoff’s is regularly credited as the originator of the famous sausage roll. Fittingly, it’s the most popular item on their menu …

Laycoff's Fort Wayne

Delicious Food & Drink At Laycoff’s In Fort Wayne

We sidled in for lunch after working up a hunger and thirst from the Display Gardens and the Indiana Tree Walk. Welcoming and comfortable, Laycoff’s offers a variety of Italian style sandwiches, pizza, burgers, salads, and sausage rolls (veggie rolls too!). Share a sausage roll, have a cold Yuengling on tap, relax, and enjoy!

Yuengling Brewery Traditional Lager Beer Pint Glass – The Perfect Vessel For A Cold One

The Foster Park Area …

Heading south of downtown, you’ll find one of Fort Wayne’s best loved public gathering spaces, historic Foster Park

This 255 acre green space has quite a history. Foster Park dates back well over 100 years, to 1912. The footprint of this expansive park sits on land donated to the community by the Foster family, who owned large swaths of farmland along the St. Mary’s River, bordering the park to the west …

Foster Park Fort Wayne

Pretty Foster Park In Fort Wayne Peppered With Colorful Garden Plots

Over the ensuing years, Foster Park gradually expanded to its current size. The grounds are home to a municipal golf course, picnic pavilions, trails, tennis & pickleball courts, a dog park, community gardens and as you might expect, expansive floral areas …

Foster Park Fort Wayne IN

Cheery Garden Full Of Annuals With Zinnias, Lilies, Lantana, Marigolds and Salvia In Foster Park

Foster Park boasts a beautiful floral display each season. Visit it throughout the spring, summer, and fall to delight in a multitude of colors and flora species.

Bridal Glen at Foster Park

The Bridal Glen At Foster Park Featuring Arbors And White Flowers

The Bridal Glen is a lovely spot for a ceremony or photo shoot.  The emphasis here is on white flowers such as geraniums, begonias, hostas with white accents, hydrangeas, and Queen Anne’s lace … reminscent of a moon garden.

Click Here For Flower Chick’s Tips For Designing A Moon Garden In Your Yard

Foster Park Fort Wayne

The Perennial Garden At Foster Park Includes Daylilies, Ornamental Grasses, Shrub Roses & More

Tucked away on Bluffton Road directly across the river from Foster Park is Curly’s Village Inn, a Fort Wayne standby that’s been here since 1969. Founded by local basketball legend Paul “Curly” Armstrong and his wife Mary, it’s located across the river from Foster Park. The outdoor deck is a prime attraction in summer and there’s a great view of the river and the park beyond …

Curly's Village Inn Fort Wayne

Grab A Drink & Enjoy The View From Curly’s Deck In Fort Wayne

The Oldest Bar in Fort Wayne …

It wouldn’t be a “Visiting Midwest Gardens” feature without a stop at the oldest bar in town, and in Fort Wayne, that place is The Oyster Bar on Calhoun Street, several blocks south of the Conservatory.

The Oyster Bar Fort Wayne

Love The Retro Sign At The Oyster Bar!

Founded in 1888, The Oyster Bar pre dates any other bar in the city. It’s arguably Fort Wayne’s favorite fine dining and special occasion place and yes, they do serve a wide variety of oysters! They feature a raw oyster special on Mondays, and the day we visited, Malpeque oysters were available. This delectable oyster, from the cold clean waters off Prince Edward Island in Canada, were one of the culinary highlights of our visit …

Dinner At The Deck …

Closing out Flower Chick’s three day visit to Fort Wayne was a relaxing dinner at one of the riverfront’s most popular seasonal spots, The Deck. Located adjacent to the three river confluence, The Deck combines approachable lunch and dinner fare with a fun atmosphere as boaters and kayakers drift by on the rivers below …

The Deck Fort Wayne

We Enjoyed A Fruity Rum Drink & A Refreshing Beer At The Deck

Open in the warmer months, The Deck is best defined as Fort Wayne’s summer gathering place. We enjoyed a fantastic meal of filet mignon sliders and a fried chicken Cobb salad, along with a few summery libations …

The view here is top notch!

The Deck Fort Wayne

The Popular Deck Offers Great Views Of The River

Summary: Fort Wayne’s Gardens and Green Spaces

If you’re a fan of beautiful public gardens (and even if you’re not), Fort Wayne is an appealing and convenient destination from just about anywhere in the Midwest. From here, you’re about two hours from Indianapolis and just 20 miles to both the Ohio and Michigan borders, to the east and north respectively …

Allen County Master Gardeners Display Gardens

Garner Lots Of Ideas From The Allen County Master Gardeners Display Gardens

A welcoming, historic yet up to date city, Fort Wayne is becoming well known as one of the best places to live in the United States, with low unemployment, safe streets, and walkable neighborhoods. Boasting quite a foodie scene, Fort Wayne offers a multicultural bevy of restaurants ranging from traditional to cutting edge. No matter your culinary preferences, you’ll find a match here …

Orange Hibiscus at Foellinger Freimann Botanical Conservatory

An Exotic Orange Hibiscus Spotted At The Foellinger Freimann Freimann Botanical Conservatory

We thoroughly enjoyed our three days here in The Summit City and while we covered a lot of ground, it only set the stage for more exploration on a subsequent visit. From here, it’s off to Indianapolis, two hours southwest on Interstate 69 …

We hope you enjoyed coming along to Fort Wayne and that this overview inspires you to visit too! We invite you to explore all our “Visiting Midwest Gardens” travelogues, a few of which you’ll find linked below …

Thanks again for joining us!

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