Visiting Genevieve Green Gardens – Bloomington IL

Visit The Genevieve Green Gardens in Bloomington IL

Genevieve Green Gardens Bloomington IL by FlowerChick.comAfter visiting a friend’s wedding in central Illinois, we stopped the following morning at the Genevieve Green Gardens in Bloomington.  What a delightful place!  Easy to navigate by foot, just follow the paved pathways around the grounds and take in the distinct garden areas nestled in the 6.5 acre setting.

A Peaceful Retreat

The Genevieve Green Gardens are a peaceful retreat created in honor of Visiting Genevieve Green Gardens BloomingtonGenevieve Carlock Green by her husband, the late Bruce V. Green.  The garden celebrates the seasons of Central Illinois and bloom times were carefully planned to celebrate our four distinct seasons in the Midwest.

On this lovely setting sits the Ewing Cultural Center, a majestic Channel-Norman style mansion located on the Sunset Hill estate of the late Hazle Buck Ewing. This beautiful manor (called the “Castle” by locals), is rich in local history, elegantly preserved and provides a scenic backdrop for weddings, concerts, the annual Illinois Shakespeare Festival and other events throughout the year.

Ewing Manor History …

Davis and Hazle Buck Ewing built Ewing Manor in 1928-29. The couple lived in influential circles. Davis was a cousin of Adlai Ewing Stevenson, an Illinois governor and Presidential candidate. Hazle was an heir to the Wrigley Chewing Gum family.

The gardens were created by the same famous landscape architect (Jens Jensen) who also designed Springfield’s Lincoln Memorial Gardens.  Besides strolling the gardens, you can tour the inside of the manor with much of the home’s original furnishings intact. Hazle bequeathed Ewing Manor and the surrounding grounds to the ISU Foundation.

Explore the Themed Gardens

Along the pathway around the estate are several different themed gardens including a Compass Garden, Woodland Garden, the Moriyama Japanese Garden, a Shakespeare-themed Garden, and South Lawn Garden.

When we visited the roses were beginning to bloom, hearty hostas lined the paths, and the lawn appeared lushly green from all of the Spring rains.

The small, but well-tended Japanese Garden was a gift from Asahikawa, Bloomington-Normal’s sister city in Japan, and the Bloomington-Normal Sister Cities Committee.  It offers all the elements of a traditional Japanese garden: water, stones, bridge, lantern and plants.

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Parking for Ewing Manor and Genevieve Green Gardens is conveniently located across the street at St. John’s Church parking lot.  The property is still owned by the Illinois State University Foundation.

The Genevieve Green Gardens are free and open to the public every day from 8:00 a.m. until dark.  Be mindful that pets are not allowed on the grounds and the property is a smoke-free environment. For more info, visit the Genevieve Green Garden site

A Little About the Bloomington-Normal Area …

Visiting Genevieve Green Gardens BloomingtonLocated in central Illinois about 1.5 hours from Chicago, the twin cities of Bloomington-Normal are perhaps best known for two landmarks headquartered there. First, it’s the home of State Farm Insurance, which has a huge presence here. The area is also home to Illinois State University, one of the largest public universities in the state …

Getting around the Bloomington-Normal area is pretty easy. Three large interstates intersect the cities, I-55, I-39 and I-74. Interstate 55 is probably the most traversed as it’s the primary route between Chicago and Springfield, the state capital …

Some Bloomington-Normal Favorites

Beer Nuts – Did you know Bloomington-Normal is the home to this iconic snack item? The entire Beer Nuts product line is produced here at their factory just off Washington Avenue …

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Beer Nuts Company Store Bloomington IL by FlowerChick.com

Try the Snack Mix … Yum!

Stop in to visit the Beer Nuts outlet store, where you can pick up all their snack items, bar decor, gifts, apparel, and a whole bunch more. You can’t physically tour the production factory due to safety concerns, but there’s a fun video playing on demand in the outlet store which shows the entire process …

Insider Tip: Right next door to the Beer Nuts factory is a great co-op grocery store, Green Top Grocery. The emphasis here is on the natural and organic, but there’s an ample selection for every taste and budget. Green Top Grocery is open to the public and you’ll find an impressive variety of fresh deli items, local products, and farm fresh produce. A fun place to shop!

College Hills Meat Shop: This family owned butcher shop has been serving the area community since 1984. It’s located on College Avenue just a block west of Business 55 (the old Route 66) …

College Hills Meat Market by FlowerChick.com

  The Hot Italian Sausage is Delicious!

Step inside and you’ll find all types of fresh meat cuts, deli items, soups, marinades, sauces, and everything you need for your next meal. The shop offers weekly specials and house made sausages (the hot Italian sausage is fantastic!).

If you’re not exactly sure how to cook any of their meats, the College Hills Meat Shop website has a helpful Recipes & Tips tab that details cooking instructions and other useful information …

This shop has an excellent reputation as the best butcher shop in the area and we can see why!

How To Get There …

I-74 connects Peoria, IL with Indianapolis, IN while I-39 is a primary north – south route through Illinois. Reaching Genevieve Green Gardens is fairly simple … exit I-55 at Route 150 and head east. Locally Route 150 is known as Locust Street – simply take Locust Street until it dead ends at Towanda Avenue. Turn left and you’ll see the Ewing Cultural Center and Genevieve Green Gardens about six blocks ahead on your left …

Illinois State University Horticulture Center

Some Of The Beautifully Done Displays At The ISU Horticultural Center

Visit The Illinois State University Horticulture Center

On our recent visit to the area, we stopped at the impressive Illinois State University Horticulture Center in Normal. The Center is located on Raab Road, north of the University Golf Course, and across the street from Heartland Community College.

Established in 2005, the Illinois State University (ISU) Horticulture Center serves students, faculty, and the local community, providing an inspiring and artful location to learn about and enjoy plants and nature. The Center encompasses 18 acres, including several formal teaching and display gardens, a Children’s Garden, restored prairie area, research and vegetable production plots, and an outdoor classroom.

Flower Chick was delighted to stop here and take in this amazing feast for the senses! It’s so well done between the flower and foliage combinations, vibrancy of color, types of plants featured, clever plot ideas, and overall layout. Creativity abounds in the various theme gardens … you’ll see some of the highlights in the slideshow below:

The Veggie Garden was thriving and jam packed with helpful takeaways for your own gardens. Great usage of raised bed planters and annuals (marigolds, zinnias, and sunflowers) to add pops of color and draw in beneficial insects. I spotted tomatoes, several root crops, cabbage, kale and more merrily growing in this space.

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Veggie Garden at ISU Horticulture Center by FlowerChick.com

The Children’s Garden provides families the chance to reconnect with nature, and unplug from the electronic world. All ages … especially the young of heart will enjoy this creative, brightly colored and engaging area. Very well done!

Children's Garden at ISU Horticulture Center by FlowerChick.com

We visited the week after their annual Autumnal Festival (mid-September) and the roses, perennials, and annuals were all blooming with vigor. Everywhere we looked pulsated with lively, joyful hues. Flower Chick loves orange flowers … especially orange geraniums, and was thrilled to see them used in the garden beds.

Spice Up Your Garden With Some Orange Accents … View The Possibilities Here

If you are near this area, you must stop and visit the ISU Horticulture Center. It’s very well-tended and bursting with inventive displays!

Colorful Mix of Perennials and Annuals at ISU Horticulture Center by FlowerChick.com

Visiting Genevieve Green Gardens & The ISU Horticulture Center

We hope you found this post about the Genevieve Green Gardens, The Illinois State University Horticulture Center, and the Bloomington-Normal, IL area interesting and helpful!  Let us know your thoughts and what you like about the area by visiting our contact page