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Notes from the Studio

End-of-Summer Reflections in the Soul-Restoring Indiana Garden that Inspired One of Heartell's Most Popular Woodblock Printed Designs


Seeing what the season has brought out into the light or made to wither and fall back again, I feel so comforted by the constancy woven through all the change. Whatever happens elsewhere, the life teeming in that patch of soil and sun and water is always there, held perfectly in balance, each petal and seed exactly where it needs to be, doing its work as part of the whole. There is something wild about blooming no matter where it happens, an impossible unfurling, defying the forces of weather and decay.
End-of-Summer Reflections in the Soul-Restoring Indiana Garden that Inspired One of Heartell's Most Popular Woodblock Printed Designs

by Rachel Kroh

2 weeks ago


Sending You Wild Blooms was our bestselling card during August and it has been one of our most popular designs since we released it. I got to visit the special place that inspired it this month, so I thought I'd share it with you!

The DeFries Calendar Garden is tucked away between corn fields in New Paris, IN. It happens to be a ten minute drive from the house on a small natural lake where my father-in-law grew up, now a retreat shared by our extended family. It's about an hour from our home in Fort Wayne and we are so lucky to be able to spend a week or weekend there a few times a year. 

The Calendar Garden was created as part of a private homestead and then donated to become part of the River Preserve County Park. There are 365 bricks arranged around a circular path, one for each day of the year.

Calendar Garden sign

A brick for each day of the year
It is filled with perennials that flower in a circle as the seasons pass, with a section for spring, summer, fall, and winter. There's a lily pond with turtles, frogs and snakes swimming in the middle.
Flowers in the calendar garden
The solstices and equinoxes are celebrated with little structures; a cozy hut with a fireplace for the winter solstice and a greenhouse for the spring equinox. The summer solstice is marked by a platform you can climb to view the whole garden from above. I know this is a garden of cultivated blooms, but there are wildflowers in the fields and woods surrounding it, and seeing them in all their glory in the context of the garden has helped me notice them in the unexpected places even more. There is something wild about blooming no matter where it happens, an impossible unfurling defying the forces of weather and decay.


Every time we visit I see different things. So much has happened in our lives since we found it and started going there. I've been there pregnant with both my boys and now with both of them awake and enjoying the colors and sounds and smells along with me. We lost my father-in-law and then my mom in the years since we first saw it, and they were both people who loved to see things growing and blooming. When I'm walking (or waddling as the case may be) around that circle and seeing what the season has brought out into the light or made to wither and fall back again, I feel so comforted by the constancy woven through all the change. Whatever happens elsewhere, the life teeming in that patch of soil and sun and water is always there, held perfectly in balance, each petal and seed exactly where it needs to be, doing its work as part of the whole. The singing of insects, the smells of earth and mulch and nectar pull me out of my worries and wondering and into my body, at home in the moment. 

I turned 40 on August 17 this month and this is how I spent it:
I felt so grateful for my health and my boys and for having a job that helps me appreciate and capture moments and places like this. Stay tuned for more garden-inspired prints coming soon!

I hope you get to visit yourself someday, but until then I will do my best to keep making prints to share the Calendar Garden's healing beauty with you. You can find our Wild Blooms design as card or a print if you are moved to share it with someone who might need a few wild blooms in their life. :)

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