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Fernwood Nature Preserve rededicates Beikmann Herb Garden

Published 11:57pm Thursday, July 19, 2012

Past Fernwood director Stan Beikmann was honored Sunday for his vision in designing the iconic herb garden during a rededication ceremony.

The rededication celebrated recent renovations to the herb garden, which was designed by Beikmann in the late 1980s while he was serving as Fernwood’s executive director.

More than 50 people gathered in the circular herb garden with its English rock dovecote to hear Fernwood executive director Carol Line talk about what the Stan Beikmann Herb and Sensory Garden has meant to Fernwood over the years, and to acknowledge the people who supported its renovation.

“I would like to begin by recognizing Stan Beikmann, Fernwood’s director from 1975 to 1993, and the creator of this special garden,” Line said. “Stan and his family gave generously to make this garden possible and also contributed greatly to the renovation that we are acknowledging and celebrating today.

“I also wish to thank the numerous other donors, many of whom are here today, who contributed to the initial development of this garden and to the recent renovation.

“Thank you all for appreciating the importance of this iconic treasure at Fernwood.”
Line presented Beikmann with a framed herb garden photo taken by Fernwood member and Stevensville photographer, Phil DeVore. The spring photo features pink and white dogwoods in bloom on either side of the dovecote, which is the most popular garden wedding location at Fernwood and the most photographed area of the garden. Front Street Framery in Buchanan donated the mat, frame, and framing of the photo.

Suzie Chase-Lumley, chairwoman of the Michiana Unit of the Herb Society of America, spoke about the unit’s role in the maintenance of the Herb Garden.

“It is a privilege and honor to be a part of this beautiful garden,” Lumley said. She said the Herb Society holds an annual high tea at Fernwood and the group donates the proceeds to Fernwood.

Beikmann addressed his three families that were present — his immediate family, his Fernwood family and his family at Andrews University, where he currently is the assistant professor of horticulture and landscape design — and he thanked all of his families for their support.

Many of Beikmann’s students from Andrews University attended the ceremony.

In a historical perspective following the rededication ceremony, Beikmann shared his inspiration for the design of the garden. He wanted to see an herb garden at Fernwood but to improve on the design of Fernwood’s founder, Kay Boydston.

“It was hard to teach in the old herb garden,” he said. “I envisioned a circular teaching area that would make it easier to pass herbs for visitors to pinch, sniff and taste. The honeycomb pattern for the shrubs came from a comforter on my bed as a child, with the Grandmother’s Garden quilt design. And my grandfather had a dovecote to keep doves.

“The rocks for the dovecote and wall came from an old barn foundation.”

“I wonder if you had an idea of just how popular a destination this spot at Fernwood would become?” Line asked of Beikmann. “The dovecote is hands-down the most photographed area at Fernwood throughout the seasons, and the favored spot for weddings and photography.

“This garden is beautiful and educational and key to Fernwood’s financial health.”

Beikmann capped the reception by presenting Line with a beautiful hosta — a recent introduction that he developed. Hosta “Fragrant Blue Ribbons” will have a prominent spot in Fernwood’s hosta collection.

Fernwood Botanical Garden and Nature Preserve is located at 13988 Range Line Rd., Niles.

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