Spring and summer are always such a sweet reward in Fort Wayne, Indiana. If you get the opportunity to explore Fort Wayne in the spring, be sure to check out some of the best spots to see spring blooms.
After months of gray and snow, ice and cold, the city of Fort Wayne's park come alive. The skies are blue, the air is warmer and everywhere you go, it is full of color. From wildflowers to thoughtfully planted beds, Fort Wayne sure does know how to put on a flower show.
Here are our best picks for flower viewing this season.
Fort Wayne, Indiana Blooms
ACRES Land Trust
ACRES Land Trust is a local organization that works to maintain local working land and natural areas, and manages properties throughout northeast Indiana and has 70-plus miles of trails that are perfect spots to see wildflowers. The preserves feature bogs and creeks, trees and bushes and some of the area’s most beautiful places to see spring, well, spring. But the flowers in the lands managed by the trust are not part of manicured gardens or intentional displays. The flowers grow where they were intended as they were intended.
Wildflower displays change each week, peaking about May 1 in our area.
"It's incredible to walk these place a few times throughout the season to watch new blooms pop up," says Lettie Haver, of ACRES Land Trust.
Among the favorite areas to look include Bicentennial Woods, 340 E. Shoaff Road. At Bicentennial woods visitors can see towering oaks, hickories and sycamores, some more than 200 years old. Spring wildflowers include wild blue phlox, wild geranium, bloodroot, Jack-in-the-pulpit and a variety of trillium. Bicentennial Woods is ACRES' most popular preserve and parking is limited for preservation, so you consider a weekday visit around otherwise busy weekend peak hours (Sunday afternoon is quite a peak time to avoid).
Downtown Fort Wayne
From parks filled with colorful blooms to imposing planters with colorful annuals, the city’s center is filled with flowers. Take a casual stroll during your lunch break or make a purposeful trip to see the different flowers. Stop by Freimann Square where beds of blooms are complemented by the park’s pool and the public displays at the Fort Wayne Museum of Art.
Fort Wayne Children’s Zoo
While the keepers are busy caring for animals, the horticulture department at the Fort Wayne Children’s Zoo is busy making the grounds an inviting place for the children and the adults who bring them. Visitors are greeted with displays from the moment they arrive with flowers offering a backdrop to your photo on the Z-O-O letters. The landscape features hundreds and hundreds of annuals that are planted each year, along with the beds that complement the exhibit. In the fall, summer blooms are replaced with hearty mums as the zoo puts on its annual Halloween event.
The Fort Wayne Children’s Zoo opens for the season on April 27.
Each year, what seems like a sea of tulips blooms from the beds at Foster Park. While the entrance of the park is under construction for a city water project, there will still be opportunities to see the color show. The 255-acre park boasts a bridal glen where couples can not only say “I do” but visitors can walk along the paths to the different planting areas. If you are riding, walking or running along the greenway path, take a moment to inhale as you pass by fragrant and vibrant lilac bushes along Broadway. The tiny purple blooms almost envelop you as you make your way either toward the park or downtown.
A quick detour from the park is the city’s historic Southwood Park neighborhood. The neighborhood association takes great pride in making the area beautiful and puts on quite the display during spring and summer. The association keeps park strips full of flowers, and the homeowners participate in a friendly competition for the best yard.
Lakeside Park and Rose Garden
With 150 varieties and more than 2,000 plants, the beautiful gardens of Lakeside Park offer a perfect spring chance to stop and smell the flowers. The park is a popular spot for weddings because of its beautiful landscape, which also includes a sunken garden, architectural details and water features. A path that’s about a half-mile offers a chance for a walk in the warm weather as you look at the stunning show put on the roses.
Take your flower viewing outside of the park for a quick walk along Forest Park Boulevard. The street with stately homes and wide park strip offers a chance to see the beautifully landscaped yards, as well as the blooms in the city’s right of way.
Purdue Extension Display Gardens
Tucked away on the east side of the Purdue Fort Wayne campus is the Purdue Extension office and the display gardens that are maintained by the Purdue Master Gardeners. The gardens are lovely to peruse, with examples of native plants and dirt paths, cutting flowers and a stone structure. The Purdue Master Gardeners will host its annual plant sale on May 18, as well as a Garden Walk & Plant Sale from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. June 22. The Garden Walk is an opportunity when the public can enjoy the gardens while learning more about the plants from the master gardeners who tend them.