The Indianapolis Cultural Trail gardens are maintained according to various ecologically informed principles to provide downtown Indianapolis with green space, wildlife habitat and protected pedestrian-focused corridors.
The garden beds along the Trail, 5 acres in total, include thousands of perennial plants, hundreds of shrubs, and added 525 trees to the downtown Indianapolis landscape. In addition to the 5 acres of garden space, the Trail manages 25,000 square feet of adjacent rain gardens. The rain gardens serve a larger function by filtering 4 million gallons of water per year, which helps protect the White River watershed.
The Cultural Trail is embracing new forms of horticultural management by employing ecological gardening principles and techniques. This style of horticulture management uses practices that conserve water, reduce synthetic chemicals, promote pollinator life cycles, and increase green space while reducing labor, materials, and costs. As downtown Indianapolis evolves, so will the Cultural Trail gardens with use of succession plantings; as buildings get constructed, trees fill in and people interact with the Trail, the plant palette of the Cultural Trail will adapt to its users while maintaining the original design’s intent.