Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Ho Ho Ho: Santa In the Square

Ho Ho Ho: Santa in the Square By: Jon Clucas Mrs. and Mr. Santa Claus with their carriage driver in 2006

On December 6 from 10:00 am to 12:00 noon, Santa will be visiting with the families of southeast Indianapolis at National City Bank in Fountain Square (1059 Virginia Ave). Santa is inviting children and families to take a ride in his carriage! Guests are also invited to take a photo with Santa and/or to do some crafts at the library. Don't expect Santa to give you a new house, boat, or car, but each guest will be presented with a gift!

Santa's visit to Fountain Square is sponsored by FACT, Fountain Square Merchants Association, Friends of Historic Fountain Square, Indiana State Police Alliance, SELP Making Connections, IMCPL, White Castle, the Fountain Square Arts Council, National City Bank, and Fountain Square. Please show your appreciation to his sponsors and welcome Santa Claus to our neighborhood!

2008 Southeast Neighborhood Gathering

2008 Southeast Neighborhood Gathering

By: Susan Beauchamp

Were you one of the over 200 people who met together at the Neighborhood Gathering on September 25? If not, you missed a good meal and good communication between neighborhood residents at “Fine-Tuning Our Success.” Doors opened for registration at 5:00 pm at the Southeast Community Services Building at 901 Shelby Street and several people came early! Santorini, Gusto, and Deano’s Vino restaurants provided a delicious dinner. As we finished eating, we watched an oral history video: Churchman Avenue – Revival Road. This documentary was produced by students Wesley Walker and Karl Myers. Those interviewed were Bill and Maria Sparkman, Thelma Reed, Andrew Britt and Carol Bales. Jennifer Rice, GINI Coordinator, was the announcer. Mark Stewart, President of Southeast Neighborhood Development (SEND) and Terri Garcia, Executive director of Southeast Community Services (SECS), welcomed us. Jim Mulholland asked all participants to submit the name a southeast leader or organization that has significantly assisted our neighborhood. Elaine Cates spoke about the accomplishments of the last year. At about 7:45 pm, residents were invited to choose a Break Out session to attend based on their interest in the goals of the Quality of Life Plan:
  • Community Building/New Ideas
  • Youth Programming
  • Beautification/Infrastructure
  • Housing
  • Commercial Viability
  • Workforce Development

In each session, the goals were discussed and a report was made on the progress of the past 6 months since the plan was adopted. Data, the numbers and stories that measure the progress toward the goals, was collected by the SELP, Southeast Learning Partnership. We stayed with these issues for about ½ hour and then moved to a second goal for additional discussion and comments on the past and the future. Participants reconvened for dessert provided by Deano’s Vino restaurant at 8:15 pm and filled out a questionnaire about the evening. One name was chosen at random to receive a gift certificate. We were happy to see many parents bring their children, and childcare was provided. Whether you are excited about positive change, or you wish there had been a greater impact, we hope you will be inspired to get involved in strengthening the community.

Fountain Square Arts Council.... building momentum.

Fountain Square Arts Council... building momentum.

By: Kelli Safford and Nita McCormick

This past year several resident artists from the Fountain Square area came together to create the Fountain Square Arts Council (FSAC). Born out of Study Circles conversations, the group seeks to form a connective bond between artists and residents in the Southeast, make all forms of artistic expression available to residents and youth, and continue to enhance awareness of Fountain Square as one our of our city's premiere arts and cultural destinations in Central Indiana and beyond.

Since its formation, FSAC has been working hard towards achieving the mission and goals which were established early in the planning phases. Showcasing these efforts, FSAC was recently involved in coordinating the children’s art activities in conjunction with Masterpiece in a Day, sponsored by Big Car Gallery. Children of all ages could engage in textile workshops, musical instrument activities, storytelling, painting, and drawing. Children had an opportunity to provide their talent to a mural which will be on display in the Fountain Square Library, as well as contribute their thoughts to talking walls throughout the day.

The momentum of the group continues with the next event for FSAC being Santa in the Square; 2008 will be the second year in a row for participation from the council. Future events which are in the works are fundraising activities for the council and continuation of the Arts Parade held by IMA in the Spring of 2008. FSAC is looking to expand and provide further inclusion of the Southeast neighborhood in such events either in late Spring or Summer 2009. FSAC will also be working to develop ways in which the youth throughout the Southeast area can develop their skills in various forms of arts through workshop participation.

FSAC is currently seeking 501(c)(3) status and regularly meets on a monthly basis. The next public meeting will include establishing the leadership of the council, as well as to brainstorm for FSAC future events. This meeting will take place on October 29th, 6:30 pm at Wheeler Arts Community. For more information on FSAC, and to sign up to receive announcements/updates, please contact the Fountain Square Arts Council at .

Pleasant Run Beautification

Pleasant Run Beautification

By: Jeff Miller

Furthering one of the goals set forth in the Southeast Quality of Life Plan, the SEND Public Space committee hosted the sixth beautification effort in the last two years along the Pleasant Run Trail on Saturday, September 20th. Three of the six events have been managed by the Public Space committee, and the other three have been partnerships with either the Lilly Day of Giving or the White River Clean-up. The efforts have each taken place at different locations along the trail, and this one started at Pleasant Run Parkway and Prospect and then moved West along the trail all the way to Villa Ave. This location was chosen due to the involvement of the Villa Baptist Church, located at 2650 Villa Ave. The church contributed 6 volunteers from the congregation to help out. Also lending a hand was the Mary Ann Sullivan campaign. Running for House District 97, Mary Ann has gotten involved recently in the Public Space efforts. The total volunteer count for the day was 14, with Portia Haugen, Jeff Miller, Jonathon Mirgeaux and Kelli Safford from the Public Space committee all lending a hand. The activities focused on trash pickup along the trail and down in the streambed and also cutting back invasive species along the trail. “It has been great to see how the six beautification efforts over the last two years have really made a difference”, said Jeff Miller, Public Space Chairman. “I can remember spending two solid hours in about a ½ block area during our first effort last year, due to the high volume of litter. Now we are really seeing progress and the trail looks so much cleaner and more friendly.” A huge thanks to Indy Greenways, which has really stepped up efforts by having Community Courts workers pick up trash along the trail throughout the year. And of course none of this would be possible without Keep Indianapolis Beautiful, which provides gloves, bags and dumpsters. Watch for more such beautification efforts to come in 2009. The overall goal is to make the trail something that people are proud of and consider a true asset to the community.

Original Story: Acronyms on the Square, And Other Things

Original Story: Acronyms on the Square, And Other Things

By: Merelaine Haskett

In the area of Southeast Indianapolis,* there was a dog that barked, “WAF, WAF”*. This dog had a lot of SENSE*. He lived and grew up in the Southeast Community Services* neighborhood in Fountain Square. He was called FEMA,* because he wasn’t in one place very long. He was never kept in a CAGI*. When someone stepped on his paw, he yelled, “SELP!”* After that happened, he went LISC*ing along, running past the Fountain Square Merchants Association*. The FACT* is, his family used the Energy Assistance Program* in the winter. The gas company let them have a Warm Heart Warm Home*.
His family would SEND* him to The Center for Working Families*, where he would tell people to SECO* and you shall find. He found a nice place to eat there with his elderly friends at Southeast Senior Center* which has CICOA Nutrition Program*. During his visit to the center he saw people using computers, and learning to speak English as a Second Language*. Around the corner, on the same floor, people were practicing Financial Management*. Every time he came here, he found something new and interesting.
He was an amazing dog, Making Connections* with all the right people. From the center he would cross over the Bridges To Success* to see GINI* his favorite. Along the way he saw the most beautiful house on a huge, beautiful foundation. Right away, he knew it must be the Annie E. Casey Foundation*. As he continued, he let his nose follow the Job Pipeline*, which took him to another road called the United Way of Central Indiana*. While turning off this road, he saw his dear friend, KIB*

What an adventure this dog would have! He learned so much and thought about the Local Learning Partnership*. He quickly informed his cousin, a musician, about the Fountain Square Event of Masterpiece In A Day*, so he could participate.
Knick, NACS* patty wac, give that dog a bone, and a GED*!

*Acronyms, Places and Programs, listed in order of use:
Southeast Indianapolis - neighborhood; WAF - Winter Assistance Funds; SENSE - Southeast Neighborhood School of Excellence; SECS - Southeast Community Services; FEMA - Federal Emergency Management Agency; CAGI - Community Action of Greater Indianapolis; SELP - Southeast Learning Partnership; LISC - Local Initiative Support Corporation; FSMA - Fountain Square Merchants Association; FACT - FACT area Community Team; EAP - Energy Assistance Program; WHWH - Warm Heart Warm Home; SEND - Southeast Neighborhood Development; CWF - Center for Working Families; SECO - Southeast Community Organization; SESC - Southeast Senior Center; CICOA - Central Indiana Council On Aging; ESL - English as Second Language; FM - Financial Management; MC - Making Connections;
BTS - Bridges To Success; GINI - Greater Indianapolis Neighborhood Initiative; AECF - Annie E. Casey Foundation; JP - Job Pipeline; UWCI - United Way of Central Indiana; KIB - Keep Indianapolis Beautiful; LLP - Local Learning Partnership; MIAD- Masterpiece In A Day; NACS - Neighborhood Alliance for Child Safety; GED - General Education Diploma.

Home Invasion

Home Invasion

By: Richard Campi

I’ve lived and learned like many people, but obviously I’ve much more to ingest in life. I’m a retired public school teacher of very many years and teaching (also learning) has been a life’s mindset. I’ve advised untold numbers of people about security issues among a plethora of issues for people in all situations. Well…Friday, September 26, in the middle of the day, my wife heard the back door chime and came down from our second floor library/office. A man (40 something) asked her when our tenant would be home. Susan responded that she was not sure, about 5-6 pm. About a half hour later, I came home from the dentist and Susan left on her bike out the back gate. I went into the house through the back door to get out of my better public duds. Shortly I was to get into old work clothes and go to do outside work. For a few minutes, I was relaxing on the bed, watching a few minutes of the noon news on the TV. I heard about four footsteps, and at our front hallway bedroom door was a man headed to the front door, which was locked.

I shouted at him as to why he was in the house and what he was doing. He spun around and was running out the way he had come saying, “She said so.” I, running after him, shouted, “NO, she didn’t!” The man ran out the back door and I followed him. He had the advantages of about forty to fifty feet ahead of me, almost half my age, and had clothes on. I found this to be all too much with only the bare essentials to deal with. He ran faster when I shouted that I knew who he was. I saw that the man was carrying a white cloth bag and adjusting something to within it. Upon surveying the house scene, I came to realize that he had both of our wallets, our digital camera, its equipment, and our vehicle’s key with remote. These had been located on or near our dining room table. I quickly dialed 911, put on clothes, and an officer was at my house in about four minutes.

I’ve generally considered myself cautious about security, but of course, now I am more paranoid about always locking every door both coming and going. My wife, Susan, had a good look at the man who had come to the house earlier. I suspect that he was casing the place first and saw that she left on her bike. The next-door neighbor had her bike stolen from the back of her house the night before.

I’ve learned that this robber was so efficient that he probably is on record for us to identify with “mug shots.” The IMPD officer indicated that a detective would call us to come to the station to do this. But during a neighborhood association meeting the following week, a police officer indicated that it might be weeks before this happens because of lack of manpower in the department. At this time, there is no way to get efficient results from our police dept. system for loss of property. I cannot hurry the extremely slow process of our police work in which “everything is backed up severely.” The advice is to make sure you call about credit cards, check with your insurance, change the locking system of your vehicle and lock your self in your home at all times. (I feel like a prisoner.)

Since I’ve related this story to several immediate neighbors, locks and actions have been added to others’ houses. Some have it in their heads that this is less likely to happen where they live or that we shouldn’t have to live with the fear of invasion. Just be on guard and accept my word to the wise.

If I had had a weapon within reach during this invasion, I wouldn’t have had the chance to use it effectively. I do believe that if I had such a weapon, I may have shot to kill him in my moment of rage. However in this instance, I saw his face for only a split second, and in several seconds I acted.

I was assured as everyone was at the Neighborhood Meeting, that if I had shot and killed the intruder in my house, on my property, or blocks from here (having the items that were stolen on him), it would be absolutely legal and justified. I’m totally against killing most anything for any reason, but at the moment of seeing someone invade my house, I wished for the extreme. Things could have been much worse for both of us if weapons were involved. I know that the odds are great in that this was like winning the great lottery in reverse.

I don’t need to have any more to be sorry for! But what a real shame to be afraid to leave your door unlocked for minutes. I’ve largely written this for everyone else’s benefit and protection. One always thinks that it won’t happen to ME!

Southeast Music News

Southeast Music News

By: Ryan Williams

Radio Radio's schedule for November and December has more than a few bright spots, including a CD release for noted Bloomington indie rock stalwarts Gentleman Caller on November 8th. Rockabilly favorites Bigger Than Elvis maintain their monthly visits with shows November 1st and December 6th. Other notable shows include Shindig and Same as Sunday November 8th, Rosebuds and Megafaun November 12th, Centro-Matic on November 14th, and the Indie Band Collective Music Showcase on the 15th.

However, the biggest event for the venue (and the adjoining Fountain Square Theater) is the 7th Tonic Ball, taking place November 21st.
Tonic Ball board member Nora Spitznogle says this year's theme is "The King and The Queen," with artists covering songs from either Elvis Presley's or Queen's respective songbooks. Spitznogle says "We picked these bands because it was time to feature a classic band like Queen, and Elvis is an artist most everybody loves." Appearing at the Ball will be Jennie Devoe, Mandy Marie and the Cool Hand Lukes, Red Light Driver, The Common and more. The theater portion will start at 7pm and will admit all-ages, while Radio Radio will open later to the 21 and over crowds.

The Fountain Square Theater has two Swing Nights coming up. Mark your calendar for November 14th and December 19th, with lessons starting at 7:30pm and dancing throughout the evening.

Sam's Saloon finishes the year with a packed schedule that kicks off with REVIVAL, "a 60s Soul/Psych/Garage/Punk Dance Party" on November 1st. The event makes a repeat appearance December 6th. Avero, STATE, The Last Good Year and Red Line District complete a powerful lineup for the November 7th show. Other notable events include Ruined for Life, The Eloquent Falling, The Will Woodrow Project, and Punch to the Face on November 8th, Metal Night with Pulse 8 and Dead Broke on November 15th, and Hellbound Hayride on December 13th. The venue is still rounding out their schedule so check out for up-to-date details.



By: D. DelReverda-Jennings

HOLIDAY SHOW AT THE HARRISON: The Harrison Center for the Arts located 1505 N. Delaware St. invites artist proposals for our annual color-themed holiday show. This year’s show is Brown Paper Packages Tied Up With String. Scheduled to open First Friday, December 5, 2008 and will run through Dec. 27th, '08. Send up to six digital images along with a completed entry form. Images must match with a corresponding list or be labeled with name, title, size and media. Deadline: Nov. 7th, '08. We are interested in video imagery; artists are required to provide any digital equipment necessary for their work. Send Submissions to: Brown Paper Packages, c/o Pam Allee, Harrison Center for the Arts, 1505 N. Delaware Street, Indianapolis, IN, 46202. INFO: .

SEEKING VIDEO ARTISTS: The Wheeler Arts Community located 1035 E. Sanders St. in historic Fountain Square is looking for video artists with any type of video media, for its Winter Open House event scheduled to take place December 5 - 6, 2008. Exhibit Fee - $15. Participating artists must provide their own equipment and setup. INFO: , 317-916-9375.

HOLIDAY ONE PIECE SHOW: Dean Johnson Gallery located 646 Mass. Ave. Opening Artists Reception, First Friday, December 5th, 2008 from 5-9 pm. View, buy, and be merry! Enjoy an array of the cities finest artists works of all mediums and genres in this annual show of distinction. Participating artists include: Bruce Dean, Kate Oberreich, Jim Kemp, Amy Cannady, Jacobina Trump, Pat Prather, Jerry Points, Kevin Smola, Marco Zehrung, Amy Kindred, Scott Johnson, Teri Barnett, Ryan Abegglen, Doug Arnholter, Carol Jourdan, John Domont, Casey Jo Crist Ailes, D. DelReverda-Jennings. Exhibition runs through January 9, 2009. Free! INFO: 317-634-8020, .

CLASS PICTURES: PHOTOGRAPHS BY DAWOUD BEY: IMA: The exhibition overseen by Lisa Frieman, IMA Senior Curator of Contemporary Art includes 40 photographic portraits of high school students paired with their own written words. For the exhibition, Bey photographed young people from all parts of the economic, racial and ethnic spectrum in both public and private high schools. McCormack Forefront Galleries. Free! Exhibition runs through Nov. 21, '08. INFO: 317-923-1331, .

ATTENTION INDY ARTISTS: Do you have a You Tube type video that you would like to share with patrons and visitors of the Arts Council of Indianapolis (Free to Artists) website or ? Visit , and click on "Artists Services" to find out how to submit your video or audio. INFO: 317-631-3301.

Garfield Park Events / Activities

Garfield Park Events / Activities

Garfield Park Hours:
Burrello Family Center
, 2345 Pagoda Drive
Mon. 9:30a-9:00p, Tues. 11:00a-9:00p, Wed. 9:30a-9:00p, Thurs. 11:00a-9:00p, Fri. 9:30a-8:00p, Sat. 9:30a-4:30p
Garfield Park Arts Center, 2432 Conservatory Drive
Mon. Closed, Tues. 1:00p-5:00p, Wed, 1:00p-5:00p, Thur. 1:00p-5:00p, Fri. 1:00p-5:00p, Sat. 10:00a-5:00p, Sun. 1:00p-5:00p
Garfield Park Conservatory, 2505 Conservatory Drive
Mon.-Sat. 10:00a-5:00p, Sun. 1:00p-5:00p
Sunken Gardens
October - April 10:00a-5:00p 7 days a week

To sign up for any of the following activities at Garfield Park, you can call Indy Parks at 317-327-PARK or visit the Burrello Family Center at the park. A registration form is located on the website for Indy Parks as well.

Jungle Tales
Ages 2-5, Garfield Conservatory, Nov. 11, Dec. 9, Tue., 10a-11a, $2, 1 class

Bring your preschooler to this program with a focus on the natural world around us. Join us for nature-related stories, activities and crafts. Activities may be messy and we may go outside, so dress appropriately. An adult is expected to stay with each child.

Junior Gardener Club
Ages 6-12, Garfield Conservatory, Nov. 8, Sat., 11a-Noon, FREE

Come out to the Children’s Garden each month for a fun-filled garden lesson and activity. No green thumbs required. The Club will meet in the Conservatory if inclement weather.

Migration Madness
Ages 7-12, Garfield Conservatory, Nov. 9, Sun., 2:30-3:30p, $2

Migrate to the Conservatory and find out where our feathered friends go when the weather gets cold. Enjoy a story, game and more as we uncover some mysteries about migration.

Flower Arranging: Fall Centerpiece
Ages 18+, Garfield Conservatory, Nov. 25, Tue., 7p-8p, $30

Just in time for Thanksgiving, make a beautiful table arrangement that will impress your friends and family. The arrangement will feature fall colors and can be made with little prior experience with flower arranging. All supplies will be provided.

Guided Conservatory Tours
All Ages, Garfield Conservatory, Nov. 22, Sat., 2:30-3:30p, FREE

The Garfield Park Master Gardeners will be conducting tours, highlighting information about the interesting and unusual plants in the Conservatory. Tours will start in the Gazebo Room.

Orchid Fest
All Ages, Garfield Conservatory, Nov. 1-2, Sat.-Sun., 10a-5p, FREE

Join the Central Indiana Orchid Society for an orchid-filled weekend! Enjoy displays and educational demonstrations for both novice and experienced orchid growers. Contact the Conservatory for demonstration topics and times.

Conservatory Crossing
All Ages, Garfield Conservatory, Nov. 28-Dec. 28, 10a-5p, $3 adults, $2 child/seniors

See the Conservatory decked out in its holiday best with a brilliant display of poinsettias. Enjoy the model train display presented by The Indiana Rail Road Company. The show will be open until 8pm Dec. 20-23.

Candlelight Crossing
Ages 3+, Garfield Conservatory, Dec. 19, Fri, 6-8p, $5

Enjoy the holiday train and poinsettia show during an evening reception with holiday treats. Take time from the hustle and bustle to relax with a cup of tea and enjoy the warmth and beauty of our festively decorated tropical conservatory!

Garfield Park’s Holiday Family Day
All Ages, Garfield Conservatory, Dec. 13, Sat., 10a-3p, FREE

This is the day that Santa Claus makes his annual visit to Garfield Park Conservatory! While you’re here, make a craft and get your picture taken with Santa Claus. Photos require an additional fee. Head to the Garfield Park Family Center to meet Mrs. Claus and have some tasty holiday treats.


Senior Card Club
Ages 50+, 2nd and 3rd Friday of each month, 1p-3p, FREE

Ages 50+, Tuesdays (Except Nov. 4), 5:30-8:30p, $1

For more information, please call Jerry Miller at 736-7472.


Garfield PreSchool Fire Safety
Ages 3-5, Garfield Park, Nov. 6, Thu., 10a-11:30a, FREE

This program is presented by SURVIVE ALIVE for youth 3-5. This program will teach the children fire safety and how to survive and escape from a fire.

Indiana Photographic Society
Ages 16+, Ongoing, Wed., 6-9p, $10

This special club for photographers, photo-historians and enthusiasts will meet every Wednesday evening at the Garfield Park Arts Center. Topics covered and activities will include photo critique, review, survey of techniques and hands-on instruction. Special guests will make presentations throughout the series. A $10 participation fee will be collected by the Society at the beginning session.


Garfield Park Fitness Class
Ages 18+, Dec. 1-19, Mon., Wed., Fri., 10a-11a, $15, 9 classes

This class includes warmup, simple beginning steps, walking, and small kicks. You will work on legs, abdominal muscles, and thighs, at your own speed. After class, you can learn to use the weight equipment properly. Instructor: Amy Norcross.

Garfield 3-5 Junior Basketball
Ages 3-5, Dec. 3-Apr. 4, Wed.-Sat., 3-4p, $55

This coed league is designed to improve player’s skills through interleague play. Each participant will receive a uniform and a trophy. Coaches will contact the players when the league starts. Practices start in December. Games will start after the first of the year.

Garfield 6-8 Junior Basketball
Ages 6-8, Dec. 1-Apr. 4, Mon.-Fri., 4p, $55

This coed league is designed to improve player’s skills through interleague play. Each participant will receive a uniform and a trophy. Coaches will contact the players when the league starts. Practices start in December. Games will start after the first of the year.

Garfield 9-12 Junior Basketball
Ages 9-12, Dec. 2-Apr. 10, Tues.-Fri., 7p, $55
This coed league is designed to improve player’s
skills through interleague play. Each participant will receive a uniform and a trophy. Coaches will contact the players when the league starts. Practices start in December. Games will start after the first of the year.

Garfield 13-16 Junior Basketball
Ages 13-16, Dec. 1-Apr 17, Mon.-Fri., 4:30p, $55

This coed league is designed to improve player’s skills through interleague play. Each participant will receive a uniform and a trophy. Coaches will contact the players when the league starts. Practices start in December. Games will start after the first of the year.

Basketball/Adult Open Gym, Ages 18+, $3, Call for specific times.

The Bosphorus

Flavors of the Southeast Side

The Bosphorus

By: Claire Norton

There is nothing standardized or homogenized about Bosphorus Istanbul Café. This Turkish restaurant, with an abundant menu of appetizers and entrées, is tucked away in a distinct building along 935 South East Street in Indianapolis. Its location just outside of downtown makes this a perfect place for lunch during the workweek or a nice escape during the weeknights and weekends.

Inside, the staff welcomes you in as if you are dining in their home, and not their business. The atmosphere cultivated here makes dining at Bosphorus a true evening out, whether on your own or with a group of friends. Perhaps it’s the environment or perhaps it’s simply the quality of the food, but I’ve only had great experiences and great meals here.

While it’s easy to fill up on the multitude of appetizers alone the entrées can’t be overlooked. Meat entrées are abundant (The Bosphorus Special is particularly wonderful: a mixed grilled combination of chicken kebab, doner, shish kebab and Adana kebab) but vegetarians have plenty of options to pick from as well. Particular items of note are the hummus and the borek. Of course, those looking for gyros and kebabs won’t be disappointed either.

Two can dine simply, sharing an appetizer and an entrée for approximately $30.00 and leave satiated. But two can also indulge a bit more and enjoy appetizers, full entrées and a perfect desert (I’d recommend the Baklava) for around $50.00.

Bosphorus is open for lunch and dinner. Hours and full menus can be found online at


In the September/October edition of the Southeast Square News the title for the Snack Shoppe article on page 9 was an error. The business is located in the Fletcher Place neighborhood, not the Fountain Square neighborhood. The Southeast Square News apologizes for the mistake.

What I Like

What I Like

By: Irvin Etienne

As the last bits and pieces of the garden get picked up and the house is about to burst from all the plants I’m trying to save, I need an occasional reminder of why I do all this. Okay, I need multiple reminders some days. One of the reasons for my plant obsession (besides just being a plant pig) is the excitement of trying new plants. Just as there are only a precious few people you would want to spend your whole life with (if you can find one you are damn lucky), there are only so many plants you want in the garden year after year. So in addition to my can’t-garden-without-it-every-year plants I like to add some new material to the mix. These may be completely new species or just new cultivars of plants I’ve grown for decades. Whichever the case, this new plant material revitalizes the garden and the gardener. So what did I try this year that has a chance of being asked to come back next year? So glad you asked. I’ll tell you of just a few.

Red fountain grass (Pennisetum setaceum ‘Rubrum’) has been around for nearly two decades. By around I don’t mean like your sister. I mean it has been readily available – that sounds kinda like your sister too. What I mean is you could find it for sale fairly easily (your sister again, I’m sorry). Let’s just move on. This year a variegated form of red fountain grass became available called ‘Fireworks.’ This version has vertical stripes in shades of cream, pink, and red through the burgundy leaves of the grass. The cream doesn’t last too long and changes to the pinks and reds. My plants didn’t get quite as big as the old variety but that could have been nurture rather than nature. ‘Fireworks’ fountain grass is definitely worth repeating.

Cannas are one of my favorite plants. Period. I love their foliage and their flowers, sometimes one more than the other. It just depends on the cultivar. This year I planted ‘Orange Punch.’ Grow this one for the flowers. They are intense. The individual blossoms are quite large and a stop-you-in-your-tracks fluorescent orange with a bright yellow throat. An added bonus is the way the flowers are presented. Unlike the usual upright canna flower spike, ‘Orange Punch’ flower spikes curve downward or to the side as they develop. You get a sort of weeping flower stalk. Very nice. Foliage is green with a hint of burgundy at times. Mine topped out at around 4-5 feet tall, a very easy size to use in any garden situation.
I tried two new cultivars of Torenia, Wishbone flower. Like the blue forms that have been available for a few years, these are vegetatively propagated, not from seed. I really like the blues for their non-stop color and vigorous growth. I’ve seen hanging baskets three feet long. But you need more than blue. This year I tried ‘Yellow Moon’ and ‘Magenta Moon.’ These two are more clumpers than viners. ‘Yellow Moon’ is yellow with a purple center to the flower. ‘Magenta Moon’ is light magenta-purple on three petals with the fourth a pale tan. A very unusual color indeed. But it goes great with purples and the golden amber and tan foliage of certain Heuchera (coralbells) and Carex (sedges) plants.

I hope all of you experimented a bit with the garden as well. There is no reason not to try a new plant (or seven) each year. Just think how much your sister has experimented.

Lost & Found: A Memoir

Lost & Found: A Memoir

By: Phyllis Nash

I have most admired the housekeeping skills of a butler who worked in the castle of the Carnavon family line in England. This was seen on TV, and he could find anything. He could open a drawer, which was clean and dust-free, to show off an artifact from the Howard Carter King Tut expedition. I haven’t had much luck emulating such skills, but I try to read books on a clutter-free life. Too many coat hangers are one problem I’ve managed to eliminate fairly well, but other things I need more help with.

I don’t covet or have a desire to have room-size closets that hold semi trucks of shoes and clothing! This is fine for opera costumes at the Met, Oprah, or even Goodwill. My small closets are status symbols of simpler days. I think each to their own and it’s not for me to be in the often-futile white-knuckled rat race of accumulating wealth.

Maybe I should really covet walk-in closets as they could be used to store items to be hidden. I always feel joy when a misplaced item pops up! That is the benefit when looking for a current item that I can’t find!

We speculate why a much-enjoyed green gingham summer dress never turned up. Even after 55 years, I remember that dress and wonder, “Did it get thrown out by error?”
What I really coveted years ago in the 1950’s & 60’s were the Gold Bond and Top Value Stamp Premiums. I plotted, schemed, and saved to get the 4 Vollrath stainless mixing bowls, big cake pan, small round cake pan, and the square pan. That square pan was much used for Jiffy Corn Bread even to this day!

When one buys more things, it seems for me too much to keep track of. I’d stored some new pans in the box that they came in. But the favorite old corn bread pan was nowhere to be found. Then one night in bed, I heard a big crash. The box of pans had busted open because it was too full. I was annoyed to have to get up and hated to pick up the pans at that hour. However with the kitchen light on, I saw the cornbread pan had popped out of the box. I was so happy to find it because I had looked in that box before!

So far I can’t say the same for the TV remote. I have lost it many times before, but this time I think that it really did get put out in the garbage.

Front Porch Alliance to Hold Leadership Summit

Front Porch Alliance to Hold Leadership Summit
Mayor to Address Leaders of Faith and Community Organizations

INDIANAPOLIS – (October 3, 2008) On Wednesday, November 19, the Front Porch Alliance will hold a leadership summit in response to requests from local faith and community leaders to have access to information that will help them serve the community better. Participants will be able to attend specialized sessions that focused on topics including: working with government, working with the media, networking with neighborhoods, team building, addiction recovery and mentoring. There will also be sessions presented in Spanish.

“These sessions are open to anyone who is leading an organization or might have an idea for a new program. We are excited about the opportunity for leaders to talk with others who have been successfully running sustainable organizations,” said Douglas Hairston, Director of the Front Porch Alliance. “While the Front Porch has been attending other training sessions around the city with churches and organizations, we hope this will be the beginning of several trainings each year that will ‘Educate, Connect and Enhance’ organizations who are serving our communities.”

WHO: Mayor Greg Ballard and leaders of faith and community organizations

WHAT: Leadership Summit
Space will be limited, so please register now by
contacting Holly Renforth with the Church of Acts at
317-783-2287 or

WHEN: Wednesday, November 19, 2008
8:00 - 8:30 a.m. - Registration & Breakfast
8:30 - 9:30 a.m. - General Session with Mayor Ballard
9:45 - 11:30 a.m. - Leader Sessions
11:30 a.m. - Noon. - 9,000 lb. Food Giveaway
12:00-1:00 p.m. - Lunch catered by Piper’s Restaurant

WHERE: Church of ACTS, 3740 S. Dearborn St.,
Indianapolis, IN 46237