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Thursday, June 30, 2022

From Small Seeds

It was, until owner Grant Hartman decided to retire 13 years ago, a land of pasture and hay. Hartman had already owned the 20 acres of land for more than two decades, but needed to find a new use for it.

So Hartman and his wife Jean, started planting trees. Hartman’s three brothers encouraged him to continue planting and ultimately to turn it into the Hartman Arboretum, located near the German Township ball fields on Big Cynthiana Road. There now are close to 500 trees on the grounds.

“We have planted mostly native trees and shrubs and give people an opportunity to come out and see what the possibilities are,” says Hartman. “If they see something they like, they can find out what it is and put it in their landscaping.”

Open to the public on Thursdays or by appointment, visitors to the arboretum will find a variety of native and non-native trees, including a Chinese Fringe Tree, Viburnum, Carolina silverbells, American holly trees, pawpaw, and yellowwood trees. The Southern Indiana Master Gardener Association also maintains a wildlife garden on the grounds.

“It goes back to nature really, and conservation of the property,” says Hartman. “We wanted to see trees of different types grow, and it’s interesting to watch them take shape.”

An espalier of crabapple trees surrounds the hydrangea garden at the Arboretum. Magnolias grow in a gathering past a small lake and a large display of native redbud trees, Hartman’s personal favorite.

Some of the most interesting plants to visitors are the 35-year-old blueberry bushes. Visitors pick about 800 pounds of blueberries each season, at $2 per pound.

“It’s been nice to see things come together,” says Hartman. “Whenever you plant something, you think about how it’s going to look. And sometimes it takes years before you actually see it. But it’s really satisfying to see plants come to a maturity and fruition.”

For more information on Hartman Arboretum, call 812-963-5418 or visit harboretum.com.

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