Spring Colors

Madison, Ind., couple to showcase unique home at Madison in Bloom

Saunders, Devito use home for weddings,
other special events

Madison in Bloom

• May 11-12 and May 18-19 in Madison, Ind.
• Tour hours: 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturdays; noon - 4 p.m. Sundays
• Tour Headquarters at the Jefferson County History Center, 615 W. First St., Madison, Ind.
• Tour Highlights: Tour six private and one public house museum garden in the National Historic Landmark District. Hospitality Stops located along the way.
• Tickets: $20 adults; children 12 and under free. Available at the Lanier-Madison Visitors Center, 601 W. First St. or the Jefferson County Historical Society, tour headquarters.
• Information:
(812) 265-2335 or visit: www.MadisoninBloom.com

(May 2019) – At 605 E. Main St. in Madison, Ind., sits a home known as Rose Acre. Owned by Heidi Saunders and Joe Devito, Rose Acre plays host to a whimsical outdoor space filled with secret hideaways and a unique design that will act as one of the six stops feature on this year’s Madison in Bloom tour, a biennial garden tour organized by the Jefferson County Historical Society.
“This is our 28th year of Madison in Bloom,” said John Nyberg, event organizer. “This year, we’ll be featuring six private gardens at various locations downtown.”
The tour will also feature one public garden stop. All of the tour stops are located in downtown Madison’s historic district. The tour will also offer a way for people to begin their own gardens at home.
“This year, we’re going to have garden spots, which are four locations around town where individuals can pick up red sunflowers seeds to take home and grow,” said Nyberg
The event, which is a fundraiser for the society, is planned for the weekends of May 11-12 and 18-19. Hours are 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturdays, and noon to 4 p.m. Sundays. Tickets for the event may be used both weekends.
“Those taking the tour don’t have to go to the stops in order, either. They can also come back and finish up the stops they missed on the first weekend the following weekend,” said Nyberg.

Photo provided

The Madison, Ind., home of Heidi Saunders and Joe Devito will be among several stops on the Madison in Bloom biennial garden tour this year.

Rose Acre will be one of the private gardens on the tour and will offer a nontraditional twist. “We have a very deep yard for a home in Madison,” said Saunders. “There is a lot of distance from the front gate to the alley.”
The spaciousness of the yard houses three separate garden areas, each with a unique theme. “The front is filled with roses, greenery and apple trees,” said Saunders. “Up front is very formal looking. I’m a country girl, so the formality doesn’t feel as natural or familiar to me, but I think the front of the house needs that.”
The front yard leads to a hidden hideaway within the garden. “There’s a gravel path that leads back to a secret garden that has a covered boardwalk with vines overhead,” said Saunders. “The boardwalk then leads to a French patio with a paver floor. It’s very French. We have lots of lavender.”
There is also a covered porch area in the backyard. “We rent that space out as a micro-venue for smaller weddings, typically up to 30 people. It’s adorable. It’s all-white and filled with perennials and hydrangeas,” said Saunders. “I do all the decorating for the weddings and work with the bride personally. I like to create a unique and quaint experience for each bride and wedding held here.”
Saunders also said that she is ordained and is willing to officiate the weddings on her property. “I’m always willing to dress up in an interesting costume or outfit that will suit the space,” she said.
Past the patio, there is an additional gravel path leading to a garden that holds a small cottage. “It’s sort of a she shed. It’s also all-white with an all-white interior. It’s furnished completely with vintage pieces and antiques that are all from Madison,” she said. “That’s also included as part of wedding rentals or for bridal photo shoots.”
That part of the garden also houses perennials and additional greenery, as well as violets and other deep purple flowers for some additional color.

Photo provided

Heidi Saunders and Joe Devito entertain at their Madison, Ind., home, sometimes in costume.

Saunders moved into the home seven years ago, which is when her extensive garden project began. “I’ve slowly pieced together a vision,” she said. “We wanted to create it as inexpensively as possible and did all the work ourselves.”
The creation of the multiple outdoor spaces was tackled with the help of Saunders’ husband. “My husband did all the work and all of the building. I did the design and the gardening. We’re a good pair. I’m the architect, and he’s the engineer.”
Saunders’ favorite outdoor space is the cottage garden. “It’s like being in a forest. We actually call it Redbud Forest,” she said. The cottage garden holds another hideaway – a small reading nook that Saunders describes as “romantic.”

This is Rose Acre’s first year on the Madison in Bloom tour. Saunders said she is excited to welcome people to their garden and show them a different piece of Madison. “There’s nothing like this property in Madison,” she said. “We’re different in every space. I’m looking forward to people seeing the fruition of our work. I’m also excited to wear something fabulous and interact with a bunch of new faces.”

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