Take a walk through our gardens.
ABOUT THE Dr. JOHN QUAY MEMORIAL GARDENS
The memorial garden was established in memory of my father, Dr. John Quay, who was a member of Nativity from 1969 until his death in 1991. Dr. Quay spent many years volunteering as the Church’s gardener. Together with Nancy Nauth (another long-time Nativity parishioner who is now deceased), Dr. Quay developed and maintained the orchard behind the parish hall and the bushes, flowers and trees in front of the original building and bell tower. During those years, parishioners’ ashes were occasionally interred in various locations, such as by the bell tower or outdoor altar.
After the new Nave was constructed in 1992, Mrs. Quay donated funds for the development of the memorial garden. The vestry hired the Knoll-Miller Landscape Architecture and Construction Group of Fishers to develop landscaping plans for both the memorial garden and the new building. Harris Phillips, a close friend of Dr. Quay and master gardener, supervised the installation of the memorial garden and new landscaping in late 1993 and early 1994. The dedication service for the completed memorial garden was held on June 19, 1994.
Harris Phillips maintained all of the Church grounds and the memorial garden until his death in 1996, and his ashes are interred in the garden. Jim Boyle (another long-time Nativity member, retired professor and master gardener) then assumed primary responsibility for the church grounds and garden. Mr. Boyle continued in this role until 2003, when health conditions forced him to step down. Mr. Boyle wrote an extensive report summarizing the garden’s history and maintenance which can be found in the Church office. These men, along with Fred Munds (deceased 2012) are to be commended for the many hours they dedicated to maintaining the Church grounds.
In the spring of 2004, Nana Quay-Smith (Dr, John’s daughter) agreed to undertake this task. Nana had limited gardening experience and time, so formed a gardening committee to share the work. Nana used a weekly sign-up sheet for watering and weeding duties, and held garden work days on 4 or 5 Saturdays each year to tackle the larger projects, such as mulching, trimming bushes and planting flowers. Every November the Church’s boyscout troup assists us by clearing leaves from all the garden beds.
The memorial garden has seen many changes over the years. The garden has become more shaded and the deer have multiplied tenfold. As a result, many of the hostas, cotoneasters and bushes have disappeared. We have gradually replaced these plantings with deer and shade resistant plants such as fern, astilbe, vinca, zinnia and pachysandra.
In 2008 Mrs. Quay purchased a stone fountain for the memorial garden, and it was placed in the bed directly south of the Nave. This low-lying area originally held a variety of annuals, but nothing survived due to heavy shade and moist soil. Nate Smith, (Nana’s son), replanted this area as a bog garden for his high school senior project. The bog garden now contains plants which are deer-resistant and tolerate moisture and shade. This bed also contains an elevated electrical outlet which can be connected to the fountain’s motor when running water is desired. We subsequently added a stepping-stone path and a bench to this area.
In 2013 we installed an underground tile in the back of the memorial garden to hold the Church’s large wooden cross. The cross now creates a focal point for the garden, yet it is readily removable for Palm Sunday processionals.
Last year Leo Monts created an outdoor labyrinth in the grassy area adjacent to the memorial garden for his eagle scout project. The entrance to the labyrinth opens to the western edge of the memorial garden, and a pathway connects the two areas.
In 2014, after Nana suffered a back injury, Lee Ann Key graciously agreed to assume responsibility for the church grounds, allowing Nana to focus more time on the memorial garden. We coordinate our efforts on larger projects, such as mulching, when needed. (Lee Ann’s son, Ryan, created the mediation path that encircles the Church property for his eagle scout project).
Throughout the years the memorial garden has continued to serve its intended purpose of providing a quiet, natural retreat for meditation and prayer. It is a very special and beautiful place for worship and reflection in any season. There are few places where one can enjoy flowers and deer while listening to organ or choir music. We are blessed to have such a place at Nativity.