Mari Sandoz heritage garden

Published: Jul. 14, 2020 at 10:51 AM CDT
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LINCOLN, Neb. (KOLN) - A garden outside a center dedicated to famous author Mari Sandoz is designed to help tell her story, and enhance what she talked about in her books. “These are the plants that you will find in her books,” horticulturist Lucinda Mays said. “In fact the plants by her statue, we collected within sight of her grave in Sheridan County. We dug some goldenrod, various grasses and shrubs that are here. So now when you walk in the little pathways, you are part of the garden, you are right there in the Sandhills.”

The area right around the Mari Sandoz sculpture is called “Mari’s Prairie”, because the plants came from the prairie around her grave site. But all through the gardens you’ll see other types of plants. For example, there is a group of plants called “immigrant” plants. “None of these are native to the area,” Mays said. “It’s horseradish, and rhubarb, and the plants that the permanent settlers brought with them when they moved into this area in the 1880′s. This is when Old Jules Sandoz came, so that’s how that tie-in fits.”

Another area features plants that were important to the Lakota Indians. “They used some of these as food plants, some as medicinals, and they are an important part of the story here, too, because this was Indian lands before it was settled,” Mays said. “Just across the way, we also have plums, chokecherry, and other things that are native to the area. Everything is telling part of the story, either of the books or of Mari’s history.”

If you would like more information on the garden, go to, and click on the “Sandoz” section. When you do, the brouchures that tell what are in each of the planting beds will be available.

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