Acres of Enchantment
It's been called the Disneyland of home and garden centers, and visitors agree when they spend some time at Linton's Enchanted Gardens in Elkhart. Nine acres reveal plants, flowers, trees and shrubs in a magical setting of ponds, fountains, pathways and even a lighthouse and windmill.
It all started because Mark Linton, an Elkhart native, had a passion for plants from a very young age. "I started the business when I was just 18," he says. "We're celebrating our 30th year this spring." It's their fifth year at this location, which has allowed Mark to expand both indoors and out.
Indoors, customers find The Floral Shoppe, filled with fresh blooms, as well as silk and dried floral arrangements. You can order a custom bouquet and stock up on locally produced honey, maple syrup and elegant chocolates to take home. The 50,000-square foot indoor area also includes Linton's Interior Décor store, filled with all types of home accessories, such as clocks, collectibles, lamps, wall art and accent furniture. You can also shop for women's fashions, including Vera Bradley purses, handmade jewelry, hats and wraps.
But it's the outside areas in this park-like setting that provide a refreshing break for children and families. "Children love the sights and sounds of water from our ponds, fountains and waterfall," Mark says. "They love to watch the Japanese koi swim in a pond." In the playground area, youngsters have a great time in the two-story tree house and the Club House that they enter through a carved-out door in a big tree trunk. They can feed the miniature pony, rabbits, pygmy goats and more at the petting zoo.
As you roam the outdoor pathways, you'll find a testament to Mark's expertise and his love of all things that grow. In the Space Ship area, discover what is whimsically known as the center's UFOs (Unusual Flowering Objects), with 300 new varieties of rare and unusual plants and flowers. Huge display gardens throughout center's outdoor acres give you wonderful ideas for your own backyard.
You'll find a host of perennials, ornamental and shade trees, seasonal plants and flowers, selections for shade gardens and all types of ornamental grasses, which have become particularly popular for landscaping. At the Pixie House & Fairy Garden, pick from the huge selection of miniature dwarf plants. The Japanese Tea House features Asian-inspired plants, trees and shrubs. In addition, Linton's sells gardening tools, birding supplies and garden décor items.
Mark is especially proud of the center's wide array of evergreens. "We have a conifer we just introduced ourselves and named Enchanted Juniper," he says.
It's no surprise that Linton's has won several awards, including one from a magazine that listed it among the "Top 100 Revolutionary Home and Garden Centers in the U.S." Mark says he finds his biggest satisfaction and reward in making people happy. "We want to create a memorable experience for everyone who comes here," he says. It's indeed an experience you won't forget.
Linton's Enchanted Gardens