Clegg Garden resides on the hillside overlooking state scenic waterway Wildcat Creek. The slopes feature a rare gravel hill prairie ecosystem. From creek side to hilltop elevation changes 100 feet, making for excellent hiking opportunity along the mile of trail. The looping trail meanders through oak woodland, gravel hill prairie, riparian corridor and savanna. Different seasons afford varying highlights. Spring woodland blooms dapple the understory, summer prairie and savanna wildflowers show off vibrant colors, fall leaf change presents a panoply of color in the forest canopy. Year round visitors see the striking landscape views from the many overlooks. Clegg map
Savannas are woodlands with a canopy with 50 – 80%tree cover. The resulting understory receives abundant light for wildflowers, shrub layer and understory trees to grow. NICHES opens the savanna by removing invading trees, brush and returning fire as a natural process of ecosystem cycle of management. Prescribed fire, also called controlled burn, allows native species to thrive, returns nutrients to the soil and kills invasive species not adapted to fire.
History of Acquisition and Property
The public garden began as private property, owned by Harold and Ruth Clegg, purchased in the late 1930’s as a country retreat. For decades the family spent time with friends and relatives enjoying the beautiful vistas and serene environment of what was then the country.
After the desth of their only son, the Clegg’s decided, supported by Mary Fouse Peyton, a close family friend, to convert the private garden into a Memorial Garden in honor of their son, Jerry. On April 18, 1965 the Clegg family opened the property to the public. Installed trails enabled the public to explore the hills and access the Wildcat Creek.
Jim Peterson served as property steward of Clegg Memorial Garden beginning in 1966. Later he stepped into the role of Treasurer for the Clegg Memorial Garden Board of Directors. Jim remained with Clegg Garden, living on site and tending the property, until the management transferred from Clegg Memorial Garden to NICHES Land Trust in 2014, nearly 30 years of dedicated service to the Clegg Memorial Garden.
The Clegg cottage, once country retreat, then private home for the property manager, now houses NICHES Land Trust administrative offices. NICHES modernized the building and transitioned the garden to a native garden. NICHES hosts events throughout the year at Clegg Garden.
Overview of Management plan
Clegg Garden is NICHES most frequently visited property. The proximity to Lafayette and West Lafayette, combined with its long history as a public space, results in frequent and repeat visitors. The goals of the land management plan focus on restoring and maintaining native ecosystems, protecting native species and removing invasive species. The garden historically included many non-native garden flowers rather than the native Indiana species.
Things to Bring With / Dress Considerations
Dress for hiking with comfortable shoes. The trails have many steps and traverse inclines. Wear layers as the path travels through shady woods and sunny meadow. Bring a water bottle.
Consider applying insect repellent to protect from mosquitoes and biting insects.
Many birds and wildlife live in wood, savanna, meadow, and prairie so bring binoculars and a camera.
Restroom access only during public events.
Practice ‘leave no trace’ hiking – if you carry an item on the property, carry it off again, including trash, food wrappers, beverage containers, etc.
Local features of interest near the property
Lafayette, Indiana – offer many opportunities for cultural excursions, as well as a variety of parks are nearby.
Clegg Memorial Garden is at 1782 N 400 E; Lafayette, IN 47905