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 plus of trail. The looping trails meander 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.
Harold and Ruth Clegg purchased what would become Clegg Memorial Garden 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 death of their only son, Jerry, the Cleggs decided with the suggestion by Mary Fouse Peyton, a close family friend, to convert the private garden into a Memorial Garden in honor of their son. On April 18, 1965 the Clegg family opened the property to the public under the auspices of the Clegg Foundation. 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 Memorial Garden, living on site and tending the property, until the management transferred from Clegg Memorial Garden to NICHES Land Trust in 2014, nearly 50 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 continued the transition that Jim started in the 1990s from a garden to a native landscape.