The children’s garden features a play tunnel, outdoor musical instruments, a sandpit and other child-friendly activities.
Warnken, of Cincinnati, Ohio, was caring for her maternal grandmother who had dementia and was steadily getting worse.
“I knew she wasn’t going to live a lot longer and I just started seeking out ways to honor her and my grandfather. They loved Indianola so much and had so many great friends and neighbors,” she said.
Warnken connected with Angie Buchanan, the city’s horticulturalist, early on.
Benches and artwork were discussed, but Warnken said those ideas weren’t quite right.
“I liked the idea of doing something nice for the park, but maybe we could find something more in line with what they were all about,” Warnken remembers. “Angie said, ‘Well, ya know, I’ve always had this dream of doing a children’s garden and it hasn’t happened yet.’ She talked about how much seed money it would take to get it started. We agreed it would be a great project and she thought she could get some grants or other donors, so we went all in.”
As far as location goes, the park was an obvious choice, she said.
“It’s a place we spent a lot of time,” Warnken said.
Final details are being completed in anticipation of a ribbon-cutting ceremony, to be held Saturday, Oct. 5, at 10 a.m.
Although Warnken isn’t available this weekend, her father, Vernon Traster, of Indian Lake, Ohio, and brother Marshall Traster, of San Francisco, plan to attend.
“We gave a significant amount of money to get it started,” she said. “I think of it as my grandparents' money, in a way. I think it’s lovely that my mom’s name will be on it, too.”
Warnken’s grandparents were lifelong educators. Her mother and Warnken herself followed in their footsteps.
“We’re all about kids and it’s just a great thing. I love the park and I think it’s a great different thing for the community.”
In the garden, children also can play their way through a life-sized Natureland game.
“There are also planter boxes that have various touch-and-feel plants and vegetables for kids to interact with and learn about, ” Buchanan said.