Last week, Visit Hendricks County lost another tourism pioneer when Karen Robbins, the founder and owner of Avon Gardens, passed away after a three-year battle with multiple myeloma.

Karen opened the gardens decades ago as a passion project and loved sharing her gardening advice and display gardens with travelers and residents alike.

Leaving a LegacyBusiness Leader cover featuring Karen Robbins

In 2000, she began hosting weddings in the gardens, eventually adding more permanent structures, and now 23 years later, more than 2,000 couples have started their lives together on the former hog farm she salvaged in 1987.

This destination has become a symbol for what can be accomplished when a person has a vision and the know-how and is willing to put in the hard work to make a dream become a reality.

Often featured in local and regional travel publications, including Midwest Living, Avon Gardens was most recently named the 2021 Best of the Midwest Garden Shop and was described as a place that ‘melds inspiring display gardens, retail outlets and events space into one sanctuary…a mini-Eden in Indiana.’

We even put together a photo tour to experience the gardens virtually

Celebration of LifeTake a moment to honor Karen by visiting and enjoying her Avon Gardens

Future services are being planned for Oct. 15 to celebrate Karen's life, and I’d encourage you to follow the Avon Gardens Facebook page for more information.

Visit Hendricks County is grateful for the beauty Karen shared with the community and visitors by opening the gardens.

Her passion led to beautiful memories being made by couples starting their lives with weddings, celebrating milestone graduations and anniversaries or simply enjoying a stroll through the grounds.

I would encourage you, whether you have been to Karen's Avon Gardens creation or not, to go there and take the time to walk through this amazing Hendricks County destination. I promise you will be inspired by its beauty, awestruck by its attention to detail and moved by the creator who put her life and soul into a landmark that we all hope will live on for future generations to see and experience.