Sunken Gardens, located on 27th and Capitol Parkway in Lincoln, NE, is home to over 30,000 annuals and perennials that are planted and maintained according to annual thematic designs. Sunken Gardens is listed in the "300 Best Gardens to Visit in the United States and Canada” by National Geographic Guide to Public Gardens and is the only such garden in the state of Nebraska to appear on the list. Located in the upper west side of the site, the Healing Garden (also known as White Garden) mirrors the White Garden at Sissinghurst Castle in Kent, England.
Backstory and Context
Construction of Sunken Gardens began in the fall of 1930 as part of a city program to help unemployed men find work during the Great Depression. Lincoln Park Superintendent E.M. Blair explained that "I expect to make this spot the most beautiful place in the city, either in or out of the parks. The ground lends itself perfectly to the making of a sunken garden, and at the same time a spot rich in beauty, at a small expense."
The garden was completed by 1931 with over shrubs and trees in full bloom. Workers averaged about $6.40 per week (two shifts per week) and the total cost of the project totaled approximately $2500.00. Minor improvements were made to the site in the ensuing decades but it was until 2003 that Sunken Gardens received a much needed renovation. Work at the site was completed during the summer of 2005 with the help of a $1.7 campaign led by the Lincoln Parks Foundation.