Gardening in the Racing Capital of the World

Wonder what it is like to garden in the racing capital of the world?

When you live in Indianapolis, you can’t help but learn a little about Indy car racing and race car drivers because of all the media coverage throughout the month of May. No information is deemed too trivial to talk about or write about if it relates somehow to the Indianapolis 500.

Finally it is “race day”. All morning, all three local network stations have been broadcasting extended news coverage from the track to give updates on the traffic, the crowds, the celebrities, and the weather. And this morning, the weathermen are getting the most air time as they try to predict if there will be enough dry weather to run the race.

Yes, we are finally getting much needed rain in central Indiana today. We’ve had some periods of rain since Friday, but now it looks like it is really going to rain. We definitely need this rain and I’m happy to hear it on the roof and see it watering the garden. If we hadn’t gotten this rain, I was going to have to haul out hoses and sprinklers and start watering everything. Ugh, I hate to do that!

But out at “the brickyard”, “the Speedway”, “the 500”, whatever you want to call it, I would guess this rainy day isn’t making anyone happy.

Did you know that the race is blacked out on TV here, so the only way to see it is to either go someplace where it is on TV (anywhere in the rest of the world) or go to the race in person? Growing up around here, we all listened to the race on the radio, and for the longest time I thought that’s what everyone did, until I realized it was live on TV worldwide, but just not for us.

So I’ll listen to the start of the race on the radio. The big highlight will be the singing of the chorus of “Back Home Again in Indiana” as part of the starting ceremonies. Right then, that moment, will signal the beginning of summer for me.

Then I’ll go about my business in the garden, which today, if the rain let’s up, will probably be the business of weeding. I still need to clean out these non-performing forsythia and the weeds that have grown up around them. It has become a terrible mess!

Or maybe I'll paint my garden bench or finally use those 15 bags of mulch that have been piled up on the patio since last fall. But whatever I am doing, and whenever it is dry enough to start the race, I'll stop and listen to the singing of "Back Home Again in Indiana", so I don't miss my own official start of summer.

Back Home Again in Indiana

Back home again in Indiana,
And it seems that I can see
The gleaming candlelight, still shining bright,
Through the sycamores for me.
The new-mown hay sends off its fragrance
Through the fields I used to roam.
When I dream about the moonlight on the Wabash,
How I long for my Indiana home.

If you would like to hear Jim Nabors sing this sacred Hoosier song, accompanied by the Purdue University Marching Band, here's a video. It's the wrong race, but you get the idea...


  1. Since the race is starting 2 hrs later this year, there is still time for it to quit raining. I guess the rain affects people economicaly if you're part of the racing world

  2. Carol, happy race day! We've been getting rain here, too, and although I have work I need to do in the garden, I'm glad for the watering break -- better from the sky than from the hose!

    You know, similarly, because for much of my growing up I heard the National Anthem only at Orioles games, I thought everyone shouted "O!" toward the end of the song. It wasn't until the Barcelona Olympics, when a kayaker from the Baltimore area won a gold medal and his family yelled "O!" during the anthem and the commentators explained why they did that that it dawned on was a baseball-only phenomenon. So that's a little like your radio experience. :-)

  3. How beautiful...I've never heard the song!! I think it is awful they don't televise it in your town...surely they don't think noone would come if they did??
    I've been out in my backyard working on a wee surprise...

  4. Carol,

    I didn't listen to the start of the race, as I was in the movie theatre at the time, but Friday on the radio they were saying that Jim Neighbors was too ill to sing this year, and that the crowd was going to sing instead. Can't imagine it!

  5. Yea for rain! I know you must be grateful to have some at last. I'm still looking forward to seeing that newly purple bench.

  6. He has an amazing voice! I'm so glad you got some rain!

  7. Carol, I hope you got your rain..yes, even on race day! We were blessed with a couple of downpours this evening, but we need much more. I agree that watering is a pain. It takes up valuable time that we could be using to weed, plant or whatever!
    How lucky that you were able to utilize your neighbor's garden. Nice of them to share the space.
    Love that columbine!
    You've done well getting those neat pics of the baby robins. It's such fun to watch them grow and fledge.
    My hubby planted strawberries this year. I can't wait to taste them!

  8. So glad you got your rainy day wish, Carol! The 500 is quite a tradition to grow up with. I'm sure it's like a hometown Super Bowl with all the media coverage.

    And it always amazed me to see that goofy "Gomer Pyle" open his mouth and hear that amazing voice pour forth. Your state song is rather moving, isn't it? We thought ours was boring and old and the state lawmakers recently made "Rocky Mountain High" our new official state song (without actually retiring the old one). There was much debate over whether John Denver was actually talking about getting high as they gathered 'round the campfire. In the end nobody cared because we can all sing it.

    Hope you got to paint the bench or spread the mulch!

  9. Indiana has one of the loveliest state songs I've ever heard and who better to sing it that my fellow Alabamian Jim Nabors ?

    We've had pretty consistent rain here in Chicago and they're predicting mostly sun for Memorial Day.

    Thanks for sharing.

  10. That was great, Carol, and yea for the rain.

    Here are some verses of the song tailored for you -

    A garden grows in Indiana
    Known as May Dreams to us all.
    There Carol swings her hoe,
    Tomatoes grow,
    And the gentle spring rains fall.

    There birds and butterflies are happy!
    There the hungry bunnies roam...
    Just one click and through the magic of computers
    We're at May Dreams, our Indiana home.

    Annie at the Transplantable Rose

  11. Carol, I'm so glad we got the much needed rain. It looks like we have more in the forecast too. The Indy 500 is big, here isn't it? I'm not really into racing, however the rest of my extended family are HUGE Nascar fans.

    Annie, love the poem you wrote for Carol.

  12. Eleanor...Yes, if they have to delay the race even a day, it makes a difference in how much money they make out there.
    Genie... Your "O!" story is a lot like my radio story, thanks for sharing it, now I don't seem so out of touch with the rest of the world.:-)
    Early Bird... It's always been that way that we can only listen to the race on the radio, and it isn't likely to change any time soon. Glad you liked the song!
    Sister with the Homestead... Yes, the song was awful this year because you couldn't hear the crowd singing, just the band.
    Pam/Digging... The rain was wonderful, and they still got the race in, so we all won. But, I ran out of time and haven't painted the bench yet.
    Layanee... Thanks, I'm glad we got some rain, too!
    Kerri... Yes, the rain was wonderful and most welcome. Next year you should have some strawberries. I picked a bowlful today.
    LostRoses...The 500 is quite an event and it brings a lot of people to Indianapolis each year. I got some mulching done but didn't paint my bench, yet.
    Carolyn Gail... Thanks for the comment. Our Monday started cloudy with the threat of rain, but it turned out to be a nice day.
    Annie...You have left me speechless with your lyrics. I love them! Thank you!
    Robin...Welcome back to Indiana. Your family should like the Brickyard 400 NASCAR race her in Indy later this summer.

    Thanks for all the comments!

  13. Annie - that is so cool! It even works with the tune - you are awesome.

  14. Congratulations Carol. You have inspired a song. Not everyone gets that honor.


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