Scenes from Minneapolis gardens, sightseeing, and bloggers: Minneapolis Garden Bloggers Fling

This is my 10th post about the recent Minneapolis Garden Bloggers Fling, and I have two more coming up that cover one very special garden. Even so, I won’t have shown you every garden we visited. There were just too many! But here are a few images from three other gardens, as well as some Minneapolis sights and blogger friends.

Lee & Jerry Shannon Garden

The St. Paul garden of Lee and Jerry Shannon surprises you, appearing rather small from the street but then, in back, stretching on and on to two-thirds of an acre. In mid-July, it was bright with flowering lilies…


…and yarrow studded with poppy seedheads.

A carved-wood goat sculpture cavorts atop a garden shed’s green roof.

Elsewhere, a small pond is nearly hidden under iris and waterlily leaves.

I was pleased to meet Mary Schier of My Northern Garden here. Mary, in the white striped shirt, put together the jam-packed itinerary for the Fling, but she missed attending due to a death in the family. She was able to say a quick hello to the Flingers at the Shannon garden. That’s her co-planner Amy Andrychowicz of Get Busy Gardening! on the right.

Nancy Guldberg Garden

We enjoyed a relaxing lunch one day in Nancy Guldberg’s back garden overlooking Lake Minnetonka.

With an upper deck overlooking the lake and an inviting play lawn and grandchild-friendly garden below, the place is lake living at its finest.

This small area proved the most fascinating part of the garden for many of the bloggers, myself included. Nancy and her children and grandchildren have composed vignettes out of small objects and figurines placed amid the plants, each representing special moments in their lives. One composition, for example, shows family members watching a movie outdoors in an aunt’s garden. Miniature lounging people gaze at a tiny screen showing a scene from Prince’s movie Purple Rain. Each charming and creative vignette serves as a scrapbook memory about the family.

Vera’s Garden

Vera’s Garden is a community garden along the Midtown Greenway and bike path in Minneapolis.

Seeing what dedicated volunteers can create out of a neglected urban space on a minimal budget is eye-opening.

Today it’s a beautiful strip of flowers, trees, and shrubs that passing bikers as well as nearby apartment dwellers can enjoy.

Bloggers and Minneapolis sightseeing

Aside from seeing lots of gardens, getting to know new bloggers and reconnecting with longtime blogging friends is what makes the Fling such a fun event. Here are a few pictures from our opening night reception.

Southern gals: Karin of Southern Meadows (Georgia), Dee of Red Dirt Ramblings (Oklahoma), Jean of Dig, Grow, Compost, Blog (Louisiana), and Gail of Clay and Limestone (Tennessee).

Texans Diana of Sharing Nature’s Garden and Susan of The Bicycle Garden, along with 1st-time attendee Sarah of Recreational Gardener (Minnesota).

Northern gals: Joanne of Down2Earth (Canada); last year’s co-host of the Toronto Fling, Helen of Toronto Gardens (Canada); and Beth of Plant Postings (Wisconsin).

And a troop of happy Flingers from all over. Front row, left to right: Minneapolis Fling co-host Amy of Get Busy Gardening! (Minnesota), Lisa of Natural Gardening (North Carolina), Janet of The Queen of Seaford (South Carolina) and Julie of Garden Delights (South Carolina). Back row, left to right: Shawn and Laurin of Ravenscourt Gardens (Texas), Bren of Creative Living and Growing with Bren (Ohio), and co-host Kathleen of 29 Minute Gardener (Minnesota).

Our hotel was located in the heart of downtown Minneapolis, where there were plenty of sights to see, including this colorful Bob Dylan mural.

Just down the block was First Avenue nightclub, where hometown hero Prince filmed a scene for his movie Purple Rain. The club’s black exterior walls are gridded with painted silver stars bearing musicians’ names. After Prince died, his star was painted gold and attracts throngs of fans who take selfies in front of it.

I’ve been a Prince fan since 1999 in the early ’80s. I love Lucinda Williams too, and she also has a star.

My friend Diana and me — well, you know a couple of Austinites are gonna love another music town like Minneapolis!

Up next: Part one of my final garden visit from the Minneapolis Fling, sculptor and mosaic artist Wouterina De Raad’s garden. For a look back at Noerenberg Memorial Gardens, the Kelley-Carmichiel Garden, and Kelley & Kelley Nursery’s display garden, click here.

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All material © 2006-2016 by Pam Penick for Digging. Unauthorized reproduction prohibited.

Belting It Out along the boardwalk on Lady Bird Lake

I’ve walked the hike-and-bike trail around Lady Bird Lake in downtown Austin many times. But on Saturday, for the first time, I walked the relatively new boardwalk portion of the trail (completed in 2014), which starts east of the Congress Avenue Bridge and ends at International Shores Park on South Lakeshore Boulevard, just east of I-35.

My daughter joined me, and we only intended to explore a little way. But the morning was as soft as a cloud, and the temperature pleasantly cool, so we kept going all the way to the 1st Street Bridge. Along the way we stopped to watch herons, turtles, and ducks galore, as well as rowing crews skimming across the water.

It was a beautiful day, and I enjoyed the relative quiet of this end of the trail, as well as the new perspective on downtown Austin.

All along the boardwalk, lifelike sculptures of tooled leather, western-style belts are attached to the steel handrails, each engraved with a lyric from a country song. I got caught up in discovering each one and trying to remember how each song goes and who sang it. As I later learned, there are 36 cast-bronze belts, which make up a public art project commissioned by the City of Austin called Belting It Out. Artist Ken Little created them, using lyrics from songs by well-known Texas singers and songwriters.

Here are my favorites I spotted along the way, starting with (of course) a Willie Nelson hit. Pictured above: Pancho was a bandit, boys, from “Pancho and Lefty” by Townes Van Zandt. Willie Nelson and Merle Haggard made it a hit.

The road goes on forever and the party never ends, from “The Road Goes on Forever,” Robert Earl Keen

In dreams I walk with you, from “In Dreams,” Roy Orbison

My love is bigger than a Cadillac, from “Not Fade Away,” Buddy Holly

Blue light was my baby, red light was my mind, from “Love in Vain,” Robert Johnson

Me upon my pony on my boat, from “If I Had a Boat,” Lyle Lovett

I wanna go home with the armadillo, from “London Homesick Blues,” Gary P Nunn

Hey Baby, que paso?, from “(Hey Baby) Que Paso,” The Texas Tornados

Gonna get me a mojo hand, from “Mojo Hand,” Lightnin’ Hopkins

Crazy for cryin’, crazy for trying’, from “Crazy,” Willie Nelson. Also a Patsy Cline hit.

La ti da!!, from “La Ti Da,” Marcia Ball

Como la flor con tanto amor, from “Como La Flor,” Selena

Too old to die young, from “Till’ I’m Too Old To Die Young,” Moe Bandy

Amarillo by morning, from “Amarillo by Morning,” George Strait

Alla en el rancho grande, from “Alla En El Rancho Grande,” traditional

Wind me up! Watch me go!, from “Wind Me Up,” Terri Hendrix

Take the ribbon from your hair, from “Help Me Make It Through the Night,” Kris Kristofferson

She needs wide open spaces, from “Wide Open Spaces,” Dixie Chicks

Here’s my own Dixie chick enjoying the wide open spaces of Lady Bird Lake. You will too. Go walk it.


Upcoming Events and News

My new book, The Water-Saving Garden: How to Grow a Gorgeous Garden with a Lot Less Water, comes out tomorrow! Click the link for more info and, if you like, to order online from the retailer of your choice. Check back next Monday for a book-release blog party with lots of giveaways of water-saving gardening items!

Join me for my kick-off garden talk this Saturday, February 27, at 10 am, at The Natural Gardener nursery in southwest Austin. My talk is called “Hold the Hose! How to Make Your Garden Water Thrifty and Beautiful,” and it’s free to the public. Afterward I’ll have signed books available for purchase ($20 each, includes tax) and will be glad to autograph one for you! Dress for the weather, as the talk will be held in the big tent outside.

Look for me on Instagram as pamdigging. See you there!

All material © 2006-2016 by Pam Penick for Digging. Unauthorized reproduction prohibited.

Autumn color at Barton Creek

Fall finally arrives in Austin along with the holiday celebrations. The quiet beauty of Barton Creek overhung with mellow-leaved trees, with Lady Bird Lake in the distance, caught my eye as we walked to the Zilker Tree Lighting yesterday evening.

Cedar elms, flameleaf sumacs, and crepe myrtles in their autumn finery will compete with Christmas lights for a few days more, but they won’t last. Enjoy them now, fellow Austinites.

All material © 2006-2015 by Pam Penick for Digging. Unauthorized reproduction prohibited.