Como Park Conservatory and Japanese Garden: Minneapolis Garden Bloggers Fling


In the South we don’t have many conservatories, probably because our winters aren’t particularly bleak or cold. But I’ve visited a few on my travels to northern states, and on day three of the Minneapolis Garden Bloggers Fling, I got to see another one at Como Park in St. Paul, Minnesota.

Como Park’s 100-year-old glass house is flanked outside by a long, mirror-like, elevated pond bejeweled with water lilies.


A sunken garden fills one wing of the conservatory, with a rill-like pond running down the center and flowering plants on each side.


Photo by Diane McGann

Our group of approximately 60 garden bloggers posed here for the official group photo. I don’t know if it was planned, but a naked woman streaked into the photo with us and then struck a demure pose. Hah! See her?


After the photo, we had only a few minutes to see the garden before it was time to get back on the bus, and I made a beeline for the Japanese Garden. Along the way, I paused to admire several bonsai, including this large eastern white cedar, displayed on a patio.


Jack pine ‘Uncle Fogey’ bonsai


Ponderosa pine too


In the garden itself, their life-size counterparts add height, soft texture, and a sense of age to boulder-edged islands in a koi-filled pond.


A zig-zag bridge of stone planks crosses the pond.


A roofed gate with lattice-style bamboo fencing leads to (I assume) a teahouse. According to Como Park’s website, the Japanese garden’s design was a gift from the people of Nagasaki to the people of its sister city, St. Paul.


What a lovely gift!

Up next: The elegant Tudor-house garden of Marge Hols. For a look back at a streamside garden inspired by Walden, click here.

I welcome your comments; please scroll to the end of this post to leave one. If you’re reading this in a subscription email, click here to visit Digging and find the comment box at the end of each post.
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Flowers and rich foliage at Chanticleer’s Pond Garden


Is any garden feature more alluring to people than a body of water? I think not. As Diana and I emerged from Chanticleer‘s shady, green Asian Woods during our early June visit, the sunlit and flowery Pond Garden greeted us (the pond was hidden from view at first), set off by a verdant lawn leading up to Chanticleer House in the distance. I had to explore!


To orient you, let’s jump across the pond to the uphill side so we can look down on the whole scene. The pond garden looks small from here, but it actually emcompasses a series of small ponds surrounded by coarse, flowering plants and bright and dark foliage combos.


Zooming in for a closer look, let’s admire white waterlilies…


…burgundy-and-gold spuria iris…


…and the sunshine-yellow spires of Carolina lupine (Thermopsis villosa).


The bees like them too.


Friendly koi


White daisies against rusty red Japanese maple


While the pond garden was abloom with early summer flowers, it also showcased beautiful foliage combinations, especially with dramatic contrasts of gold and burgundy.


Like this groundcovering chartreuse bamboo (I think) and burgundy columnar tree.


Lovely


One more


Really, there was gold enough to make King Midas happy.


Trollius chinensis ‘Golden Queen’


Primrose in the foreground


Primrose in sunset hues


Diana stopped to photograph them too.


Coming back around to where I entered the garden, I admired the long view again, with golden foliage and pink phlox in the foreground.


The broadly striped lawn leads up toward the Ruin Garden — and someone’s pointing the way — but I’m not ready to show you that just yet.


A short way upslope from the pond, a stone-pillared arbor offers a shady spot to look out over the ponds. Four throne-like wooden chairs evoke Cair Paravel.


Queen Diana the Adventurous tries one out.


Moving on…


…is that the Stone Table? No, just a stone bench for a couple enjoying the view…


…which is quite nice.


Clematis ‘Huldine’ (if I’ve ID’d it correctly) was shining like moonlight on water.


I hope you’ve enjoyed this tour of Chanticleer’s Pond Garden!

Up Next: Chanticleer’s Tennis Court Garden of gold and white. For a look back at the Elevated Walkway’s meadow garden and the green Asian Woods Garden, click here.

I welcome your comments; please scroll to the end of this post to leave one. If you’re reading this in a subscription email, click here to visit Digging and find the comment box at the end of each post.
_______________________

Digging Deeper: News and Upcoming Events

Do you review? Have you read my new book, The Water-Saving Garden? If you found it helpful or inspirational, please consider leaving a review — even just a sentence or two — on Amazon, Goodreads, or other sites. Online reviews are crucial in getting a book noticed. I really appreciate your help!

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

Up on Chanticleer’s elevated walkway and Asian Woods Garden


From the formal House Garden at Chanticleer, the garden path steps off into space — or rather, onto the new elevated walkway that provides an accessible, curving descent down a sloping meadow of foxtail lilies, feathergrass, bee balm, coneflowers, and other sun lovers.


I visited Chanticleer, a theatrical “pleasure garden” in the Philadelphia area, in early June. For my traveling companion Diana, it was a first visit. For me, it was a long-anticipated return after 8 years. In the interval, I visited the home garden of Berkeley, California, artist Marcia Donahue, whose rooster-combed bamboo sculptures adorn the upper part of Chanticleer’s elevated walkway garden.


“Cockadoodle Booooooo,” one sculpture proclaims — another play on the Chanticleer name (i.e., “rooster”).


I’ve seen Marcia’s ceramic bamboo pieces in several gardens over the years, including at Peckerwood Garden in Hempstead, Texas. They’re very recognizable.


The walkway doubles back on itself like an “S” to descend the slope, offering lovely views across the main lawn, eye-catching with mown stripes. In the distance, a pair of Adirondack chairs occupies the middle of the lawn, and I saw people lounging there for quite a while.


No lounging for us though. There was just too much to see, like these tangerine foxtail lilies (Eremurus x isabellinus ‘Cleopatra’)…


…dainty orange lilies…


…and star-shaped red (and a few pink) flowers, whose name eludes me.


Along the path, the estate’s old apple house still sits on the slope, turned into a burrow-themed playhouse for kids.


The meadow garden in early-summer bloom, with soft-textured Mexican feathergrass making a chartreuse river


Another look


Knautia macedonica and Monarda bradburyana, aka eastern bee balm


One last look up-slope, with the elevated walkway visible at upper-right


At the bottom, a spiraling seat wall and stone path make a focal point for the transition.


At this point, the day was getting warm, but as we headed downhill we soon found a handcrafted water fountain, one of Chanticleer’s many utilitarian-items-turned-work-of-art. Notice how water fills the leafy carvings in the stones at its base.


Now we entered the cool, green shade of the Asian Woods garden. Here’s my visit from 8 years ago.


Groves of bamboo create a tranquil mood with their soft rustling.


Adirondacks, painted to match, are dwarfed by tall culms.


A restroom tucked behind a stand of bamboo resembles a Japanese house, and inside a pretty art tile continues the Asian theme.


I imagine the staff, just before opening each day, as garden fairies darting here and there to float flowers in water bowls, like these dogwood blossoms in a hollowed-out stone.


Carolina allspice (Calycanthus floridus)


Chanticleer doesn’t clutter the view with plant labels. If you want to ID a plant, you can look around for one of the whimsically crafted plant-list boxes, made during the garden’s winter closure by multi-talented staff members. Notice the little hand-shaped latch.


Likewise, an artfully constructed stair rail of wriggly branches


‘Forest Pansy’ redbud, I think, arching over a stepping-stone path through a mossy glade.


A bridge with an organically “footed” wooden railing spans a small stream. From here, the nearby Pond Garden in all its exuberant floral glory beckoned, and off we went.

Up Next: Chanticleer’s colorful Pond Garden. For a look back at the formal House Garden, click here.

I welcome your comments; please scroll to the end of this post to leave one. If you’re reading this in a subscription email, click here to visit Digging and find the comment box at the end of each post.
_______________________

Digging Deeper: News and Upcoming Events

Do you review? Have you read my new book, The Water-Saving Garden? If you found it helpful or inspirational, please consider leaving a review — even just a sentence or two — on Amazon, Goodreads, or other sites. Online reviews are crucial in getting a book noticed. I really appreciate your help!

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

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