Elegant garden of St. Paul writer Marge Hols: Minneapolis Garden Bloggers Fling


A lovely Tudor-style home on St. Paul’s historic Summit Avenue, just down the block from the Minnesota Governor’s Mansion, was a stop on day three of the Minneapolis Garden Bloggers Fling.


It’s the home of gardening columnist Marge Hols, who welcomed us and immediately set us loose to explore at our own pace. I gravitated to the rear garden, entering through a wrought-iron gate adorned with a succulent wreath.


The back of the house is U-shaped with the addition of an elegant sun porch on the left and screened porch on the right, with a small patio filling the space between. To the right…


…an armillary anchors a small formal garden loosened up with prairie-native purple coneflower.


A flagstone path leads to a side garden…


…that’s naturalistic with ferns and other shade lovers. Peggy Anne Montgomery of American Beauties Native Plants and her husband, Dan Benarcik of Chanticleer (he’s in charge of the Teacup Garden), make a cute couple.


Of course I couldn’t resist peeking into Marge’s sun porch.


This room must be a garden-lover’s lifeline during Minnesota’s colder seasons.


In the sunny rear corner of the lot, a colorful flower garden is lush with daylilies…


…daisies…


…bee balm and clematis.


A pretty urn in the center of the garden makes a classic focal point.


It’s a charming space, and very liveable.


Thanks to Marge for sharing her lovely garden with us.

Up next: The formal Squire House Gardens in nearby Afton. For a look back at the grand conservatory and serene Japanese Garden at Como Park, 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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All material © 2006-2016 by Pam Penick for Digging. Unauthorized reproduction prohibited.

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.
_______________________

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.

Minnesota Landscape Arboretum: Minneapolis Garden Bloggers Fling


Our Minneapolis Fling banquet dinner — an opportunity to dine with blogging friends, win amazing giveaway prizes from sponsors, and listen to entertaining anecdotes and announcements from organizers — was held at the end of the second day, at the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum. Time was short before the dinner, so I darted into the garden with a few friends to see as much as I could in 45 minutes.


The north-country beauty of gardens on sunlight and rainwater steroids was showcased at the entrance, with lush perennial beds accented with flowering shrubs and small trees.


Daylilies and Oriental lilies were blooming alongside hydrangeas and black-eyed Susans.


Really, what wasn’t in bloom?


Ka-pow! Lily power!


Purple coneflowers were looking good too.


Summery containers…


…and color-block plantings of annuals jazzed up the intimate entry plaza.


Exiting the main building onto a shady rear patio, I saw this unusual sculpture of three women dancing atop a fourth woman, curled on her side in a fetal position. What in the world?! Ah, an engraved title explains: they represent the seasons, with Spring, Summer, and Fall frolicking atop poor, hibernating Winter.


This small formal garden awash in pink flowering shrubs and perennials was overlooked by a…a…a giant spider! The spider and many other super-sized bug sculptures are part of Big Bugs, a traveling exhibit that I’ve seen at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center and San Antonio Botanical Garden.


Maybe it’s a daddy longlegs, not a true spider, now that I think about it. At any rate, I’m glad not to be bug-sized myself.


More pinks


Rhode Island blogger Layanee, whose own garden I’d had the pleasure of visiting just a week earlier, cools her heels as a Big Bugs damselfly rests nearby.


I was pointing my lens left and right, trying to take it all in, like this freckled lily with crimson bee balm behind it.


The blond-flag seedheads of grama grass, with feathery, yellow-green amsonia foliage


Flowering blackberry lilies


Their maroon-red freckles are echoed by crimson bee balm.


A closer look


This lovely pool and fountain caught my eye as well.


Flowering plants in purple, silver, and yellow give it a Mediterranean look.


Echinops — so cute and spiny!


Cypress vine rambling along a low lattice fence adds cottage charm.


An arching tunnel of foliage offers a shady place to sit.


Lurking near a stand of blackberry lilies, a giant wooden wheel bug stands ready to take out garden pests.


In a shady spot, a spider in a Shelob-sized web hangs between two trees. Although Big Bugs may seem a little scary, especially if you’re already a bit shy of bugs and spiders, they represent beneficial insects that help us control plant-eating pests in our gardens.


Moving on, we headed into a restful, green Japanese garden.


The branch-constructed gate was open: come on in.


A dramatic waterfall spills into a koi pool in the heart of the garden.


Sculptural pines, boulder islands, and a stone lantern complete the scene.


But now it was time to head back to the main building for dinner with friends old and new.


I leave you with a final image from the beautiful gardens at the MN Landscape Arboretum.

Up next: Dynasty Drive flowery goodness plus a bonus garden not on the official itinerary. For a look back at the daylily-breeding farm of Springwood Gardens, 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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