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

Twilight in Minder Woods at Chanticleer Garden


At the end of our opening-to-closing day at Chanticleer in early June, Diana and I packed up the wrappings of our picnic dinner (the garden stays open until 8 pm on summer Fridays) and wandered around taking last-minute photos. I meandered through Minder Woods, a small woodland garden adjacent to the Ruin.


On one edge of the woods, a sunny meadow garden shows off flowering perennials and grasses.


Blues and purples and chartreuse green


It makes a cheery welcome to a shady woodland trail.


A narrow, pine-needle-strewn path leads the way.


Hostas and ferns thrive in the dim light under the trees.


An even narrower stepping-stone path leads through leafy groundcovers.


The main path widens about halfway through the woods to make room for a handcrafted bench and another unique plant-list box…


…shaped like shelf fungus on a tree stump! The wooden lid lifts open to reveal the plant list. So clever!


That’s all I have from Minder Woods. But here are a few last images, mainly from the lawns…


…where pairs of chairs entice you to sit and just enjoy the view. Who could resist?


Diana gives one a try.


As I wandered around post-picnic, I also couldn’t resist capturing my fellow picnickers enjoying the garden. Some came with extended family and friends.


Others enjoyed a quiet dinner for two.


It was so peaceful in the soft light of evening, seeing people quietly enjoying the beauty of the place.


So long, Chanticleer. I hope to see you again soon!

I hope you’ve enjoyed these scenes from Chanticleer, a “pleasure garden” in the Philadelphia area. For a look back at the mysterious Ruin Garden, click here. From there you’ll find links, at the end of each post, to the previous posts I’ve written about Chanticleer in early June 2016 (nine in all).

Up next: A tour of lovely Linden Hill Gardens, the nursery and destination gardens where author Nan Ondra of Hayefield works. She gave us a personal tour while we were in the area.

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.

Chanticleer’s eerie, mysterious Ruin Garden


Just before our picnic on the comfy stone sofa (no, really!), Diana and I explored the Ruin Garden at Chanticleer, a “pleasure garden” in Wayne, Pennsylvania.

The Ruin is a folly resembling an old, crumbling house that’s being overtaken by sapling trees, vines, and shrubs — the triumph of nature. But of course it’s all an illusion (the structure was built in 1999), enhanced with clever allusions. A ruined library with stone books entitled Woods, Thank Flora, and Moss reminds us of nature’s ultimate dominance. A dining hall is anchored by a water feature that evokes a banquet table and, disquietingly, a sarcophagus. Marble faces float just underwater in a small fountain, like drowned ghosts. It’s all a bit eerie, but in a magical, fairy-tale-forest sort of way.


Here’s the description from the garden’s website:

“Minder House, built in 1925, is where Adolph Rosengarten, Jr. lived most of his life. In 1999, under the vision and direction of Chanticleer’s Director Chris Woods, the house was razed and construction of the Ruin Garden began. Originally the plan was to use the partially dismantled house as the ruin, but for safety reasons the only part left of the original house is the foundation and the tile ‘rug.'”


Stepping inside, I entered the dining hall. A stone-and-slate mosaic “rug” lies beneath a watery banquet table…or is it a coffin?


A fireplace mantel at one end drips with succulents.


All that’s needed is ‘Sticks on Fire’ euphorbia in the fireplace grate.


The long view across the reflective table


Turning around, you see a room being swallowed by encroaching oaks, vines, ferns, and other opportunists. I wonder how much pruning the staff does to keep the space looking like it’s never been pruned, while still keeping the room somewhat open. Are sapling trees removed when they grow too large? I have questions.


An open window overlooks a sunny meadow.


On the opposite wall, a window frames a visitor strolling by.


It’s impossible to resist these framed views.


But the close-up views are pretty too, like this clematis climbing a stone pillar.


In the next room, a cluster of upright boxwood shrubs fill an open spot in the paving.


Snakebark maples (Acer davidii) sprout from two more paving gaps. At their feet and scattered around what seems to be an old library are stone books and tablets. Berkeley artist Marcia Donahue sculpted the stone artifacts throughout the Ruin.


Reminder reads one. Ex Libris, the other.


Woods — yes, soon


Fossils, Moss…and a curious, leafy face…


…looking right back!


One open book appears to be the story of an oak tree, with stone “acorns” pressed into the pages.


Another leafy face, with purple clematis scampering along the wall


Some engravings are more of a mystery, like Partial Polishment. Huh?


A small fireplace is tucked into one wall of the library, where Agave attenuata and other plants spring from crevices like living art.


A stone arch…


…leads out to a patio with more wall agaves and a tiered box planter filled with succulents.


‘Sharkskin’ agave, bulbine, aeonium, and other succulents fill the boxes, which appear to be made of slate.


A wider view


An old broken pot and metal stand are still serviceable as a succulent planter — a lesson in not throwing anything away.


A third room contains a small fountain and pool (in the corner). On two wooden posts, salvaged chains with buckets are planted with small succulents.


I bet those chains are heavy. Good thing they have sturdy posts on which to hang them.


Rusty metal and succulents are like peanut butter and chocolate. They’re made for each other.


The fountain draws your attention next.


Looking into the water, an unnerving sight…


…marble faces in the water. Smiling, seemingly in repose, they still kind of creep me out.


These two little girls took a good long look.


Just outside the wall, are those shambling ghosts, coming to visit their old home?


No, just weeping Norway spruces (Picea abies ‘Pendula’), but I feel sure they were chosen for their eerie, humanesque appearance.


A mass planting of prairie dropseed (Sporobolus heterolepis) softens one side of the Ruin.


At its edge, flame azalea, pond cypress, and ‘Dallas Blues’ switchgrass (I think) make a pretty combo.


A water fountain with a leaf-shaped basin continues the woodland theme of the Ruin.


On a pillow of prairie dropseed, a large sculpted head slumbers peacefully.


Zzzzzzzzzz


On the folly’s opposite side, a trio of straight-trunked pond cypresses (Taxodium distichum var. imbricatum) frames paving that breaks up into stepping stones as it leaves the Ruin. The path leads into Minder Woods, which I’ll show in my next and final post about this visit to Chanticleer.

Up Next: Chanticleer’s shady Minder Woods and a few parting scenes. For a look back at the gorgeous Gravel 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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