Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Minneapolis Fling Preview: Cactus in Minnesota?

Prickly pear in bloom in the Shannon garden.
Believe it or not, Minnesota has a native cactus. The plains prickly pear, which sprouts a pretty, bright yellow flower in mid-summer, is native to our northern climate. Garden bloggers may get a chance to see this northern cactus in bloom at the garden of Lee and Jerry Shannon in St. Paul, which we will visit on Sunday, July 17.

The Shannons' L-shaped lot includes formal spaces, a conifer collection and a rock garden.
The Shannons' garden is tucked behind their house in the Highland Park neighborhood in St. Paul. From the front, the yard seems to be a standard city lot. But when you walk behind the house, a two-thirds of an acre oasis emerges. The Shannons' lot is shaped like an L with secret passages to walk along, a large raised rock garden and impeccably cared for perennials, annuals and shrubs.

The Shannon garden covers two-thirds of an acre, lushly planted.
The garden was named one of the five best gardens in Minnesota by the Minneapolis Star-Tribune in 2011, and we think you will agree this is a hidden gem, even with its prickly elements.

There are still spots open for the Minneapolis Fling, click here to register today! We hope you will join us!

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Minneapolis Fling Preview: Riana's Sculpture Garden

One of the most spectacular gardens that we will visit during the Minneapolis Garden Bloggers Fling is the garden and sculpture park created and nurtured by Wouterina (Riana) de Raad in Beldenville, Wis., about 30 miles from the Twin Cities. This unique garden is so worth the drive that we had to take you to see it. It's like no other garden you have ever seen -- a large rural landscape filled with unusual sculptures, mysterious paths and lush plantings. Riana created it all.

A mosaic artist, Riana has planted large sculptures throughout her gardens: fish benches, huge birds, mermaids, larger than life human figures -- all done in brightly colored mosaics. Much of the furniture is also mosaic.

Riana's art is influenced by her childhood spent in Java, where she grew up the daughter of Dutch parents. She was a fiber artist until she moved to the farm, which had been previously occupied by potters. When they were unhappy with a piece, they would throw it against a tree. Riana picked up the pieces of their broken art and used them to create her garden. The garden is open two days a week during the summer. (She's opening it exclusively to our group on Sunday, the final day of the Fling.)

There are still spots available for the Minneapolis fling. Please register soon to reserve yours. 

Hiding behind the fleece flower, a pink flamingo

Monday, March 14, 2016

Minneapolis Fling: Who's Coming?

Wondering who's going to be coming to Minneapolis/St. Paul for the Fling this year? Here's the list of bloggers who have registered so far.


Helen Battersby                  Toronto Gardens
Margaret Mishra                 Homegrown-Adventures
Joanne Shaw                       Down2Earth


United States:

Jim Peterson                         Garden Design
Kelly Kilpatrick                      Floradora Gardens

Brandon Coppin                   Botanical Interests

Barbara Wise                        Bwise Gardening

Peggy Anne Montgomery    American Beauty Native Plants

Keri Byrum                          Miss Smarty Plants

Karin Hicks                          Southern Meadows

Mary Ann Newcomer           Gardens of the Wild West

Jason B Kay                          Garden in a City
Judy Hertz                             Garden in a City

Cheryl Allen                        Woodchuck Acres

Melissa Peterson                  Artsy Garden Girl

Jean McWeeney                   Dig Grow Compost Blog 

Susan Harris                         Garden Rant

Amy Murphy                        Of Gardens
Rebecca Warner                    The Sustainable-Enough Garden
Pat Leuchtman                     Commonweeder

Nancy Patterson                   Garden 337
Jill Ongley                            Jellyfish Bay
Mark Osgerby                      Greenhouse Glass 

Amy Andrychowicz            Get Busy Gardening! and Savvy Gardening
Kathleen Hennessy             29 Minute Gardener
Mary Schier                        My Northern Garden
Laurie Gaudino                   Gardening Junky
Beth Billstrom                    More Than Oregano
Jennifer Ebeling                 6ftmama
Sarah Joseph                      Recreational Gardener

Chris Link                         Nature Hills

North Carolina:
Lisa Wagner                        Natural Gardening

Bren Haas                             Creative Growing and Living With Bren

Dee Nash                             Red Dirt Ramblings

Rhode Island:
Layanee DeMerchant           Ledge and Gardens

South Carolina:
Janet Ledebuhr                      The Queen of Seaford
Julie Thompson-Adolf          Garden Delights

Gail Eichelberger                  Clay and Limestone

Diana C Kirby                      Sharing Natures Garden
Andrea Fox                          Grow Where You're Planted
Pam Penick                          Digging
Laura Wills                          Wills Family Acres
Ally Stresing                        Garden Ally
Vicki Blachman                   Playin Outside
Laurin Lindsey                    Ravens Court Gardens
Shawn Michael                    Ravens Court Gardens
Caroline Homer                   Shovel Ready Garden
Chris Giaraffa                      Running Gardener
Susan Tomlinson                 The Bicycle Garden
Rebecca Schroeder              Rebecca's Retreat

Tammy Schmitt                   Casa Mariposa
Gryphon Corpus                  Southern Exposure 

Jenny Prince                        American Meadows
Wendy Hatoum                    American Meadows

Megan Cain                         Creative Vegetable Gardener
Beth Stetenfeld                    Plant Postings

There are still spots available for the 2016 Garden Bloggers Fling in Minneapolis/St. Paul! Come Fling with us.

 Click here to register now!

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Minneapolis Fling Preview: Noerenberg Gardens

Minneapolis is a city of lakes, and one of the beautiful public gardens we will visit during the Minneapolis Fling, July 14-17, is Noerenberg Gardens on the shores of Crystal Bay on Lake Minnetonka. This garden, now part of the Three Rivers Park District, was once the estate of Frederick Noerenberg, founder of the Grain Belt Brewery. (Yes, this is the garden beer built!)

The garden was influenced by English Landscape Style, and originally featured tiered rose beds and impeccably manicured lawns. The Noerenbergs were world travelers with an appreciation for natural artifacts, many of which ended up in the garden. The Noerenberg's daughter, Lora Noerenberg Hoppe, was chief horticulturist at the garden for many years. After her death in 1972, the garden was given to the Three Rivers Park District.

In mid-July, the gardens will be alive with color with daylilies, monarda, phlox, astilbe, allium and many other perennials in full bloom. In addition, the annual gardens should be taking off.
There will be gardeners present in the garden during our hour-long visit to fill us in on the history and plantings in the garden. This will be a great opportunity to take in the lake views, admire the blooms, walk the paths and take lots of pictures.

After visiting Noerenberg Gardens, we are in for a special treat! We'll be visiting the nearby home garden of Arla Carmichiel, horticultural supervisor of the garden. Arla and her husband, nurseryman Steve Kelley, have a gorgeous home garden to stroll through. For plant lovers (and isn't that all of us), Kelley and Kelley Nursery is right across the street from Arla and Steve's home. You may have a chance to sneak over to check out Steve's extremely well-curated collection of plants for shade and sun.

There are still spots open in the fling! Please join us for this great weekend of visiting gardens of the North.

Photos courtesy of Derek J. Dickinson/Three Rivers Park District