The Garden Bloggers Fling in Minneapolis is shaping up to be a fun event, where you’ll see the wide range of Minnesota gardens, from historic city yards to unique rural gardens. We’re still working out details (and we have a couple more gardens we hope to squeeze in), but here’s a sneak peek at what you’ll be enjoying in Minneapolis come July.
Thursday, July 14 Welcome to Minnesota! If you are flying in, there is light rail service from both Twin Cities terminals (Lindbergh and Humphrey) to downtown. A cab ride will cost about $35. Check in at the Loew’s Hotel and join us for our Welcome Event (details to come).
DAY 1: Friday, July 15
Today we’ll stay on the Minneapolis side of the Twin Cities. We start the day touring two beautiful public gardens near one of Minneapolis’ famous lakes. First, we’ll got to the Eloise Butler Wildflower Garden, the oldest native-plant garden in the United States, established and designed by pioneering horticulturist Eloise Butler in 1907. The garden features woodland, wetland and prairie habitats and is home to more than 130 species of birds.
Then, we ride around the lake to visit Lyndale Park Gardens, located just a short ride from Eloise Butler on the shores of Lake Harriet. The gardens include a rose collection, northern perennial garden and the Peace Garden, a small Japanese style garden that is a favorite among city residents seeking a moment of quiet or a beautiful place to take a picture.
While we are in south Minneapolis, we’ll stop at two fabulous private gardens. Then, on to lunch hosted by Bachman’s, one of the oldest garden centers in the Twin Cities, known for its three-times a year makeovers of the old Bachman’s homestead into an “idea house.” We’ll enjoy a salad lunch, talk with Karen Bachman Thull about trends in gardening and have a chance to shop.
Refreshed, we’ll board the buses for Noerenberg Memorial Gardens, on the shores of Lake Minnetonka. Built on the estate of Frederick Noerenberg, founder of Grain Belt Beer, the garden sits on Maxwell Bay and features formal and informal beds. Noerenberg will arrange to have gardeners in the garden to answer questions about the garden and its history.
We’ll spend an hour at Noerenberg before taking a short ride to the private garden of Steve Kelley and Arla Carmichiel. Talk about a gardening power couple – Arla Charmichiel is the horticulturist at Noerenberg Gardens and her husband, Steve Kelly, owns Kelley and Kelley Nursery, an exceptional nursery only a short drive from the Noerenberg Gardens. We’ll have time to explore Arla and Steve’s beautiful private garden, and if you wish, you can walk across the street and see some of the unusual plants Kelley and Kelley offers.
We’ll get you back to the hotel with plenty of time to rest and freshen up before the Happy Hour sponsored by Garden Design magazine. Dinner is on your own and we’ll have a list of nearby restaurants to check out. Or, if you are sports-minded, wander over to Target Field, where the Twins will be playing the Cleveland Indians!
DAY 2: Saturday, July 15
We go into the suburbs and the outskirts of Minneapolis to see the wide array of gardening styles.
On our way, we’ll stop at Vera’s Garden, one of the many community gardens in the Twin Cities. This exceptional community garden backs up to the Midtown Greenway, a 5-mile bike route that runs through the heart of Minneapolis and is a favorite of both recreational and commuter bikers. The steep slopes on the side of the greenway have been shaped into ornamental and vegetable beds, largely by a crew of volunteers.
Next, we head to Hopkins and the lakes west of town to visit six private gardens in the western suburbs of the Twin Cities. These range from smaller yards in neighborhoods from the 1940s to large, park-like spaces. What the gardeners all have in common is that they are Master Gardeners. Along the way, we’ll stop for a box lunch.
In the mid-afternoon, we’ll visit to Springwood Gardens, the home of Karol Emmerich’s daylily breeding operation and display garden. The colors will amaze you as we visit this large daylily garden, filled with daylilies Karol has created as well as those she just loves. Home, Karol will greet, give a brief talk about her daylilies and then give time for photographing and enjoying the grounds, which are located on a wind swept hill above the prairie.
Our next stop is the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum. We’ll have our group photo taken and have time to tour the arboretum, which is one of the largest in the Midwest. The folks at the arboretum are planning some special presentations for us, but since this is such a large space, there will also be lots of time for you to explore the specialty gardens on your own to take photos. All the plants here look gorgeous and they all have identification tags! It’s a great opportunity to get those plant glamour shots for your blog.
We’ll stay at the arboretum for our Fling Banquet, which will be a Minnesota-themed buffet dinner with drinks and lots of prizes and giveaways.
DAY 3: Sunday, July 17
Today, we go east to St. Paul and then into the wilds of Wisconsin
We start the day at Como Park Japanese Garden and Conservatory. This 100-year-old conservatory is the go-to refuge from winter cold in the Twin Cities. It features palms, banana trees and other tropical plants under an historic dome. Outside, we will have a chance to tour the park’s Japanese Garden with horticulturist Tina Dombrowski available to answer questions.
Then, we’ll visit some of the beautiful private gardens of St. Paul, including Marge Hols’ home garden. Marge is the dean of garden writers in St. Paul, and her home garden compliments beautifully the old-fashioned charm of her Summit Avenue home. If you have a few minutes after touring Marge’s garden, walk up and down Summit to see the old mansions (Minnesota’s Governor’s Mansion is about two blocks away.) We’ll also see Lee and Jerry Shannon’s garden. Named one of the five best gardens in the Twin Cities, this one is deceptive. From the front, the Shannons’ house looks like a typical bungalow on a city lot. But, behind it is a two-third acre plant haven, featuring a rock garden, a formal garden, a gazebo and an impressive conifer collection. Lee and Jerry are a delight and love sharing their garden with others.
Our next stop is for lunch at Bailey’s Display Garden. Meet the folks behind Easy Elegance roses, First Editions shrubs and perennials and Endless Summer hydrangeas. The Bailey family has been growing and selling plants in Minnesota (and far beyond!) for three generations. We’ll enjoy lunch in their lovely display garden in Cottage Grove.
After lunch, we’ll visit Afton, a quaint river town that is home to Squire House Gardens, one of Minnesota’s many independently owned garden shops. This one in tiny Afton is located in an old house with formal and casual gardens around it. Owner Martin Stern will share some of his favorite design tips. We may also have a few minutes to wander around Afton. Depart 2:20 for drive to Beldenville, Wis.
After this stop, we’ll drive through western Wisconsin to Woutrina DeRaad’s Mosaic Sculpture Park and Garden. We may have saved the best for last. This private garden and sculpture park is difficult to describe – it’s like stepping into another world. Riana, the owner and creator, is an artist in tile and in plants. We’ll have an hour to explore this amazing space.
We hope you’ll join us for the Minneapolis Fling! Register today and stay tuned for more details to come.