What a fantastic way to spend a summer morning! I have wanted to do a garden tour for forever and I finally made it happen. I went with my long time friend Ruth and we had such a good time! This is the Arboretum’s 32nd annual garden tour and they do a great job. There are several times and dates to choose from for several days mid-July and we chose the first one on Sunday last week. You get on an air-conditioned luxury liner bus (complete with toilet in the back) and are driven to four gardens in the western suburbs. You get about 20-25 minutes in each garden and the owners and/or volunteers are there to answer questions. Then the bus captain rings the bell, we get on the bus to the next location and so on.
We saw the most amazing gardens!! So many different landscapes, some used ponds and waterfalls and others used wash tubs and bathtubs to enhance their gardens. Why I didn’t get a photo of the bathtub I am not sure but there was just so much going on in these gardens that it was hard to capture everything! I think I saw the tub then something else caught my attention and I turned away and forgot the tub.
The first garden contained over 100 varieties of hosta. Hosta grows great in the shade and this garden was all shade. This was the only garden that had labels on most plants. Come and take a look. Click on any photo in the gallery to see a larger image and to scroll through the gallery:
Our next stop was to a house and garden on an 8 acre pond and it boasts many native plants and flowers. Have a look:
Ruth pointed out these wash tubs. Interesting thing to put plants in. Note view of pond.
monarda, bee balm and I love this stunning color!
another bee balm
Wild salvia, another stunning color
nice view of the pond and native plants
lovely planters on the patio
love the colors of this geranium!
geranium up close
The third garden was on a large property and just how large was not in the notes given to us. But the driveway alone felt like several blocks long! I think I’d put this one in second place of my favorite gardens. Many beautiful plants and gorgeous colors.
the largest lily I’ve ever seen! You can’t tell but it’s about 8 inches long!
That’s Queen of the Prairie’s beautiful pink blossoms interspersed with the bee balm and coneflowers
wild strawberries again! I just discovered these at the cabin a couple of weeks ago and here they are again.
no idea what this is but it sure was dainty and beautiful
perhaps some sort of loosestrife?
another beautiful rock garden
I’ve never seen this color of hosta before. I thought it was stunning.
beautiful and bright red astilbe
the house from the very long driveway
view of the pond from the driveway. she had many of these hydrangea lining that section of the driveway
The fourth garden was my favorite. It was a backyard full of many plants and flowers, some I had seen before but there were so many more that I hadn’t ever seen. It also had an interesting “fountain” (is that what you would call it?) carrying water on what appeared to be bamboo tree trunks? And the water went into a pond. I didn’t get a chance to ask anyone about it as the bell rang and we had to get back on the bus. Such a curious thing!
love the shades of green here
not sure what this plant is but it sure was pretty
close-up of the unknown beautiful plant
there were so many wonderful ground covers in every garden
lovely red berries
the bamboo fountain
a monarch happened along
what could this be?? very unusual looking
beautiful scene in this luscious garden
another one: what in the world is this?? very unusual plant
After the tour we headed back to the Arboretum for brunch. It was held on the patio behind the Oswald Visitor Center. And what a lovely setting that was!! Unfortunately I didn’t get photos of any of it. My hands were full with my plate of food, a water bottle and my jacket. And the chair I sat in was up next to a chair from the next table and it was just difficult enough that I didn’t want to bother to get up to take photos. There were beautiful floral arrangements on every table, including the buffet table. They served a frittatta that apparently wasn’t very popular. I thought it was okay but I likely wouldn’t want to have it again. It was accompanied by a cubed potato mixture, both white and sweet potatoes, roasted veggies and dip and a couple of unusual appetizers: sliced apples with “stuff” on them and lengthwise cut cucumber slices with a spicy chutney-type topping. They offered mimosas, plain orange juice, water and coffee. There was another table with fruit and sweets.
The cost of this tour is a bit “spendy” (that’s Minnesotan for expensive) but both Ruth and I thought it was worth it and I’m hoping we go again next year. There were other tours that we looked at but this was the only one where we got taken to the gardens. We could also tour the Arboretum’s gardens but after 3 hours of garden tours in the morning I was too tired to do much else. I highly recommend this tour, especially if you’re a gardener but even if you’re not. It’s a great way to spend a summer morning. You can find more information here:
Minnesota Landscape Arboretum
On our way home we passed Paisley Park. I knew Prince’s complex was nearby and it was easy to spot. It’s on the same highway as the Arboretum. There are still many items on the fence in tribute to Prince and I saw several people there too. People are still mourning our native, much-loved genius musician. He apparently visited the Arb frequently. I would too if I lived only three miles away!
Because this is part of the University of Minnesota I am able to get a discounted membership. I get a few benefits including free admission to the Arboretum. Since we didn’t tour the gardens that day we’ve decided to go back in a few weeks and I can’t wait!! Be on the lookout for that blog post :)
Do you have a favorite of the photos here? I absolutely love the wild salvia. The most brilliant shade of purple I’ve ever seen! Runner up is the close-up of the pink mystery plant. I hope you’ve enjoyed your virtual tour!