Category Archives: Gardening

Water lilies at Como Park

Every summer about the end of July, beginning of August there blooms these exotic water lilies in ponds near the conservatory at Como Park.  I don’t always remember to go look at them but something on my phone reminded me that the last time I photographed them was 8/1/15.  In fact, I created a post about that visit. Do check it out, I think you’ll like it.

I had been thinking about these gorgeous flowers but didn’t take the next step to go look at the dates on the photos to remember when they bloom.  Instead I was reminded via current technology.  Smart phones are great tools!!

And so I give you this year’s version of the dazzling beauties that are the water lilies at Como Park in St. Paul Minnesota.  I hope you enjoy!

One last one full size on its own. I’m so glad I got to see them this year!

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University of Minnesota Trial Garden 2017

My next posts are going to be mainly photos.  I’ve been taking many so far this summer.  Many are from my walks either about campus or in my neighborhood.

This post contains photos of the trial garden at the University of Minnesota St. Paul campus.  It’s a perfect place to take a break at work and I walk there periodically throughout spring, summer and fall.  Have a look-see of some early summer blooms and plants, even a bunch of grapes. I didn’t know the vine that grows there is a grape vine. I wonder how those grapes taste.

I hope you’ll come back next week to see more summer blooms.  Enjoy!!

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Minnesota Landscape Arboretum – a summer visit

Most folks here in the twin cities know about the Arboretum and I had heard about it but, for some reason, I didn’t make it out there until I had been living here 25 years. I finally got to see it in person last year.  Since I work for the University of Minnesota I get emails from all kinds of different departments and luckily for me, the Landscape Arboretum was in that stack. I took advantage of the employee discount and became a member last year.  It is well worth the price.

What caught my eye last year in one of the emails was a garden tour.  I asked my friend Ruth if she’d be interested, she said yes and we had a marvelous time.  Ruth and I were just commenting on what fun that was last year and we decided to go again next year.  It’s a tour of fabulous gardens near the Arboretum.  I wrote about it so do check out the link to see more gorgeous blooms and plants from the southwestern suburbs of the twin cities.

We have been trying to go back to see more of the Arboretum because we didn’t get a chance to last year.  After our garden tour we got treated to a nice brunch on their patio and it was a bit warm and we were tuckered out from our busy morning so decided to come back another time. Well, it took almost a year to get back but we were so glad that we did!!  Oh my goodness, it takes your breath away.  Beautiful plants and flowers everywhere and it goes on for miles.  There are many gardens surrounding the visitor center that are easy to get to on foot.  Click here to see the map.

There are many types of gardens to explore: roses,  lilies and day lilies, herbs, annuals and perennials. There is a Japenese garden that we didn’t get to. We checked out the wildflower garden. It must have been between bloom times as we didn’t see any wildflowers but we did see a handful of turkeys! After wandering around on foot, we got in the car and explored even more on the 3 mile drive. There is a trolley that you could ride as well. There are more gardens in these outer areas of the Arb and I’d like to go back to see the Sculpture and Maze gardens. It’s utterly amazing all the plants and trees that are there! You really can’t see everything in one visit, so return I must.   It is now on my “must do” list for twin cities visitors.  There’s a reason it won the best botanical garden contest recently.  Please have a look at what we saw on a summer afternoon in July.  I hope you’ll enjoy!

First some roses, clematis and some annuals and perennials too.

I took some photos of the grounds as well.  There were rows and rows of gorgeous lilies of all types and just general beauty everywhere.

Now for the rest of what I selected to display.  I took 86 photos so I had to trim it down a little.  If you’ve never been to the Arb and you live here, do make it a point to visit.  I guarantee you’ll enjoy it.  And if you’re visiting the twin cities, same instructions. You won’t be disappointed! Check out more information at this link.  There is so much to explore there and I can’t wait to go back again.

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Spring 2017

I better get a post in before May ends! My poor little blog.  I’ve neglected you so….. Without further ado, here are some of my best spring photos.  Included in my gallery are my first and second rhubarb crisps this year with two different recipes.  My rhubarb plant always does very well.  I hope you enjoy!!

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Orchids at the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum

Dag nab it! I missed the orchid display at the Marjorie McNeely Conservatory this year.  I guess I never saw a notification for this year’s display.  Bummer!  But never fear, I was alerted to another orchid display at the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum, about a thousand miles away from home!  Yea, that’s a bit of an exaggeration.  It’s about a 30 minute drive southwest of home. And it’s a lovely drive with lots of open spaces and many, many lakes.

We arrived to a very full parking lot so we wondered what else was going on at the Arboretum.  Other than the orchids there was a farmer’s market in the Oswald Visitor Center so that must be what the rest of the visitors were doing there. There weren’t that many orchids in the visitor center so we found our way to their conservatory. A warm, sunny room full of colors!  Before you get to that room there is a walkway full of succulents including many cactus plants. Naturally I took a bunch of photos, the nicest ones are displayed below.  I hope you enjoy!!

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Summer blooms in Minnesota

I have neglected my poor little blog :(  Summer is just too busy for me.  But I decided to put together a quick post of some of my favorite summer bloom photos.  I’ll be back soon with at least one more post from my trip to Spain this past March.  Stay tuned and I hope you enjoy these photos! First some from my walks around campus last month:

A handful from my garden:

One last gallery of photos I took yesterday at the Trial Garden on campus.  There is more to learn about this garden for sure.  But check out these beautiful things blooming now on campus:

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Minnesota Landscape Arboretum Garden Tour

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:

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 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!

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!

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