August 06, 2016

A Twin Cities Fling: Part II

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What could be better than starting the morning with butterflies and gardens?

The light was magical on the second day of the recent Garden Bloggers' Fling (see day one summary here). Our first stop was Vera's Garden, a community garden nestled along a portion of the Midtown Greenway, a five-mile bike route through the heart of Minneapolis.

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It was an awesome place, and the oblique angle of the early sun captured the colors and shapes of the plants in nifty ways.

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Glancing down a shaded path, the morning view had a "secret garden" aura.

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The ornamental and vegetable beds at Vera's Garden are maintained mostly by volunteers and sponsored by Minnesota Green, a program of the Minnesota State Horticultural Society.

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Vera's Garden was a pleasant blend of urban structure and vibrant, colorful green space.

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Next, we headed to the western suburbs, where we visited several private gardens. The owners of these properties displayed helpful tips on how to deal with gardening challenges--from critters, to invasive plants, to heavy shade.

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Once again, the oblique light on this partly cloudy day was magical.

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If you looked closely in this garden, you could see tiny friends observing the day's excitement.

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Quaint touches, like this garden's miniature tea pot bird feeder hanging near the path, were around every corner.

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We drooled over this colorful potting shed, which fit perfectly in the setting.

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Hostas in all sizes, shapes, and colors were artistically arranged.

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I really enjoyed this creative rain garden designed to capture precipitation and prevent runoff on a steep grade. The plants, rock arrangements, and little touches were exquisite.

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And then there was this incredible 100-foot stream in one of the gardens. It looped around the side yard and recirculated water along its path.

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Next stop: The Guldberg's, for a comfy, dreamy lunch by the lake. Nancy Guldberg is a master gardener and one of the organizers of the local garden tour. We relaxed in her idyllically located garden between Lake Minnetonka and Lake Virginia.

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Nancy's miniature garden featured tiny vignettes she designed with her grandchildren. The scenes change from year to year, including miniature varieties of plants and herbs combined with "fairy garden" accessories.

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Decorative twig-shaped fencing marked the borders along the edge of the miniature garden.

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At Nancy's garden, the lake, the open air, and pollinator-friendly plants, welcomed butterflies, like this Eastern Tiger Swallowtail.

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Next, it seemed fitting to spend the afternoon at Springwood Gardens, a large daylily breeding and display garden. Once again, the light was perfect for the setting--a grand hilltop overlooking prairies and woodlands.

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Puffy clouds, daylilies, and awesome pastoral views as far as the eye could see.

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Karol Emmerich, the breeder/owner of the operation, had planted daylilies everywhere--even artfully lining the back road leading to a work area.

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The statuary collection at Springwood Gardens was as fascinating as the daylilies. I found myself particularly enamored of this piece--imagining these children dancing and balancing across a log "bridge" on a warm Midwestern day. With the backdrop of the layered terrain, this piece looked different from every visual angle.

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We ended the day at the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum--another lovely setting.

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Water features and seating areas greeted us along the paths of this impressive 1,200-acre, University of Minnesota public property.

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We had limited time to explore because of our necessarily packed Fling schedule, but we briefly roamed the grounds to view various areas with colorful, expertly arranged plants.

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Some of us had a sneak peek at the arboretum's soon-to-open bee and pollinator discovery center. Located next to the arboretum's iconic Red Barn and outdoor museum, the new discovery center will feature exhibits on the social behavior of bees and their vital role as pollinators of our food supply. The discovery center is scheduled to open this fall, so I hope to get back soon to see it in operation.

As the magical daylight waned, we gathered inside an auditorium for a Minnesota-themed buffet dinner, and we wondered how day three could possibly compete.

Thanks to all the organizers, sponsors, gardeners, and homeowners for a wonderful day two at the Garden Bloggers' Fling! More to come here on this blog, and others continuously updated at the Fling website.

34 comments:

  1. Another great post about the Fling. Fun to see these gardens through the lens of different gardeners.

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    1. Thanks, Lisa. It was a great Fling, and I agree: It's amazing how we all see each garden in a slightly different way.

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  2. I do love seeing these gardens through the eyes of other Flingers...So many good memories, Vera's garden was my second favorite garden!

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    1. Yes, great memories! I loved Vera's Garden. It's such a hopeful, accessible greenspace in a very urban setting. :)

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    1. Linda: You are so welcome! Wish you could have been there. I hope our paths will cross again soon. :)

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  4. Great post, Beth. But how did you manage those people-free photos of Vera's Garden? The one with the tree is magical. It was great to see you again at the Fling.

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    1. Thank you, Helen. I took quite a few pics at Vera's ... well everywhere. Which is funny because I tried to pull back on the # of photos after Toronto. So, I had many photos with people, too, and it's nice to have a mix. I agree: it was fun to see you again this year. :)

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  5. Hi Beth, I wish I could attend the Garden Bloggers' Flings! They seem to be so much fun and the garden that you have been featuring in this and in the first post have been extraordinary and so exciting! I would have especially loved to visit the daylily breeding and display garden. Thanks for your coverage of the fling! I hope you will write a post about day three!
    Warm regards,
    Christina

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    1. Hi Christina: Maybe we'll have one in California one of these days! I'm sorry we didn't have a chance to connect when I was out your way earlier this year. I do want to meet you someday! The Flings are great fun, and yes, I plan to share a post about day three very soon. :)

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  6. A vicarious Fling beats no Fling at all, so thanks for sharing your pix and comments.

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    1. You are welcome, and thanks for touring the gardens with us virtually. I wish I could have attended the Portland Fling a couple of years ago!

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  7. Beautiful place and great images - I do love a garden with a bit of woodland shade and running water.
    I especially like the healthy Hostas - and the realistic children walking across the log.
    Thanks for sharing :)

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    1. Thanks, and you're welcome! Yes, these were lovely gardens and such a treat to tour them with friends and fellow bloggers. Really a very special event. :)

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  8. Wonderful highlight of the day, Beth! You are so lucky to be so close (relatively speaking) to the Arboretum. I could have easily spent a couple of days just wandering around...that one is on my "to-do" list if I ever find myself in the area again.

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    1. Hi Margaret: Yes, the arboretum is on my list for next spring or summer. We barely scratched the surface there. Well, I guess that's true for most of these gardens.

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  9. Beth, your pictures are wonderful. The gardens must have been great fun to tour. Each is so different, yet all so inviting.

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    1. Thank you. Yes, the gardens were fabulous, especially being able to tour them with friends and fellow bloggers. It's fascinating to see how we all viewed the same gardens.

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  10. It looks like it was a perfect day spent admiring beautiful gardens! I especially like the sculpture of the children on the log. What fun, and it really captured the spirit of the place.

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    1. Yes, the stage was set for the day so perfectly with a trip to Vera's Garden. And then everything else that day was lovely, too. I so enjoyed the statuaries at Springwood Gardens. They seemed to fit perfectly where they were placed!

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  11. I wish we could have spent a whole day at the Minnesota arboretum - next time I am in the Twin Cities we will have to make a return trip. Excellent overview of a great day.

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    1. I agree, Jason. We saw just a tiny corner of the arboretum. Thanks! It was a fun day, wasn't it?!

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  12. Oh, wow... So much to love here -- the gnome in his garden, the fairy garden creations, that stream, the statue of children on a log -- and I especially like that top photo of the butterfly and coneflowers.

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    1. Thanks, Heather. Yes, so many great ideas, and for some reason everything seemed place just perfectly for the setting, the light, and the conditions. Loved the statue of the children. I have about 6 photos of that statue from different angles--and that's just the photos I didn't delete from my camera card!

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  13. Fun! I love the rain garden ... gives me some great ideas. I have a garden that I need to start to divide plants and change up a bit. You have me thinking.
    Thank you for sharing,
    Carla

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    1. You are welcome, Carla! I loved the rain garden, too. I've been mulling over how to create one in my own garden...

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  14. amazing pics just hold the eyes tightly

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  15. What a fun day! I'd go crazy trying to keep track of all the names of the daylilies.

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    1. Yes, indeed. With so many of them in one place, they simply seemed like a sea of the same thing. Lovely, though. And the buildings and statuaries provided beautiful structure to the property.

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  16. What a wonderful tour, there are so many things to comment on, where to start? The potting shed is lovely and so is that barn! Stunning views of beautiful gardens.

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    1. Thanks, Karen. Minneapolis isn't far for you, and I'm sure you'd love all these places. :)

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  17. Such a wonderful variety of gardens! I would be in daylily heaven at the daylily farm--did you bring home a couple of purchases?:) The stream beds really caught my eye, too, and I like that you ended with the barn. What could be more Midwestern than a red barn!

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    1. Rose: You would have loved the Daylily place! No, I didn't purchase any Daylilies. My garden isn't the best place for them. I loved the running stream and the rain garden! Agreed: The red barn made me feel at home. ;-)

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