|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.
It was an awesome place, and the oblique angle of the early sun captured the colors and shapes of the plants in nifty ways.
Glancing down a shaded path, the morning view had a "secret garden" aura.
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.
Vera's Garden was a pleasant blend of urban structure and vibrant, colorful green space.
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.
Once again, the oblique light on this partly cloudy day was magical.
If you looked closely in this garden, you could see tiny friends observing the day's excitement.
Quaint touches, like this garden's miniature tea pot bird feeder hanging near the path, were around every corner.
We drooled over this colorful potting shed, which fit perfectly in the setting.
Hostas in all sizes, shapes, and colors were artistically arranged.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Decorative twig-shaped fencing marked the borders along the edge of the miniature garden.
At Nancy's garden, the lake, the open air, and pollinator-friendly plants, welcomed butterflies, like this Eastern Tiger Swallowtail.
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.
Puffy clouds, daylilies, and awesome pastoral views as far as the eye could see.
Karol Emmerich, the breeder/owner of the operation, had planted daylilies everywhere--even artfully lining the back road leading to a work area.
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.
We ended the day at the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum--another lovely setting.
Water features and seating areas greeted us along the paths of this impressive 1,200-acre, University of Minnesota public property.
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.
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.