garden tour.

Minnesota has what I consider to be the ideal climate for gardening.  You scoff, I know.  Especially those of you in more southerly climes.  But, let me explain.  Our growing season is pretty short.  We can’t plant our annuals until at least May 15, and this year it was even later.  Our average first frost is in late September.  That’s it.  Four and a half months.  That is about perfect for me.  By mid-August I am already growing bored with gardening and I’m ready to be done for the year.  Apparently my gardening attention span is really short as well.  It’s a perfect fit.

garden tour 9I am quite fine with letting my garden slumber under mountains of snow for half of the year.  It makes you appreciate it that much more when it is green and lovely.

Today I thought I would take you, dear reader, on a short tour of my garden.

The lilac above is part of a lilac hedge I am working on along my rear property line.  I put these in 3 years ago, and they are just starting to get nice and tall.  I need them to fill in a lot more though, so I’m hoping to prune them this year and encourage them to get bushier.

garden tour 1I garden mostly in the shade.  I have a lot of really large trees in my yard, which works well for me.  I much prefer shade, and not having central a/c in my house means the trees help us stay cooler inside.

My buddha was purchased at Home Goods a few years back.  He is holding up pretty well outside and has developed a nice patina.  He is nestled in with my Maidenhair Ferns.  I love these because they are so delicate and airy looking.

garden tour 8This is Cossetta.  I purchased her at a garage sale of course!  She seemed pricey in garage sale money at $80, but truly she was a bargain.  She is wearing her tiara and presiding over the hostas and bleeding hearts.

garden tour 12

garden tour 2I just purchased this bleeding heart.  It has the bright chartreuse foliage that I love.  I don’t know the official name of it off the top of my head, but if anyone is wondering, leave me a comment and I’ll go read the tag.  As I was editing my photos for this post, it became apparent to me just how much I love bright lime green.

garden tour collageThis is partly because I love the color, but also because these bright colors really pop in a shady garden.  If you look closely at these photos, you can see that I use Cocoa Bean mulch in my gardens.  I like how dark it gets, which also makes my bright green foliage stand out.  It can get moldy in damp weather though, which can be slightly unpleasant.

I focus much more on foliage than I do on flowers.  Most perennials have such a short blooming season, so I pick plants for their foliage so they look good all summer.  Of course, I do have some favorite blooms too, like peonies, hydrangeas and irises … none of which are blooming quite yet.  I have a cutting garden out behind the carriage house that is full of these.  When they bloom, I don’t feel guilty cutting and bringing them inside because that’s what they’re there for!

garden tour 10The foamflower is blooming now though.

garden tour 4My sedum is gradually taking over my patio.  I planted it to spill over the garden edge, and it is definitely spilling.

garden tour 6This gargoyle is guarding the brunnera.  I love the delicate blue flowers on this plant.  Too bad they are nearly done for the season already.  This is supposed to be Brunnera Jack Frost.  If any of you know plants, you are now wondering why this doesn’t look like Jack Frost.  Turns out you are supposed to keep cutting back the leaves that revert to the original green of brunnera.  I didn’t know that, and never cut them back and now I have nothing but plain green.  Do any of you grow the Jack Frost?  Has the same thing happened to you?

 My friend Sue brought the gargoyle back from a trip down south.  She had purchased one for herself, and she just knew I would want one too.  She was right of course.

garden tour 11Saint Francis of Assisi hangs out in my fern glade.  This is under a heavy canopy of trees and the ferns have filled in a large area over time.  Works for me, I don’t have to do much with this area except keep beating the ferns back into submission.  Saint Francis is watching over the ashes of our first dog, Buck.

garden tour 13This Japanese painted fern is across the driveway from St. Francis.  Isn’t it gorgeous?

garden tour 14To conclude today’s tour, I’m sharing the topper on my fountain.  My neighbor, nnK, gave me this.  I think her mom brought it back from Mexico, or something like that.  It just happened to fit perfectly at the top of my fountain.

This concludes today’s garden tour, I hope you enjoyed it.  I’ll try to remember to take you on a few more over the course of the summer as the garden changes and new things are blooming.

For now, I am headed back to the workshop to paint a couple of mid-century pieces that have been patiently waiting for their make-overs.

15 thoughts on “garden tour.

  1. I think you may be right that four months are plenty of time to tend the garden. Since my season is 7 or 8 months long it can become a part time job. The tour was so fun I was cleaning windows when my Ipad dinged. What a feast for the eyes. And as you have noted the history behind the bits makes all the more interesting. You grow a couple of things that I inherited in my Montana cottage bleeding heart (which I love and have only grown in Montana) and lilacs – which do not grow in South Carolina – do you remember that from living here? Just adore all of your garden statues – i am particularly fond of St. Francis of Assisi I find his life inspiring. And your fountain with the birds so perfect. I bet you spend many mornings out in this blissful space.:-)


    1. The main thing I remember from South Carolina gardens are the azaleas! They were gorgeous down there. There are not very many azaleas that will survive in Minnesota, and the one that we do have are kind of sparse and sad compared to what you have down there.


  2. I’m not a gardener, but I LOVE plants and flowers and I’ve always thought your yard is so inviting looking as you drive down the driveway to the Carriage House. Love it. And the gargoyle is my personal favorite! I think perhaps he needs a tiara as well….just say’in


      1. Between home improvements, a new car (as well as a new car seat), Grandpa Dave moving in, and your new grandchild arriving with little notice (whenever that will be) we think it’s better to put off a MN trip until next summer. That way, Abby will be 6 and the baby will be around a year old, so traveling will be LOTS easier!


  3. Love your garden..and the tiara for the gargoyle! Being over by the Fargo, ND area, we had a brutally cold winter & still waiting for some plants to come back. Your lush garden makes me hold out hope!


    1. Clearly the gargoyle needs a tiara now! We did lose some stuff over the winter here too. A lot of people lost evergreens, are you finding that where you are as well? I lost a couple of small hostas, and some of my spring blooming trees are just barely pulling through. I have a weeping cherry that only had 3 flowers on it this year, after being completely covered in blooms the year before. But, it always amazes me how fast the garden comes up in the spring and you wonder how it is even possible that it was frozen solid not all that long ago.


      1. Some of my established hydrangeas, a few years old cherry bush, and part of a young crabapple tree took a beating. They were still alive but had branch dieback and I ended up having to cut them back or prune not-so-pretty-like. The evergreens got winter burn and basically look brown but are still alive. There is green and they are coming back, but this year isn’t going to win them any beauty contests. Things that froze out were newer hybrids, most of my flowers and shrubs are from very old heirloom stock and it didn’t faze them in the least.


      2. I was very relieved that my Limelight hydrangeas came back like gangbusters. I’ve only had them for 2 years, so I was worried about them. They are right next to my deck though, and the snow got shoveled off the deck and onto them so they had lots of insulation all winter.


  4. That was an interesting comment by Kristy about the hybrids not having the strength to take last year’s horrid winter. All the rose canes died down to the soil at the gardens I work in but they are coming back really strong after I pruned them to the ground. The biggest loss was the lavender. There are only two tiny green leaves near the base and the rest of the big plant is dead, dead, dead. I lived in Eagle River, Wisconsin, for 20 years. People don’t even landscape with bushes, there is no point. In twenty years of vegetable gardening I never had a ripe tomato-not once! Blueberries, cranberries and potatoes…that is about it for the extreme Northwoods of Wisconsin. The season is three months. Though it has snowed on the 4th of July.
    Your yard and statuary are lovely. My favorite statues are St. Francis and the birds. I never heard of foam flower and I’ve never seen that gorgeous Japanese fern. Ferns are very interesting. I think they are the only plant that doesn’t flower. You have a lot that keeps you busy. I don’t know when you find the time to blog with all you do. But, you do good work!


    1. I’ve never had any luck growing lavender here in the Twin Cities, so it doesn’t surprise me that it didn’t make it through last winter where you are. As for time, I’m not sure how I find it either. I believe it’s lack of a social life!


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