Once again this week I’m bringing you my ‘sunday mornings in the garden’ post from somewhere other than my own gardens. As I mentioned on Monday, last weekend my sister and I went to the neighborhood garage sales in the East Isles and Lowry Hill neighborhoods in Minneapolis.
This is one of my favorite neighborhood sales simply because the homes are so gorgeous.
These aren’t newer homes, most of them were built between 1885 and 1930.
And they aren’t cookie cutter houses where they all look vaguely the same.
Each one is unique, and there are a number of different styles of architecture represented.
I enjoy looking at the gardens just as much as the houses (well, or possibly more).
I’m betting that many of them are professionally designed (and possibly also professionally maintained). So it’s a great opportunity to get some fabulous ideas that I can possibly translate into my own garden.
One thing that always jumps out at me in these small gardens is their use of small trees and shrubs. Right in the middle of that photo above is a gorgeous Japanese maple. As much as I admire them, I’ve never been brave enough to add a Japanese maple to my garden. Most of them are hearty in zones 5 to 9, but they have been developing varieties that are more cold tolerant and are rated for our zone 4. But they are pricey (usually $200 or more), and I am reluctant to spend that much on a tree that needs to be babied to survive here.
I added a Pagoda Dogwood to our shade garden about a month ago in an effort to add more small trees to our space. We’ll see how that goes first.
I’m also trying to absorb some ideas for upping my game when it comes to small evergreens.
I definitely saw some fabulous specimens, but haven’t had a chance to research what they are yet.
If any of you recognize these varieties, be sure to shout it out in a comment.
There were some great examples of planting you can do in the boulevard (a.k.a. verge, tree-belt, the section between the sidewalk and the street, what do you call it?). These areas can be especially difficult here in Minnesota because this is where the big banks of snow end up when they plow the streets.
I love the example above with its low-growing ground covers combined with poufy tufts of ornamental grass.
This next one features slightly taller plants.
Isn’t that an interesting combination with shade loving hostas mixed in with sun loving phlox and sedum. And they all seem to be doing well.
Some of these gardens can definitely give the gardens that I admired in Charleston a run for their money with their wrought iron fences and formal hedging.
I would say that this is the style that most appeals to me, but I don’t have anything formal in my own gardens. I think a formal garden would be out of place next to our 1904 farmhouse. But I do love them.
This sort of secret garden look is probably more suited to our house.
This next one is a good example of getting creative with the space you have.
That house sits on a triangular shaped lot that tapers to a point and has a street both in front and behind the house. They’ve adding hedging to the point and a trio of hydrangea standards that will be stunning when they get a bit bigger (that’s a flag pole in the foreground, fyi). Since there isn’t really a backyard, they have an area to the side of the house that is enclosed in a privacy fence and looks to have a patio set with an umbrella for outdoor dining.
By the way, it’s not all single family homes in the neighborhood. Just check out the Claridge.
I so love seeing old apartment buildings like this one that have retained their charm, at least on the outside.
I tried to find some photos of the interiors, and the ones I found online looked totally modern which is a bit of a bummer.
I always feel like a neighborhood sale is an open invitation to wander around these beautiful historic neighborhoods without looking suspicious. But really, these are public sidewalks and anyone can walk around here and admire the houses and front gardens. I totally recommend doing something similar where you are if you want to gather some garden inspiration yourself. In the meantime, I hope you enjoyed this visit to East Isles and Lowry Hill as much as I did.