Tag Archives: gardening

Mid to late spring in the twin cities

Ready for another photo tour of what’s been blooming the past couple of weeks? Note: I started this about three weeks before I published it and now it’s summer! Better late than never though eh?

While working from home (due to the pandemic) and ever since the weather got warm, I started a new walking routine. I try to do either two walks or a walk and a bike ride each week day.  I have a few routes that I take from my house.  My favorite is the walk to Willow Pond. If I walk on the Willow Pond path all the way to the brown house  with the interesting garden, that’s 7-8 minutes, so round trip it’s nearly a mile. It’s a fairly quiet path in my neighborhood with occasionally one to three other walkers.  I enjoy photographing the flowers as well as the reflections in the pond when it’s calm. I included one other photo with reflections from our local park in this gallery.

I took a lot of photos of lilacs this year! I never tire of them.

And iris too.

When we walk to the park we either walk there and back, circling around the amphitheatre, or we go all the way around the lake.  The latter takes about 40 minutes and it’s a good hike. And if you’re lucky, you’ll see some wild life. The other day I saw an egret as I rode my bike around the lake.

Several of my neighbors have rain gardens and they’re between our house and the park, I’ve taken photos of these too.  I thought my neighbor said that the city helped them with theirs. So I was curious and found information about their purpose and benefits as well as the Ramsey-Washington County Metro Watershed District. I’m thinking my neighbors may have benefited from the Stewardship Grants program.  The gardens in my neighborhood are all a bit different and it’s fun to see their progress throughout the season. My neighbors to the south have the largest on the block and it’s full of flowers! Here are some rain gardens on the way to and from the park.

We also have a vegetable/fruit garden. During the winter we had some wood delivered which was stored in this garden space. We haven’t had a garden in that spot for a couple of years so the first project was moving the wood.  In the next gallery are photos of this garden when it was first planted and then a little later and it’s easy to see the difference. We planted basil, green pepper, cucumber, cherry tomatoes and another, regular size tomato but I forget which variety.

And of course there’s the monster rhubarb plant. It’s since been pruned.

time to harvest! this was before the wood was moved.

This year I also took photos of the cottonwood trees and their blossoms. I was on a walk by myself and yep, it’s that time of year where you keep your mouth shut so as not to collect cottonwood blossoms in your mouth. Yuck. But I realized that I didn’t know what a cottonwood tree looked like.  So I followed where the blossoms were coming from and finally I know what a cottonwood tree looks like.

To close here’s a gallery of a few more things in my garden. I have columbine that grows in the cracks of the patio. I now have three of them! Other photos are of lamium which is a nice ground cover and it pretty much blooms the entire season. But beware, it will take over if you let it!

I hope you’ve enjoyed this tour of spring in the twin cities. I’ll be back soon with summer blooms!

 

 

 

 

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Early spring blooms, pandemic version

I know, the pandemic has nothing to do with spring blooms but I felt that since this is the year of the pandemic, I could designate this year’s posts to it? Instead of the boring year like I do most of the time. Must think of more creative titles….

But back to the point of my post. The pandemic news is just awful so I’m taking you away from it if momentarily to share what’s been growing and blooming here in the frozen tundra in the past month or so. I managed to capture my rhubarb plant just as it started poking through the ground. That plant is so hardy, comes back every year. And we’ve already had our first rhubarb crisp. I have another recipe for pork tenderloin with a rhubarb chutney that we just made for the first time this season and it is yummy.  I always have more rhubarb than I need and in years past I would bring a lot of it to work for people to use. I guess I can’t do that this year huh? The awful pandemic :(

The bleeding hearts just started to get going last week. They are so lovely and unique. And they grow likes weeds in my yard, no joke!! They are also very hardy and every year it seems I have a few more plants than I had the year before. The next gallery contains bleeding hearts and others flowers in my garden.

We’re planning to have a vegetable garden this year. Hubby got most of the firewood that was stacked over the winter in the vegetable garden space stacked in the garage. There was a small pile left so we had our (hopefully) last fire of the season last weekend to use that up. Yes, it’s still been a little chilly around here of late so the fire was really nice. But back to the garden.  We always have tomatoes, so probably a cherry and a regular sized tomato. Perhaps cucumbers. I would like fresh basil and we have room for one more veggie. What will it be?

I also wanted to share a few photos of snow on Easter because these are the only photos I have of the “purplies”. That’s what we call these early blooming delicate little bells. Their real name is scillia and they are so lovely and such a delight every spring. It turns out that the only photos I have of them was the day it snowed. Please enjoy ducks ducking for food with one duck’s butt in the air :) Obviously the ducks have nothing to do with plants and flowers. We just found them amusing so I thought I would share.

The final photo is a close-up of buds of a crab apple tree in the park down the street. We walk and bike there frequently and this was on a walk last weekend. Stay safe out there and enjoy your spring.

 

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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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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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