I love how flower gardens bring pops of colors and textures, and no two flowering seasons in my front yard plots ever seem exactly the same. But is that inconsistency really good? I’d rather not be surprised each spring on where the plants push through the dirt or I tend to pull some of those very young perennials, thinking they’re weeds. My goal for my gardens is to have a better layout plan for my plants going into next summer. And what better way to start getting ideas than to attend one or more of the many garden tours that happen in and around Minneapolis every summer?
Just recently, for example, on July 13th, the sixth annual self-guided Hennepin County Master Gardeners’ Learning Tour took place. Of course I had to go; the majority of the participating gardens were located within a few minutes’ drive from Corcoran. Each home’s garden had a different theme such as ‘Rain Garden’, ‘Feng Shui’, ‘Container Planting’ or ‘Water Lovers’. With notebook and camera in hand, I noted other gardeners’ planting guidelines, and the pictures included here are just a few of the many I took to help myself remember size and color placements of plantings in other hobbyists’ flower groupings..
Over half of my Corcoran home front yard consists not of grass but of a towering pine tree near the house fronted by a flower garden on either side of the curved front brick walk. This time of year—right smack in the middle of what’s been a pretty good (albeit late-start) growing season for garden plants—annuals which are only around for the season and the ever-returning perennials are all coming into their blooming spotlight. Both my gardens have suddenly been colored with burgundy, yellow and orange Asiatic- and daylily blooms, purple and pink Monarda, tall creamy-white bloom stalks standing like spears from the middle of the yucca plants, red roses, yellow yarrow and Gaillardia, white hosta flowers, and purple catmint, spiderwort, and geranium.
Appreciative neighbors, family and friends have mentioned how nice my front flower gardens are and to hear that feedback is always inspiring to do more and better. Having seen the Master Gardeners’ gardens, I now know how I want to improve my own layouts next year: garden art. You can see from the pictures I’m sharing from the tour that garden art along with flower containers is what makes a flower garden truly intriguing and memorable.
Whether I find my perfect garden artifact in an alley or at an upcoming art fair, I’ll use however many pieces I accumulate to be the point from which I rearrange—and recognize—all of my returning flowers next year.
If you have your own garden dilemmas or want to find your own unique garden art, check out these sites for related and upcoming area events for ideas: