By Rose Gregoire
We all do it. Walking the streets and alleys, we admire the front gardens, peek over the back fences and wonder what surprises are in between. But every two years, the St. Anthony Park Garden Club sponsors a garden tour in the neighborhood, and we have permission to enter the gate and enjoy the planning, hard work and happenstance that make up a beautiful garden. This year, the tour will be Saturday, June 24, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
I walk by Susan Warde’s front garden often and marvel that it always seems full of blooms. Warde, whose cottage garden will be on the tour, carefully plans her garden so that there are blooms throughout the summer. When I was there in early May, the bleeding hearts, fairy bells, primroses, rhododendrons and so much more were welcoming spring. Green shoots promised continual blooms to come, ending with the autumn mums. Susan’s love of wildflowers came from her father, who taught her the names of each plant. She went on to study plant biology in graduate school and teach high school.
Gardening is a long game. Susan has been working her current garden for 36 years, and it shows in the design, rich soil and healthy plants. She started with a small strip on both sides of the sidewalk, added a bed along the front wall, and from there it continued to grow, change and grow. Varied heights, colors and textures keep the garden interesting, even when not in bloom. Her front garden is more formal with defined beds and plants. A newer shade garden in the back is under development, wilder and her current challenge.
She laughs when I ask her about things that have gone wrong. A volunteer jewelweed was allowed to grow and became invasive. Virgin’s bower, a native clematis, also ran amok. I laugh with her. I’ve had the same experience, all part of the ongoing experiment that is gardening.
Tickets for the June 24 tour are $12 in advance and can be purchased online at www.stanthonyparkgardenclub.com or at Speedy Market, Frattallone’s Ace Hardware or the Bibelot Shop, all on Como Avenue. Tickets may be purchased the day of the tour for $15 and will be for sale at St. Anthony Park Library, at the corner of Como and Carter avenues.
Gardeners know that the best plants are those grown locally. Fortunately, every year the St. Anthony Park Garden club sponsors a plant sale during the St. Anthony Park Arts Festival in June with plants donated from members. The sale will include “pollinator packs” from the Minnesota Horticultural Society, with plants that encourage butterflies and bees in a garden. The plant sale will be held Saturday, June 3, 9 a.m.-2 p.m. at the St. Anthony Park Lutheran Church, 2323 Como Ave.
The Garden Club will also be sponsoring Pollinate Minnesota, an advocacy group to protect pollinators, during the arts festival. Pollinate Minnesota will be located on the southeast side of the library.
Proceeds from the tour and plant sale benefit the St. Anthony Park Garden Club’s annual University of Minnesota horticulture scholarship and Garden Club activities, including plantings at the St. Anthony Park Library.