Tour St. Anthony Park gardens in July

The University of Minnesota's test gardens will be on the St. Anthony Park Garden Tour

The University of Minnesota’s test gardens will be on the St. Anthony Park Garden Tour

The 2015 St. Anthony Park Garden Tour will showcase the work of area gardeners who have a collective total of 196 years of gardening experience. The tour will be held Saturday, July 11, 10 a.m.-4 p.m.

Every other year the St. Anthony Park Garden Club organizes this tour of residential and educational gardens in the neighborhood. This year, nine residential gardens and one large display garden are on the docket.

The residential gardens include several ravine gardens, an English cottage garden and miniature gardens. In addition, the University of Minnesota Horticultural Science Display and Trial Gardens at the corner of Gortner and Folwell avenues will have staff onsite to lead you through their gardens.

For more information and to purchase tour tickets visit Tickets are also on sale at Micawber’s Books, Bibelot and Tim and Tom’s Speedy Market.

I have been working on my own lot for 25 years now and this year is last year that my garden will be on the tour. When we moved in during the height of a three-year drought in 1989, a decrepit buckthorn hedge in the front of the house and buckthorn plants under the overhead wires in the backyard were my first wave of attack. The buckthorn was down within the first year.

This was long before I was given the moniker of “Buckthorn Mary.”

Our lot’s ravine and those of our adjacent neighbors were once part of a large kettle that ran from the back of Murray Middle School into College Park. This kettle was formed by a receding glacier centuries ago. When Horace Cleveland designed the St. Anthony Park neighborhood in the late 1800s, contractors brought in fill to create some of the streets and the lots. Doswell Avenue between Hythe and Chelmsford streets, along with most of Chelmsford from Buford Avenue to Doswell was part of the kettle and was filled.

Over the years I have removed many plate and glass shards when working in my gardens, evidence of the fill. In creating my landscape gardens, my goal was to limit the amount of turf. I would rather weed than mow. We gave up trying to grow grass in our front yard under the oaks and had a patio installed. That limited turf to the boulevard.

In recent years, however, I have been experimenting with ground covers on the boulevard and the turf is nearly gone. Twelve steps down from our front yard leads you to our ravine garden, often with a considerable temperature change. Since our neighbor’s woods shade our garden in midafternoon, I have the opportunity to grow a wide range of both shade and sun materials.

After four years of waiting, Hosta ‘Empress Wu’ is wooing me with her height and blooms. Tall ligularias and astilbes should be in bloom along with a wide range of taller perennials. Near the barn, our large garlic plot has never been better and if all proceeds well, you may observe garlic harvesting during the tour. There are no vampires on this block of Doswell!

Our 5-year-old rock garden is thriving and a stock tank vegetable garden can be viewed near the outhouse. Proceeds from the garden tour go toward purchasing plants for the gardens at the St. Anthony Park Library and to the Late Summer Garden at the Minnesota State Fair. Also, each spring the garden club donates a $1,000 scholarship to a plant sciences student at the U.


Mary Maguire Lerman is a member of the St. Anthony Park Garden Club.

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