Tagged perennials

Trip to Tangletown Gardens

Farm Fresh Produce Delivered Daily
Farm Fresh Produce & Eggs Available Daily

In the middle of the Tangletown neighborhood in south Minneapolis, you’ll find a garden oasis that tempts all of the senses.  Tangletown Gardens offers lush greenery of all types including succulents, perennials, annuals, heirloom, and water plants.  I strolled through the expansive outside area and found a massive display of lush, healthy hostas in both miniature and giant sizes.

Hostas Are Lush and Healthy
Large Variety of Hostas Are Lush and Healthy

You’ll find garden accessories including furniture, garden art, pots, wind chimes and pretty much anything you need to decorate your gardens.

Succulents and Patio Chairs
Statues, Succulents and Chairs

All of the plants were healthy and lush, even in the 90 degree temps.  The hydrangea below almost convinced me to take it home with me.

Endless Summer Hydrangea
Endless Summer Hydrangea

The water gardens in the back add to the sense that you’ve found a hidden garden oasis in the middle of the busy city.

Soothing Waterfall in the Water Garden
Soothing Waterfall in the Water Garden

Water lilies, water hyacinth, and water lettuce are just a few of the plants available for water gardens.  The water lilies were in bloom with beautiful yellow flowers.

Yes, my walk through the pathways was very refreshing, even in the hot summer afternoon heat.  The shop has plenty to see too.  I purchased several packets of flower seeds including Butterfly Bush, Delphinium, and Lobelia which I planted in the whisky barrel, after harvesting this year’s crop of red potatoes.

One of the coolest things about Tangletown Gardens is the fact that they sell organic produce that is grown on their farm in Plato, MN.  They have a program  called Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) where you can purchase shares of seasonal produce throughout the summer months.  Shares are delivered from the farm to the Tangletown shop for customers to pickup weekly.

They also sell organic produce directly to consumers who don’t participate in the CSA program.

Farm Fresh Produce Available for Purchase
Farm Fresh Produce Available for Purchase

All of the produce is grown using sustainable farming methods, meaning no artificial herbicides or pesticides are applied.  Only natural methods for controlling pests and weeds, and natural fertilizers are used. I purchased some zuchini and summer squash, since I don’t have either growing in my garden this year.  I sliced it diagonally, drizzled it with olive oil, sprinkled it with freshly chopped basil and Old Bay seasoning and grilled it along with shrimp on skewers. It was mouth-wateringly delicious.

This was my first visit to Tangletown Gardens, but it definitely won’t be my last. It’s nice to know that the shop is open year round and has a wonderful supply of seasonal decorations during the holidays too.

Minneapolis Farmer’s Market Visit

Minneapolis Farmer's Market
Minneapolis Farmer's Market

What’s the next best thing to growing your own fresh vegetables and flowers?  Selecting them from a local market like the Minneapolis Farmers Market!  The festive, aromatic atmosphere is just part of what makes strolling through the covered buildings filled with rows of produce, flowers, and plants so much fun.  The market on Lyndale dates back to 1937.  There a currently 230 vendors  and 170 stalls at the Lyndale location.

Red, White, and Green Onions
Red, White, and Green Onions

The vast selection of different types of vegetables is amazing and most of them are grown locally.

Perennial Plants and Shrubs
Perennial Plants and Shrubs

Several vendors offer perennials, potted herbs, and shrubs.

Cone Flower (Echinacea)
Cone Flower (Echinacea)

A butterfly stopped for a visit on the cone flower.

Balloon Flower (Chinese Bellflower)
Balloon Flower (Chinese Bellflower)

A large selection of very healthy Balloon Flowers, a vibrant blue perennial that likes full sun and well drained soil.

Wide Variety of Plums, Peaches, Pears, Pineapples
Wide Variety of Plums, Peaches, Pears, Pineapples

Some produce that can’t be grown in Minnesota is brought in from southern states.

Beautiful Floral Bouquets
Beautiful Floral Bouquets

Many of the flowers are grown locally.

Locally Grown Gladiolas
Locally Grown Gladiolas

Many of the vendors are here 7 days a week all summer long.  Others are only at the market on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.  The market wasn’t as busy today as it has been when I’ve visited before, but it’s always been a Saturday in the past.  It was easy to find parking and I even drove up to the stall to pick up the shrubs that I bought and there was parking available there too.

Potted Flowers
Potted Flowers

Many flower arrangements were available, both potted and bouquets.

Petersen Flowers Truck
Petersen Flowers Truck

My haul included these strawberries, 3 quarts for $5.

Strawberries Look and Smell Delicious
Strawberries Look and Smell Delicious

Seedless watermelon grown in Georgia, $3; pumpkin leaves ($1/bunch);  greens beans, $2/tray; 3 qts. strawberries, $5.

I bought the pumpkin leaves (Bangladeshi Spinach) from a woman who did not speak English, so the neighboring vendor translated for me and explained that they are delicious either boiled or fried with a little salt, pepper, and butter.

Pumpkin Leaves, Georgia Watermelon, Green Beans & Strawberries
Pumpkin Leaves, Georgia Watermelon, Green Beans & Strawberries

Gladiolas from Petersen Flowers, $3.

Vibrant Gladiolas
Vibrant Gladiolas

Blueberry Bush, $12; Raspberry Bush, $6.  I picked up these beauties from Tamblyn’s Nursery.

Blueberry and Raspberry Bushes
Blueberry and Raspberry Bushes

Fresh on the vine raspberries (they were delicious).

Ripe Raspberries
Ripe Raspberries

Not a bad haul for a total of $29.  The selection changes throughout the summer, as different produce matures so I’ll be stopping back at the market periodically to harvest more from the local farmers.  I’ll let you know how the pumpkins leaves taste.  I’m going to try a recipe from Vietnam:

Pumpkin Leaves Stir-Fry

1 bunch pumpkin leaves
2 T vegetable oil
2-3 cloves garlic, minced

Strip and peel away the fibrous cover from stems and leaf veins. Remove hard ends, cut stems into 3-inches length, put aside. Use gloves or your hands to knead the leaves gently to remove the tiny hair from them. Wash them throroughly.
Heat 2 T oil in a large pan, add garlic, stir until fragrant, add pumpkin leaves. Sauteed until tender, season with salt, fish sauce, pepper.

Endings and New Beginnings: A New Garden

Planted the first 100 bulbs in this full-sun garden.
Planted the first 100 bulbs in this full-sun garden.

After a very stormy evening, I made a trip out to my hometown to see if there was any damage since there was a tornado that touched down just west of Winsted yesterday afternoon.  Fortunately the tornado touched down in a bean field and did not cause any severe damage or injuries.

There were as many as 70 tornadoes that tore through the state of Minnesota during the course of the evening, likely an all time record.  Unfortunately three cities did not escape damage.  Windom was devastated by the storms.  A tornado flattened most of the buildings in town.  It will likely take years to rebuild.  There were three deaths from three different areas of the state.  My heart goes out to their families and loved ones.

The weather can change so quickly this time of the year, often with very little advanced warning.  Every day brings a new beginning, and often endings – sometimes unexpected, sometimes not.

Today is a new beginning for a flower garden in the front lawn.  Eleanor (my soon-to-be-mother-in-law) ordered several hundred flower bulbs including gladiola, anemone, allium, and acidanthera.  It seems we received a double order and I had already planted the first shipment.  Since there was no more room in that garden for more, it seemed necessary to start another garden.  Gardeners can never have too many gardens, right?

The front lawn at my new home is half shade, half sun.  The shade is created by the umbrella of a massive oak tree.

Oak tree in the front lawn
Oak tree in the front lawn provides shade for half the yard.

Several years ago, Steve and I landscaped the area beneath the tree because it was impossible to get grass to grow in the deep shade beneath the tree.  We covered the ground with black plastic, then hauled in loads of mulch from the free mulch pile and added a border of field stones.  We planted several different types of hostas, which have been doing well even though they get very little sun.  Hostas are one of my all-time favorite perennial plants because they grow pretty much anywhere and as long as you keep the slugs and rabbits away, they are happy to grow in even the deepest shade year after year.

Landscaped front lawn in 2006.
Landscaped front lawn in 2006.

After assembling the tools and a quick trip to the local garden center to purchase some sun loving plants, I’m ready to begin creating the new garden.

Plants and tools assembled to begin the new garden.
A Double Knock-Out Rose, Zinnias, Dianthus, and Petunias will add color until the bulbs get started.

Laying the garden hose out in the shape that I want the garden to be, I use a sod cutter to cut through the lawn.

Using a step sod cutter, the garden shape is cut out.
Using a step sod cutter, the garden shape is cut out.

Using a flat edged shovel, I dig up the sod, clearing the area that will be the new garden.  Because the oak tree roots are just below the surface of most of the lawn, I’ll fill in the areas with organic compost from the very large “compost bin” area beneath the oak tree.

The decomposed mulch and shredded oak leaves make a very rich compost for the new garden.
The decomposed mulch and shredded oak leaves make a very rich compost for the new garden.

The new garden will be somewhat of a raised bed, since I don’t want to dig into the ground and disturb the oak tree roots.  This way I don’t have to worry about cutting into underground utility lines either.

Rich compost made of decomposed bark mulch and oak leaves.  Earth worms make there home in the compost.
Rich compost made of decomposed bark mulch and oak leaves. Earth worms help create the compost.

An easy way to transport dirt, mulch, and rocks is to use a tarp.  Just load the material on the tarp, drag the tarp to the new locations and dump it off.

Tarps work well for transporting mulch, dirt, and rocks to the new location.
Tarps work well for transporting mulch, dirt, and rocks to the new location.

Now it’s time to plant.  A trick I learned from my father-in-law who was an avid gardener, is to dig the hole (three times larger than the root ball), then fill it with water before planting.  This works well for tomatoes, shrubs and anything that is transplanted from a pot into the ground.  It works especially well for plants that need a lot of moisture and are planted in the heat of the day (it’s 85 degrees and pretty humid as this new garden is being created).  It also means that I am officially playing in the mud now.

Filling the hole with water before planting the Knock-out rose bush.
Filling the hole with water before planting the Knock-out rose bush.

The same method is used for planting the Zinnia, Dianthus, and Petunias.

Double Knock-Out Rose Bush

Dianthus
Dianthus
Yello Zinnia
Yellow Zinnia
Purple Petunias
Purple Petunias

Steve, being a loyal Green Bay Packer fan often wonders why there are so many yellow and purple flowers in the gardens.  I can only say that this is Minnesota, and also point out that there is a lot of green in the gardens too:)

Here’s the final result.

Knock-out Roses, Zinnias, Dianthus, and Purple Petunias provide color until the bulbs grow.
Knock-out Roses, Zinnias, Dianthus, and Purple Petunias provide color until the bulbs grow.

Another (cooler) day, I’ll add an edging of field stone to give the garden a more defined look. But now it’s time to hose off my garden clogs, cool down, and have a cold beverage.

Cleaning (and cooling) my garden clogs and feet.
Cleaning (and cooling) my garden clogs and feet.

An Afternoon Visit to Lyndale Park Rose Garden

Lyndale Park Rose Garden, June 13, 2010
Lyndale Park Rose Garden, June 13, 2010

The skies were overcast all day, but the lighting was perfect for photos at the Lyndale Park Rose Garden, located on the northeast side of Lake Harriet in Minneapolis.  The garden became an official All America Rose Selections (AARS) test rose garden in 1946, and is a sanctuary of beauty on the south side of the city.

Lyndale Park Rose Garden, June 13, 2010
Lyndale Park Rose Garden, June 13, 2010

The park consists of 1.5 acres of roses, perennials, and annuals, as well as a Peace Rock Garden adjacent to the rose garden.  There were tea roses, hybrid roses, and shrub roses of all colors and sizes.  I didn’t take the time to write down all the names, but quickly filled up the memory card on my camera, (if I hadn’t we may still be there).

Lyndale Park Rose Garden, June 13, 2010
Lyndale Park Rose Garden, June 13, 2010

The Lyndale Park Rose Garden is the second oldest public rose garden in the US and at the peak of the season sometimes contains 60,000 blooms.  It was constructed in 1907.  It’s the home to 4,000 plants and 250 different species.

Lyndale Park Rose Garden, June 13, 2010

There was no shortage of bees to pollinate the thousands of buds in the gardens.

Lyndale Park Rose Garden

Love this saying . . .

Count Only the Sunny Days
Count Only the Sunny Days

Bearded Iris Flower – Spin Off

Reblooming Iris Flower - Spin Off
Reblooming Iris Flower - Spin Off

It could be called a late bloomer, since it is about 10 days later than the others, but then again, some haven’t bloomed at all yet.

The Spin Off is rightly named, I’d say, with the striped white and purple beards.  It is not as tall as some of the others that get the same amount of sun and water, like the Mother Earth, but it’s just as splendid.

A heavy rain last night knocked most of the irises over, even the ones with a single bloom and the Spin Off has just one bloom as of yet.  I suspect that it will produce a few more before it’s done this time around.

More Blooming Irises & Peonies

It is shaping up to be a beautiful Memorial Day weekend here in Minnesota. Temperatures between 70 and 80 degrees and sunshine makes for perfect gardening weather.  Four more of my reblooming iris are in full color.  Mariposa Skies, Tiger Honey, Orange Harvest and Mother Earth are the latest to show their colors.  One of the Marisposa Skies has three gigantic blooms and is so top heavy that I’m going to have to stake it up.

Steve and I made a trip to the local Home Depot last night and picked up the supplies for another raised bed garden, so I’ll be assembling and planting that this weekend.  Can’t wait to get started. The new raised bed will be planted with more tomatoes, peppers and Swiss chard.

Peony transplanted from farm in Wisconsin
Peony transplanted from farm in Wisconsin

One of the peonies is in full bloom also.  I’m not sure what the name of this one is, but it was transplanted from the farm where Steve grew up so it’s been blooming for many years.