Our mid-April blizzard meant a late start to the 2018 growing season. But Minnesota gardeners rallied and made up for lost time, judging from the stunning gardens nominated in this year’s annual Beautiful Gardens contest.

We received more than 175 nominations, showcasing gardens large and small, urban, suburban and rural, and ranging from formal manicured gardens to natural gardens designed to support wildlife. We would like to offer a heartfelt thank-you to all our readers who took the time to nominate a garden this year.

With so many diverse gardens to savor, it was challenging to choose just a few winners. A panel of six judges reviewed submissions, and ultimately narrowed the field to six winners.

You’ll see and read more about these winning gardens in upcoming issues of the Sunday Homes section and online at startribune.com.

1. Doug Peine and Christine Scotillo, St. Paul

St. Paul gardeners Doug Peine and Christine Scotillo have made the most of their deeply shaded city lot. Over 15 years, they’ve packed it with a 3,000-gallon pond, dug by hand, four seating areas (including one surrounded by the pond), stone hardscape, a fire pit and many shade-tolerant perennials.

2. Alex Ghebregzi, Minneapolis

Along a very busy urban street, Alex Ghebregzi has created not one but two lush boulevard gardens on adjacent properties. His front and back yards in Minneapolis are also an oasis of plants, both ornamental and edible.

3. Tom Hayden and Jay Peterson, Minnetonka

Tom Hayden and Jay Peterson have spent 25 years creating their landscape in Minnetonka. The gardens have many moods, from structured areas with columnar trees, manicured hedges, columns and statues, to lush beds where plants are artfully combined for contrasting textures and colors.

4. Brian Ellingson, Edina

Brian Ellingson has spent 14 years creating his formal structured garden in Edina overlooking a lake. Paths, plants, fountains, statuary and urns combine to create a setting inspired by and reminiscent of a European villa.

5. Diane Harvey, East Bethel

A tranquil lake in East Bethel is the setting for Diane Harvey’s multiple gardens, created over many years while raising four daughters and many rescue dogs. Nothing was hired out, not even the koi pond, according to the daughter who nominated her mom’s DIY “paradise.”

6. Barbara Burgum, Deephaven

Barbara Burgum’s gardens in Deephaven have different purposes and personalities that combine to create a beautiful whole. Her entry garden and rain garden filter runoff and complement her Arts & Crafts home, while her backyard arbor frames the garden and serves as an enclosure, keeping rabbits and deer away from her vegetable garden. She also replaced a hillside lawn with a prairie.


Look for these gardens to be featured in upcoming Sunday Homes sections and online at startribune.com, during the non-gardening months ahead.