Beautiful Garden contest winners

Thanks to all of you who nominated gardens for this year's Beautiful Gardens contest. We didn't have as many entries as we typically have, but the quality made up for the lack of quantity. Many of the gardens were so spectacular that it was hard for the judges to choose. But choose we did. Here are our winners for 2009:

Sarah and Scott Buerkley tend a 2-acre cottage garden in Stillwater that includes a butterfly garden, a raised-bed herb garden, vegetable and cutting gardens as well as a formal garden bordered by a clipped hedge. Singer and actor Jennifer Baldwin Peden has grown flowers since she was a kid. Last year, her husband, Tom Peden, pitched in to add some vegetables to the mix and got bitten by the garden bug. Jim Smith had never planted a garden until he dug up the yard in his Minneapolis home in 2005. With a little help from his friends, he's turned his back yard into an artful mix of perennials, annual, trees, bushes and veggies. Connie Young has been tending -- and extending -- her gardens for more than 20 years. Now, they cover both the front and back yards of her Bloomington home. Mark Campbell's Edina garden is a study in environmentally friendly gardening. He grows organically and composts all his leaves, yard waste and kitchen waste to feed his peonies, daylilies, more than 400 varieties of hostas, and a host of fruit trees and bushes, from apricots and apples to plums, cranberries and seaberries. In their shady Minneapolis yard, Anna and Tom Erbes planted every flower, tree and shrub. They've also built fieldstone garden walls, retaining walls and the cobblestone walkways.

Look for their stories in upcoming issues of Home+Garden.

Harvest for others

If you have more tomatoes, peppers and onions than you know what do to with, don't let them go to waste. Keep picking (to keep the plants productive) and share the bounty. Area food shelves are happy to take fresh garden produce, especially now that they're trying to meet increased demand. Second Harvest Heartland will find a use for whatever you can't use. Yes, even the zucchini.

To find a foodshelf near you, go to