Blue Ribbon gardens

  • Article by: CONNIE NELSON , Star Tribune
  • Updated: August 22, 2007 - 12:39 PM

Lush gardens aren't what lure most folks to the State Fair. But along with the Ferris wheel, ostrich-on-a-stick and the butterheads, the fairgrounds boast some truly gawk-worthy gardens -- from simple planters of ornamental grasses to elaborate water gardens with streams, waterfalls, fountains and ponds.

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1. MINNESOTA WATER GARDEN SOCIETY

This large, expertly designed garden slopes down from the north side of the AgHort Building. Its two streams tumble into a large pond filled with several types of lilies (some of which should be in bloom), sunburst lotus and taro plant. A Minnesota-hardy mix of phlox, milkweed, Russian sage, aster and ornamental evergreens ring the water garden. Don't miss the dwarf weeping Jack pine.

Location: Underwood Street and Carnes Avenue

Best for: Grab a seat on one of the boulder benches and watch the exodus from the Food Building.

2. BEVER and Sons Landscaping

Nestled between the Education and 4-H buildings, this multilevel water garden makes for a surprisingly calm retreat. Its boulder-lined ponds, well-tended mature plants (cattails, sumacs, hydrangeas and ornamental grasses), gazebo and arched wooden bridge might just fool you into thinking you've been transported to a garden party in Eden Prairie. Don't worry: The pervasive smell of pronto pups will bring you back.

Location: Cosgrove Street between Dan Patch and Wright avenues.

Best for: A quiet rest far from the madding crowds.

Continue our State Fair garden tour, page H6

THURSDAY IN TASTE: A guide to the best foods at the State Fair.

3. MINNESOTA STATE HORTICULTURAL SOCIETY

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