Project: Beautiful Gardens

  • There are some spectacular private gardens around the Twin Cities. We discover several each year in our Beautiful Gardens contest. From October to April, we'll bring you into one Beautiful Garden a month.

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Nancy Reichert-Sisson, a self-educated gardener, has nearly two decades of experience in her Bloomington garden. “I always say that I have a different garden every year.”

  • Bloomington garden designed by nature

    Article By: BILL WARD ,Special to the Star Tribune Publish February 11, 2015 2:00 AM / Update February 13, 2015 8:15 AM

    By taking a survival-of-the-fittest approach, a Bloomington woman is creating a free-flowing, ever-changing garden where nature is in control.

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Beautiful Garden contest winners Jim and Sally Strand tend an Asian-inspired garden complete with 23 distinct planting areas in their Plymouth yard.

A woodchip path, which winds through gardenscapes to Lake Tustin, was designed by Dan and Nancy Engebretson in the common area of their townhome development in Elysian.

A sprinkler whirled last August to water the vegetables, fruits and herbs growing in Joyce Johannson’s and Brian MacDonald’s front yard in Linden Hills.

John Humleker installed lighting to highlight the “hobbit house” he built and the surrounding water garden of lilies, grasses and other aquatic plants.

A formal knot garden, inspired by one that gardeners Barb and Charlie Green saw in London, is just one of the showpieces in their Edina landscape.

Mike and Mary Kulseth have replaced turf with cottage-style beds, water features and shaded woodland gardens, creating a pleasing amalgam of texture, shape and color. “She likes planting, and I like building,” Mike said. “We just kept going.”

After decades of work, Alice Menge and Dick Sherwood’s backyard landscape goes up, up and away between their screen house and the two-story house in St. Paul..

Eileen Troxel and her husband, Bill, in the vegetable garden behind their St. Paul home. It produces edibles for her summer table and fodder for her food blog.

This rose withstood a beetle infestation.

A large waterfall is the focal point of the front-yard garden, where Fluer mixes colors freely. “Nature doesn’t have a palette,” she noted.

Diane Erdmann’s back yard is a serene haven of overarching branches, curved pathways, running water and an array of trees, shrubs and perennials. Fifteen years ago, it was a “blank slate.”

Gardener Jeanne Thatcher at the gate leading to her back-yard garden. She accents with garden art, but sparingly. “I want flowers to be the emphasis,” she said.

Michelle Chambers Blair and Brian Blair's garden.

Rosanne and Steve Malevichin their enchanted garden.

Chuck and Petra Meinke have been landscaping their Apple Valley home for the past two decades.

  • Growing a sense of place

    Article By: KIM PALMER , Star Tribune Publish October 24, 2012 2:00 AM / Update October 23, 2012 1:49 PM

    Beautiful gardens: For the past two decades, a Minnesota couple have been creating a massive, European-influenced shade garden in their suburban yard.

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Beautiful garden winner Kate Podobinski's Bryn Mawr garden

Judy Alm

The garden of Jerry and Lee Shannon in St. Paul. This is the formal si...

Tricia Frostad's front yard garden in Chanhassen.

  • A steep learning slope

    Article By: BILL WARD , Star Tribune Publish December 28, 2011 2:00 AM / Update January 30, 2012 1:28 PM

    Self-taught gardener Tricia Frostad created an eye-popping display in her front yard and a series of streams in her hilly back yard.

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Beverly Moore's garden

  • Tending a dream

    Article By: KIM PALMER , Star Tribune Publish November 9, 2011 2:00 AM / Update April 10, 2015 9:20 AM

    A design-savvy gardener fulfilled her vision of creating a beautiful landscape -- one worthy of a special event.

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Kevin Blaeser and Cooper Hipp's garden

  • They aren't afraid of change

    Article By: BILL WARD , Star Tribune Publish October 19, 2011 2:00 AM / Update January 30, 2012 2:27 PM

    A Golden Valley duo have created a gorgeous haven, but they're constantly working to enhance it.

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Gardeners Richard and Shirley Friberg

  • Partners in planting

    Article By: KIM PALMER , Star Tribune Publish March 9, 2011 2:00 AM / Update March 8, 2011 4:33 PM

    The Fribergs of Roseville are tireless gardening overachievers. They host tours, they volunteer, and they're active in multiple clubs. And, oh yeah, they still find time to tend their awe-inspiring landscape.

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Lake Elmo Beautiful Garden contest winner

  • The constant gardener

    Article By: KIM PALMER , Star Tribune Publish January 12, 2011 2:00 AM / Update January 11, 2011 3:45 PM

    An ambitious green thumb and her helpful husband team up to tend a winning garden in Lake Elmo -- and to collaborate on a humorous his-and-hers gardening book.

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A Brooklyn Park garden

  • Carefree cottage gardening

    Article By: BILL WARD , Star Tribune Publish December 8, 2010 2:00 AM / Update December 7, 2010 1:00 PM

    A Brooklyn Park yard evolved into a haven for the birds and the bees and the flowers and the trees.

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Randy Ferguson

Sarah Buerkley transformed her Stillwater landscape

Tom and Anna Erbes in their garden

The Peden garden

  • Her garden became his inspiration

    Article By: KIM PALMER , Star Tribune Publish February 10, 2010 2:00 AM / Update February 9, 2010 4:40 PM

    Jennifer Baldwin Peden was the star in the garden. Her husband, Tom, was waiting in the wings - until a touring show took her away and inspired him to pick up where she left off.

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Reclaimed street pavers line the beds

  • Back-yard bouquet

    Article By: LYNN UNDERWOOD , Star Tribune Publish January 13, 2010 2:00 AM / Update January 18, 2010 3:13 PM

    A Bloomington woman interweaves old-fashioned coneflowers, flowering shrubs and flagstone walkways to turn her turf-covered suburban back yard into a massive cutting garden.

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Jim Smith

  • The final season

    Article By: KIM PALMER , Star Tribune Publish November 11, 2009 2:00 AM / Update November 10, 2009 7:35 PM

    A garden's beauty is always ephemeral. But as Jim Smith's flowers and foliage fade for the winter this year, it's especially poignant because Smith knows it's for the last time. Next spring, the Environmental Protection Agency plans to dig up his landscape and replace his arsenic-laced soil.

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Mark Campbell

  • Back-yard bounty

    Article By: CONNIE NELSON , Home + Garden Editor Publish October 21, 2009 2:00 AM / Update October 21, 2009 7:27 AM

    A passionate, learn-as-you-go gardener reaps the fruits of many years of labor in his Edina yard.

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Buerkleys' garden

Master gardener Jane Horn and her husband, LeRoy

  • Garden gallery

    Article By: KIM PALMER , Star Tribune Publish April 29, 2009 2:00 AM / Update October 20, 2009 1:28 PM

    A passion for sculpture -- and an aversion to mowing -- inspired an ambitious landscape in Prior Lake that its keepers eagerly share with others.

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  • Gorgeous gardens

    Article By: STEVE RICE , Publish / Update June 12, 2009 8:21 AM

    See highlights from all six winners of last year's Beautiful Gardens contest.

Taft family

Artistic director in her work of art

Sun shines on Bob Sauer's garden

  • Park place in Edina

    Publish January 28, 2009 2:00 AM / Update February 24, 2009 4:31 PM

    A do-it-yourself Edina gardener transformed an overgrown yard into a parklike setting with a string of intimate, inventive gardens.

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Marian and Larry Fischer

Lucy Pacieznik in her garden


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