A retired high school teacher capitalized on her scientific curiosity, passion for arborvitae and summer breaks to make a barren lot beautiful. Updated Apr. 18, 2015
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.
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.”
By taking a survival-of-the-fittest approach, a Bloomington woman is creating a free-flowing, ever-changing garden where nature is in control.
Beautiful Garden contest winners Jim and Sally Strand tend an Asian-inspired garden complete with 23 distinct planting areas in their Plymouth yard.
A Plymouth couple turned an unfortunate incident into inspiration for a garden transformation.
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.
“Garden saviors” created a mini arboretum to share with the community.
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.
BEAUTIFUL GARDENS: First in a series of contest winners. A couple joined forces to create a pair of distinctly different urban gardens – a productive front-yard plot and a tranquil back-yard retreat.
John Humleker installed lighting to highlight the “hobbit house” he built and the surrounding water garden of lilies, grasses and other aquatic plants.
A Minneapolis couple didn't let a compact city yard stop them from creating a fanciful landscape of waterfalls, shade and sun beds, and even a hobbit house.
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.
An Edina couple have collaborated on an ambitious collection of plants and plots.
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.”
Self-taught gardeners transformed their suburban back yard from green turf into a colorful oasis to become winners of our Beautiful Gardens contest.
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..
A St. Paul couple have achieved the improbable: a lush, low-maintenance garden that fills every square inch of their yard.
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.
St. Paul’s Highland Park neighborhood is a long way from the French countryside. But Eileen and Bill Troxel have managed to create a little slice of Provence in their back yard.
This rose withstood a beetle infestation.
Two Plymouth gardeners combine their love for roses and waterfalls into a lavish landscape.
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.
Marcia Fluer, of TV news fame, now gets her hands dirty in her Golden Valley garden, a collaboration with her husband, a train hobbyist.
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.”
Starting with a blank slate 15 years ago, Diane Erdmann crafted spaces that fit in with nature – and the neighborhood.
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.
Jeanne Thatcher went to college intending to become an art teacher. But teaching jobs were scarce the year she graduated, so she ended up becoming a medical lab technician instead.
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.
Beautiful gardens: For the past two decades, a Minnesota couple have been creating a massive, European-influenced shade garden in their suburban yard.
Beautiful garden winner Kate Podobinski's Bryn Mawr garden
The garden of Jerry and Lee Shannon in St. Paul. This is the formal si...
Tricia Frostad's front yard garden in Chanhassen.
Beverly Moore's garden
Kevin Blaeser and Cooper Hipp's garden
Gardeners Richard and Shirley Friberg
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.
Lake Elmo Beautiful Garden contest winner
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.
A Brooklyn Park garden
Sarah Buerkley transformed her Stillwater landscape
Tom and Anna Erbes in their garden
The Peden garden
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.
Reclaimed street pavers line the beds
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.
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.
Master gardener Jane Horn and her husband, LeRoy
See highlights from all six winners of last year's Beautiful Gardens contest.
Artistic director in her work of art
Sun shines on Bob Sauer's garden
Marian and Larry Fischer
To Marian, the land near Waseca is her canvas, and flowers and foliage are her medium. Husband Larry is co-groundskeeper and crewman.
Lucy Pacieznik in her garden
The fragrant phlox spilling down the slope of Lucy Pacieznik's back yard in Apple Valley have their roots in a forced labor camp in Germany, where her Ukrainian mother first held her as a newborn in 1943.