“What kind of plant is that?” is a common query during garden tours. Gardeners are always curious about plants they can’t identify. And Twin Cities garden tours are some of the best places to see new varieties — and gather ideas for design, companion-planting or the best native plants for your garden.
For some gardeners, the meticulously planted weed-free beds featured on tours are aspirational. For others, it’s simply a chance to gawk at amazing koi ponds and tranquil waterfalls.
Here's a roundup of upcoming garden tours for every taste this summer:
WEEKEND OF JUNE 23-24
Artful Garden Tour in Hudson, Wis.
What: Victorian-style gardens of the historic Octagon House and country gardens of the private farmstead Settlement Hill are among the six gardens open for tours.
When: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. June 23, noon to 4 p.m. June 24.
Cost: $12 at the historic Octagon House (first stop on the tour), 1004 3rd St., Hudson, Wis.
Prospect Park Garden Club Walk
What: “Garden Melodies,” showcasing public and private gardens inspired by music, including pollinator, vegetable and therapeutic gardens in the Prospect Park neighborhood of Minneapolis. Plant sale of perennials, annuals, shrubs and vegetables at Tower Hill Park, home of the landmark “Witch’s Hat” tower.
When: 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. June 23.
Cost: Free. Pick up maps at the plant sale, or go to pperr.org.
South St. Paul Community Garden Tour
What: Eight to 10 small urban and expansive suburban gardens in the South St. Paul area.
When: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. June 24.
Cost: $8 tour day at 2101 Wentworth Av., South St. Paul, from 9:30 a.m. to 2 p.m.; $6 in advance at sspgardenclub.org.
Mahtomedi Garden Club Tour
What: Seven unique gardens in the Mahtomedi area.
When: Noon to 4 p.m. June 24.
Cost: $15 tour day at Veterans Memorial Park (formerly Triangle Park), 88 Mahtomedi Av.; $12 in advance at mahtomedigardenclub.org.
WEEKEND OF JULY 14-15
Hennepin County Master Gardener Learning Garden Tour
What: Nine private gardens designed and tended by Master Gardeners, who will offer tips and answer questions at the Minneapolis and Richfield sites. Master Gardeners will also give demonstrations at various educations stations on topics such as hydroponics, native plants and composting. The tour features books for sale and handcrafted gardening accessories at the Garden Shed.
When: 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. July 14.
Cost: $20 tour day; $15 in advance at hennepinmaster gardeners.org or Extension Master Gardener Hennepin County office, 479 Prairie Center Dr., Eden Prairie, or call 612-596-2130.
Rochester Garden and Flower Club Garden Tour
What: RCTC Heintz Center SMART garden and five private gardens, including demonstrations, art and music.
When: 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. July 14.
Where: Tour starts at RCTC SMART Garden, 1926 College View Rd. E., Rochester.
Cost: $15 day of tour. For details, go to rgfc.org.
Northfield Garden Tour
What: Six private gardens including pollinator habitats, vegetable beds, a walipini-inspired greenhouse, fruit trees, rain and prairie gardens in the Northfield area. The sites also showcase local artists with works for sale.
When: 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. July 14-15.
Cost: $10 at Eco Gardens, 600 Division St., and Knecht’s Nurseries, 1601 Hwy. 19 Blvd., and tour days. Details at thenorthfieldgardenclub.org.
Maple Grove Days Garden Tour
What: Five private gardens and the 15-acre Maple Grove Arboretum including the “Angel of Hope” Garden and pathways winding through perennial and annual beds.
When: 1 to 5 p.m. July 15.
Cost: Free. Maps will be posted at mgco.org/events/garden-tours.
WEEKEND OF JULY 21-22
Andover Pollinator Awareness Project Tour
What: Variety of pollinator-friendly gardens in the Andover and Ramsey area.
When: 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. July 21.
Cost: Free. Maps will be posted at pollinatorawareness. wordpress.com.
WEEKEND OF JULY 28-29
Minnesota Water Garden Society Pond and Garden Tour
What: Eleven backyard paradises on the east side of the metro include multilevel cascading waterfalls, meandering streams, ponds filled with koi, fountains and Asian-themed beds. A Maplewood site is landscaped with water features illuminated after dark. Water plants will be for sale at a Mahtomedi site. MWGS members and homeowners will answer questions on how to integrate water features into the landscape, and share experiences on building ponds and water gardens.
When: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. July 28-29.
Cost: $20 tour day; $15 in advance at mwgs.org or call 612-803-7663.
Tangletown Garden, Art and Music Event
What: Gardens in Minneapolis and St. Paul, featuring local artists in select gardens. Post-tour music festival by local bands, and food and beverages from Wise Acre Eatery.
When: Garden tour 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.; music festival 3 to 10 p.m. July 28.
Cost: $30 in advance, $35 at the door. Go to tangletowngardens.com.
WEEKEND OF AUG. 4-5
Robbinsdale Diggers Garden Club Tour
What: Bus tour of the Garden by the Woods Nursery in Chanhassen, specializing in organic and native plants, At the Farm in Waconia with a farmers market and antiques, the Hamburg garden of Duane Otto of the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum, and wine-tasting at the Parley Lake Winery in Waconia.
When: 9:15 a.m. to 5:15 p.m. Aug. 4. Pickup at Robin Center parking lot 4114 Lakeland Av. N., Robbinsdale.
Cost: $55 includes lunch and wine-tasting. Go to robbinsdalediggers.com.