Nominate your favorite garden

Do you have a gorgeous garden? Or a friend, relative or neighbor whose garden you admire? Now that the growing season is underway, it's time to help your favorite gardeners get the recognition they deserve — by nominating their garden in our annual Beautiful Gardens contest.

Every year, Homes & Gardening seeks out the best residential gardens, then publishes the winners throughout the non-gardening months. Each winning garden will be showcased in the Star Tribune's Sunday Homes & Gardening section and online at ­

The garden can be large or small; urban, suburban or rural; edible, ornamental or both — and located anywhere in Minnesota or western Wisconsin.

It's easy to nominate a garden. Just send a few snapshots (they can be from last year), along with a brief description of the garden. Please include: who tends the garden, where it's located and what makes it special.

Send entries to: beautifulgardens@, or to Beautiful Gardens, Star Tribune, 650 3rd Av. S., Minneapolis, MN 55488. We'll accept entries through June 27.

Native plant expo

Minnesota-native plants benefit wildlife and the environment, providing habitat for bees, butterflies and birds, and reducing runoff.

Learn about natives and find a wide variety of plants Landscape Revival Native Plant Expo and Market, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. June 3 at Cub Foods' Community Pavilion, 1201 W. Larpenteur Av., Roseville. Cash/check only.

Planter party

Create your own containers, window boxes or hanging baskets with help from designers at the Summer Planter Party and Workshop hosted by Heidi's GrowHaus, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. June 2, and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. June 3, 7555 County Rd. 16, Corcoran. A $20 fee includes a bag of premium potting soil. Reserve your two-hour spot at the potting table, 763-420-2909 or

Powerful plants

Meet the author of "10 Plants that Changed Minnesota" at the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum from 11 a.m. to noon on June 3. Mary H. Meyer, author, professor and horticulturist, will be on hand to sign copies of her new book in the gift shop, 3675 Arboretum Dr., Chaska.

Northern Spark along the Green Line

This year's Northern Spark art festival will explore the culture of neighborhoods along the Metro Transit Green Line. The free all-night event starts with a launch party, 7 to 9 p.m. June 10, at Thresher Square in downtown Minneapolis, featuring food by eight restaurants, beer from Fulton Brewing, a specialty cocktail crafted by Crooked Water Spirits and music by Zuluzuluu. The opening ceremony at 8:30 p.m. will be followed by a carnival of climate games in the Commons, downtown Minneapolis' new green space.

Other areas offering art, food and interactive experiences related to climate change include the West Bank and East Bank on the University of Minnesota campus, and Little Africa, Rondo, Little Mekong and Lowertown in St. Paul.

Northern Spark will continue until sunrise June 11. For more information, visit


Fields of peonies

It's peony season. If you love the big, showy spring blossoms, consider a trip to Swenson Gardens' Peony Field Days, where more than 100 varieties in a rainbow of colors will be in bloom. All Swenson peonies are grown without chemicals.

Staffers will be on hand to answer peony-related questions and offer growing tips from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. June 2-3 and June 9-10. You can also order bare-root peonies for pickup or delivery in the fall.

Swenson Gardens is at 10958 70th St. SW. in Howard Lake, Minn., just west of the Twin Cities. For changes due to weather, go to ­ or call 763-350-2051.

Prospect Park walking tour

Many of the homes in Minneapolis' Prospect Park neighborhood were designed by instructor-architects from the nearby University of Minnesota's School of Architecture. Take the Preserve Minneapolis "Off the Grid: Prospect Park Walking Tour" to learn about the neighborhood's varied architectural styles, including Victorian, Foursquare, Prairie Derivative, Colonial Revival and Early Modern, representing the span of the city's architectural history.

Tour participants will walk about half a mile, on winding narrow streets through hilly and wooded terrain, 10 to 11:30 a.m. June 10. Meet at Pratt School, 66 Malcolm Av. SE., Mpls. Cost $10. Register at preserve and click on "Events" and "Summer Walking Tours."

Iris lovers

Are you proud of the lovely irises in your garden? Cut and submit some of your named varieties to be judged at the Iris Society of Minnesota's Iris Show June 3.

Submit entries from 8 to 10 a.m. and members of the Iris Society will help you display the plants for judging from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. The public is invited to view the Iris Show at Bachman's, 6010 Lyndale Av. S., Mpls. For details, go to

Perennial plants

Celebrate perennials with free workshops, live music, refreshments and discounts on select plant varieties at a Perennial Festival, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. June 3-4. Workshop topics include color in shady spots, ground cover, ornamental grasses and showstopping hostas, at Gertens, 5500 Blaine Av., Inver Grove Heights. Go to

Art fair kickoff

Looking for one-of-a-kind artwork for your home or cabin? The Edina Art Fair offers photography, woodwork, glass pieces, mixed media, fine art, sculptures, jewelry and wearables by more than 300 artists, June 2-4 along France Avenue S. at 50th Street. There's also a Kid Zone, live entertainment and two craft beer gardens.

Hours are 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. June 2-3 and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. June 4. A free shuttle runs daily from Southdale shopping center. Go to