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Become a Smarter Gardener in 2019: New Year's Resolutions Part 1

Every year, I make a a few resolutions - to move more, to visit my folks more often, to cut back on sugar. As a gardener, I like to set resolutions that don't include words like "renovate" or "reduce", but instead to broaden my garden knowledge and appreciation for the diverse landscape of my home state Minnesota. Go Gophers!

Make a resolution, become a smarter gardener!

My resolution for 2019 is to visit more public gardens. As an extension educator, you'd think I visit public gardens all the time, but days get so busy. There are some gardens I do visit regularly such as the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum (often there for work), Noerenberg Memorial Gardens (almost in my backyard), and the UMN Horticulture Display Garden (right outside my office door).

But this year, I am literally scheduling time every month on my Google calendar to visit a public garden in Minnesota. The UMN College of Food, Agriculture and Natural Resource Sciences has a great webpage Public Gardens of Minnesota that includes a listing of all the public gardens in our state.

Gardens to put on your 'must see' list!

Here are just a few Minnesota public gardens I plan to visit in 2019:
Prairie Overlook and Boulder Circle
Swedish immigrant cabin in the background
Linnaeus Arboretum - Located on the grounds of my alma mater, Gustavus Adolphus College in St. Peter, I last visited this garden in May 23, 2006, the 300th birthday of one of my horticulture heroes and namesake of this garden, Carl Linnaeus. I was most struck by the prairie in which this garden grows, and the simplicity that nudges my Scandinavian heritage.
In 2019: visit the new wildflower planting

Muriel Sahlin Arboretum - Located in Roseville, just a hop and skip from the St. Paul campus, this 8-acre arboretum is completely new to me! Operated by the City of Roseville Parks and Facitlities, this public garden includes "... beautiful theme gardens, manicured grounds, walkways, water fountain, and wonderful architectural features." 
In 2019: discover this garden and the Urban Orchard Demonstration Project.

Enger Tower Park - Wow! The views in the virtual tour of this garden managed by the City of Duluth Parks and Recreation are amazing! All the times I've been to Duluth and never to this gem of a public garden. Definitely a summer stop on our trips up north. 
In 2019: Have a picnic at the Enger Tower gazebo overlooking Lake Superior.

Schell Mansion and Garden
Schell's Mansion and Garden - Why not combine a garden visit with cold Minnesota-made beverage? I have never visited the Schell mansion and garden (or brewery for that matter). Just down the road in New Ulm, this is one garden visit I think I can wrangle a few friends to join! 
In 2019: Learn about the Schell family home, garden and history (and bring a hugger).

Most people don't associate public gardens with cemeteries, and a few may be "creeped out" at the fact I want to visit them. However, cemetery design and grounds maintenance is a very specialized form of landscaping, and some of the most beautiful. Lakewood Cemetery and Oakland Cemetery are two on my list for 2019. 

Located in south Minneapolis, the 250-acre Lakewood Cemetery is the resting place of an array of famous Minnesotans such as Hubert H. Humphrey, Paul Wellstone, Charles Lindbergh, Theodore Wirth, Ruben Youngdahl, Les Kouba - even Tiny Tim (the singer, not the Dickens character).  Lakewood Cemetery maintains one of the largest greenhouse operations for a cemetery in the country. 

St. Paul's historic Oakland Cemetery is the oldest cemetery in Minnesota. Founded in 1853 and designed by Chicago landscape architect, Horace Cleveland, Oakland's 100 acres is the final resting for over 50,000 people including Harriet Bishop, Henry Sibley, Alexander Ramsey, and Amherst Wilder. The cemetery also has designated areas for veterans, fireman, and various nationalities. 
In 2019: Take my friend Jim Calkins and visit these important landscapes.

Want to find more ways to become a better gardener in 2019? Watch Part Two

Author: Julie Weisenhorn, Extension educator - Horticulture

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