Como Park & Conservatory

I Love Gardens

As we’ve moved through our week-long lovefest, a variety of human made and natural features have been lauded, ranging from the very human parks (Rice Park) and cities (St. Paul), and the very natural features of trees and the Mississippi River.

Today, I’d like to laud that intersection of human and nature: the garden.

Throughout our fair cities, we are blessed with an abundance of gardens, both public and private.

Near Lake Harriet, we have the manicured spaces of the Rose Garden and Peace Garden, relatively quiet spaces near the magnet of the Lakes:

Lake Harriet garden

The gardens at Lake Harriet. Via Flickr/Creative Commons.

In St. Paul, we have the lushness of Como Park, with its mighty conservatory providing us with greenness in both winter and summer:

Como Park & Conservatory

Como Park & Conservatory. Via Flickr/Creative Commons.

 But these giant public installations are not the extent of our metro’s gardens. Along the streets of the cities, homeowners reject the tyranny of green lawns in favor of rain gardens and wildflower installations through their yards, greeting passers-by with colorful, intentional chaos. Others bedeck their porches and yards with colorful landscape:

Porch flowers, St. Paul

Porch flowers, St. Paul. Via Flickr/Creative Commons.

Vacant lots are taken over to create community gardens, such as the delightful Dayton’s Bluff Children’s Garden, which blends flowers and vegetables and art:

Dayton's Bluff Children's Garden

Dayton’s Bluff Children’s Garden

Hidden among corners and along streets, neighbors invite others to enjoy their private spaces. Small gardens spring up along the Midtown Greenway, behind private homes but clearly intended for the delight of trail users. Near the Mississippi River Trail corridor, winding along both trail and marked streets into Fridley and Anoka County, some homeowners have small signs in their yards, inviting cyclists to tour their gardens, including a truly delightful fairy garden that is “open” some Saturdays throughout the summer by whim of the wee folk (and their guardians).

Some are manicured, and some are deliberately anything but. Some offer vegetables, some flowers, some grasses… and some a little of everything. But they offer us all the delight of green space throughout our fair metro, easily accessed by condo dweller and suburbanite alike.

And I love that.

About Julie Kosbab

Julie Kosbab is an online marketing consultant and active transportation advocate living in Anoka County, Minnesota. She was one of Minnesota's only League of American Bicyclists Certified Instructors when certified in 2005, and is no longer lonely in that calling. A past member of the National Bicycle Tour Directors Association, she has 2 children and a garage full of bicycles. Find her on Twitter as @betweenstations, or read her (seldom updated) blog at Ride Boldly!