Gardens hold more than dirt and plants. They hold power. They heal.

Gardens foster community and relationships and awaken the senses while they provide hope and teach patience and fortitude.

Gardens contribute to our quality of life whether we're working in them or sitting back and taking them in.

Here we will dig deep and expose what all gardens hold, teach and reveal.

ShowSpaces- S. Minneapolis

by Jeanette Torkelson

It is late afternoon and as the sunlight yellows around me, I am reminded that in a few months we will be sitting in darkness at this time, our gardens blocked from view by the reflections of our lamp lit interiors.  It might seem early to think of autumn but I am seeing signs of it in our flowers.  The late fall blooming sedum is already flowering, leaves are starting to build up in the nooks of garden beds, and the mornings have been almost chilly.

As the oppressive heat of summer gives way to cooler nights and days, it is a good time to think about changes we want to see in our gardens.  You've heard it many times, but fall really is a great time for planting and for rearranging!

To help inspire all of us, we are starting a series showcasing gardens that we maintain throughout the Twin Cities metro area.  From grand poolside gardens to cozy urban patio gardens, we will share what you guys have been creating- and with the little bit of maintenance help-how it stays beautiful year round.  

This is a garden we have maintained for years in South Minneapolis.  Even though the owners had a very small backyard and most of it taken up with a concrete patio, we have still helped create a beautiful environment.  

It is a lush space.  Ferns and hosta provide leafy structure along the walls and paths.  The ground cover is allowed to creep between the plants and grow along rocks.

The colors of the garden warm as the season progresses and even without many blooms the backyard is lovely.

One of the key reasons this garden is successful is the diversity of plants.  The varying heights and leaf textures provides interests year round. 

The patio has sharp corners that we softened by letting the shrubs stay a little looser.  

 This garden works well for this particular space but any gardener can take away some lessons.  Remember to use variety!  Notice the deep red of the hibiscus in the photo third from the bottom.  It is just one bloom, but it adds a lot to the space.  It brings your eye to the farther corner of the garden and helps the space feel a little bigger.  To do this, we did have to trim away some of the blooms from the hydrangea tree but WAIT!  Don't toss those lovely blooms out.

Ever Evolving

by Tami Gallagher 

Last fall Jeanette and I were doing a clean-up on a particularly large property.  The job took about 25 hours (our average property is 4 hours.)  After working about 6 hours or so, Jeanette looks up and says with a sigh, “Wow, there’s a lot more to go.”  I told her to look down and focus on what was right in front of her. Then, ever so often, look back and see how much she had accomplished.

I was struck by a metaphor for the grief I was then, and still am, enduring.  My brother killed himself 9 months ago, a few weeks before the weeding session mentioned above, and every day requires mental and emotional fortitude.

My brother and I were very close.  I am overwhelmed at the thought of living the rest of my life without him.  However, my words to Jeanette echo in my mind.  In handling my grief I must remember to do today’s work, feel and process the emotions that come about today and then, ever so often, look back and appreciate how far I’ve come.

Like a garden, we should never be complete or stagnant but rather a work in progress; ever evolving. I am a different person than I was 9 months ago.  There is a heaviness in me that may always be there in some form, but I am not broken. In fact, I am wiser and more aware than ever the awe as well as the fragility of life.

Thank you to all my wonderful clients and employees for the amazing support and patience you’ve had with me over the last 9 months.  I am so blessed.