Best Tips from Minnesota Garden Tours

It's that time of the year when garden clubs, Master Gardener groups and other organizations are hosting garden tours. I've been on five garden tours already this year, and have several more yet to come, and always learn something new.

Here are a few of the best tips I've seen on local garden tours so far this season.

Tour goers admired the pollinator plantings at Rhonda Hayes' Minneapolis gardn.

Have a Theme. Many of the gardens on tours seem to have a theme or purpose about them. For instance, Northern Gardener columnist Rhonda Fleming Hayes' garden was on the Hennepin County Master Gardener tour a week ago. The author of Pollinator Friendly Gardening, Rhonda has a garden designed to entice pollinators. It's in a sunny location on the side of her home and is filled with shrubs and perennials that pollinators need for larval food, shelter and nectar. Butterflies flitted through the garden throughout the tour as if to advertise how much the garden worked for them. Rhonda also has a large vegetable garden in raised beds, reflecting another one of her passions. Other gardens on the tour displayed plant collections, such as peonies or hostas, or hobby, such as bonsai. Many gardens focused on growing food, including an innovative slope garden where mushrooms thrived!

Calendula was among the main pollinator-friendly plants in Rhonda's garden.

A cool garden with a bright accessory was part of the Hennepin County Master Gardener tour.

Use Accents for Color. Another favorite garden on the Hennepin County tour was a cool yard filled with evergreens, shade trees, hydrangeas and hostas. It was a green, green space, and that felt intentional. In the midst of the backyard, however, was this purplish bird bath—the perfect accent that drew attention to itself but also complemented all the plants around it. Sometimes the colorful accent is a container plopped in the middle of a garden bed, such as the pot of impatiens seen in one of the gardens on the Men's and Women's Garden Club of Minneapolis tour last weekend.

Why not have some fun with an old boot and plants?

Think Humor. Some gardeners have a real sense for the right way to give their gardens a touch of humor or whimsy. Footwear seems to be a recurring theme, such as these succulent planted boots and the fun red rain boots that perfectly matched the impatiens in these containers.

Another shoe-related ornament accented this collection of containers.

Do you have any garden tours you'll be going on this year?

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