This article about Laura Stone, the home garden winner in the MSHS Great Gardening Contest 2021 originally appeared in the November/December 2021 issue of Northern Gardener.
Laura Stone moved to a ½-acre of land on Lake Superior in 1986. Two small buildings and an orchard quickly became her life’s project—she’s spent the last 35 years restoring what was once a commercial fishing property to natural lake shore habitat packed with native plants.
“The honeyberry hedge has the first flowers of the season,” Laura says, “and that serves the bumblebees well.” Blooms in the apple orchard quickly follow. Then crabapples, anemones and others serve the monarchs until the swamp milkweed blossoms. She’s planted a feast of various flowers and fruits that support hummingbirds and other pollinators all season long.
Since the North Shore is a migratory flyway, Laura carefully maintains “their local restaurant”, serving up fresh apples, crabapples and other berries to nourish birds on their journey. She also shares her flowers and produce with neighbors and offers tours, inspiring her community to grow along with her.
Her best advice to anyone just starting out? Brighten the corner where you are, she says, echoing lyrics from a World War II song her father shared as guidance. “A garden is a good place to start,” Laura says.
We couldn’t agree more. You can follow Laura on Instagram at @laura.stone.96199
The Great Gardening Contest is an annual event, sponsored by MSHS, for gardeners to share photos of their gardens, whether they are community spaces, container gardens or home gardens. The project began in 2020 when the Minnesota State Fair was canceled and continued in 2021. Thanks to all the participants!
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