This article by Diane Duvall originally appeared in the November/December 2019 issue of Northern Gardener.
Marian Rohde gardened in the north Minneapolis home she grew up in until she was 93 years old. “She was very down to earth and attuned to the seasons,” says her longtime care companion, Wendy Ivins. “I once came home with a melon from the grocery store in January and Marian was very upset that I had purchased fruit out of season.”
(You can support MSHS like Marian with a gift on Give to the Max Day.)
Born in 1917, Marian grew up during the Great Depression. Typical of her generation, she is described as frugal, no-nonsense and independent by those who knew her best. She preferred plants and animals to people. Along with her Minneapolis garden, she had a large vegetable garden at her cabin in Grand Marais and enjoyed growing her own food. “It drove Marian crazy that young people had gotten away from gardening,” says Wendy. “She would have loved the MSHS Garden-in-a-Box program because it teaches kids how to grow plants.”
Marian was a longtime employee of Honeywell and although she enjoyed her work there, she felt best in her gardens. When Marian was no longer able to live in her home, she reluctantly moved to an assisted living apartment where she connected with staff and residents through her love of plants. “Marian earned a reputation for being the plant expert at English Rose Suites,” says Wendy, “so everyone brought their sickly plants to her for care.” When Marian died at age 100, she was surrounded by people who loved and respected her, Wendy says.
Marian Rohde shared her love gardening with the next generation by generously including MSHS in her estate plan. Her Heirloom Circle gift will help young people and others embrace gardening for years to come. If you are interested in making an Heirloom Circle gift through your estate, please contact Diane Duvall.
We are grateful to Marian and all of our Heirloom Circle members.