A Gardening Couple’s Magnificent Obsession
As an obsessed gardener, I can sense right away when I am visiting a garden belonging to fellow fanatics. Dianne and Dan Latham’s garden gave me that feeling right away during the visit that took place as part of the Minneapolis Garden Bloggers Fling back in July. In fact, I’m compelled to say that their dedication is awe-inspiring.
A focal point of the Latham’s garden is a 1,000 gallon pond lined with bluestone. The pond is full of water lilies and lotus flowers
Oh, and fish. The Lathams keep the fish and the water lilies indoors in tubs and tanks during the frigid Minnesota winter.
The Latham’s garden mixes literally hundreds of varieties of perennial, annual, and tropical plants. This means that every fall they dig up hundreds of tubers and bulbs for overwinter storage in their heated garage. Like I said: dedication.
A view of the pond from a little distance.
Crates of excess plants are donated to non-profit community gardens as well as to plant sales held by various civic groups.
Lilies are a particular favorite of the Lathams, and an amazing variety was on display
No idea what variety this is but I really like the apricot spotted with maroon color.
Dan Latham has a strong interest in edible gardening, so edible plants are mixed in with ornamentals. Here’s an espaliered apple tree.
In addition to the pond, you can’t miss the Latham’s gazebo. It looks very comfortable, but for seem reason if feels like there should be a band playing in there.
Here’s a view from the back deck that includes both the gazebo and the pond.
On the deck we found another facet of the Latham’s eclectic gardening interests: cacti! Cacti in pots, to be exact.
Below the deck is a luscious shady bed packed with Hostas, Ferns, and Astilbes, among other things.
North American natives are not a focus of this garden, but they are not completely absent. For example, here are some Swamp Milkweed (Asclepias incarnata) mixed in with the Lilies and Daylilies. I also saw some very impressive Red Baneberry (Actaea rubra).
The Latham’s colorful borders have no shortage of excitement. I love that big clump of yellow spires from the Ligularia.
I like the combination in this picture: a tropical leaf, lilies, and a white cultivar of Purple Coneflower (Echinacea purpurea).
The Lathams are both retired patent attorneys. I imagine that retirement makes it easier to devote the time needed to maintain such a large and complex garden. I devote a lot of time to my own garden, but I can’t imagine putting in the time needed to overwinter all these tender plants. (Though there are my container tulips, of course …)
What about you? Do you grow a lot of tender plants in your garden? Do you feel that they are worth the effort?