A Garden Summit in St. Paul


Summit Avenue is one of the most historic streets in St. Paul, Minnesota.



Gilded age robber barons, James J. Hill notable among them, built their mansions here, on the high ground above the river. Many of the mansions have been divided into multiple units in the years since. This is still a fashionable area, though.


You can take an architecture tour of Summit Avenue, but we were there as part of the Minneapolis Garden Bloggers Fling, to visit the garden of columnist Marge Hols.


A deep and luscious mixed border lines the street. That’s one of the Fling buses parked behind it.


This is another garden full of appealing plant combinations. I like these white daisies with the spray of Heuchera flowers, dark Smokebush leaves (Cotinus), and dwarf conifer.


A family of stone rabbits crouch in a shady spot. Inanimate rabbits are the only kind that I like.

Native plants line one side of the house, like these Doll’s Eyes (Actaea pachypoda).


A comfortable stone patio in the back garden.


What are these things called with the arrow sticking through the rings? Anyway, I like it, along with the Purple Coneflowers (Echinacea purpurea) and the Foxgloves (Digitalis purpurea). They look good in this partly shaded spot. I think those low blue flowers are Torenia.


Another big mixed border in a sunny area of the back.


That looks like ‘Raspberry Wine’ Bee Balm (Monarda didyma), but maybe not. Delicious mix of plants.


Also this  Clematis with the dangling blue flowers looks fantastic with the yellow Yarrow (Achillea millefolium). Makes me wonder if I could squeeze a couple of Yarrow into my Driveway border, where I now have two ‘Betty Corning’ Clematis.


Not one to waste space, Marge Hols has a wonderful sunny border along the alley behind this brick wall. Yarrow, purple Liatris spicata, and orange butterflyweed (Asclepias tuberosa) provided plenty of color on the day or our visit.

I thought we were quite lucky to have a chance to poke around this private garden.

29 Comments on “A Garden Summit in St. Paul”

  1. Oh, that was one of my favorites. I know I keep saying that. Oh well. It’s hard to know where to start commenting about this garden, because it was simply so thoughtfully and warmly arranged. I’m sure much planning went into it, but it had that feeling of a natural, cottage-style garden that feels so comfortable and calming.

  2. I love this garden, and although I do have some of the same plants, my garden just looks messy in comparison…the borders of Marge’s are very well maintained. I love the Clematis, amongst the many lovely flowering shrubs. The stone rabbits!… I’ve got to get some of those!

  3. What beautiful gardens. I think the thing with the arrow is a sundial. I would love to have one in my own garden. I have a collection of the stone type rabbits, and they are well behaved. I also have had the furry, heart-beating type. Some are better than others. I once had one who spent his time nibbling weeds and never bothered more desirable plants. We need more like him!

  4. I imagine that architecture tour would have been interesting, what a fascinating neighbourhood. I loved the daisies and hechura, and those stone rabbits. I too thought that was a delicious mix of flowering plats. Good luck squeezing the yarrow into your garden.xxx

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