Nuts for Bulbs

Changing beds for the season.

We were presented by our Horticulturist with the pattern for planting bulbs in the annual beds. Fewer flower choices with a more muted palate and more of a repeating pattern than some previous years. I mentioned that with the spray painted guide lines and bamboo borders, that the flower beds made me think of some of Piet Mondrian’s paintings. One of my colleague’s thought the patterns were more reminiscent of the De Stijl movement. Pointing out the architectural and artistic aspects of what we were doing. Both the artist and movement were Dutch, and we are working with bulbs, and we all know how nuts for bulbs the Dutch are.

During all this prep time, park patrons would comment on the amount of bulbs, looking forward to the spring showing, etc. One person mentioned that the patterns made her think of the Bauhaus (not the band) style. At this point, the Horticulturist, who is also our boss and was listening in while we were having this discussion while we were supposed to be working, told us that the patterns and colors were actually inspired by a children’s book she reads to her four year old, about pattern and color recognition.

Hmm, well, ok.

Crabby Appleton does not live here

Within the arboretum of Lyndale park there is an area of Crabapple trees. Beginning in the 1970’s, and over decades, over 60 varieties of Crabapples were planted. I don’t know how many are still standing, but here are 45 of them. On one of my trips to the park board archives I found a list of these plantings. Unfortunately there is no corresponding map or legend that indicates which tree is which. Trying to match them will be an on-going project. In spring the flowers on these trees are amazing and some of the first we see. Now, a mushy carpet of fallen fruit scents the air with a lovely sickly-sweet smell of harvest time. I enjoy it and hope you like the pictures.

Subtle beauty

The weird weather patterns have contributed to us having an exceptional year, and the gardens in Lyndale Park are in full and glorious bloom now. If you can, do yourself a favor and spend some time in the flowers. The roses are in their third bloom. The Annuals & Perennials are popping and the Hummingbirds, Butterflies and Bees are making their presence known.

Ouchius Maximus.

The other day while weeding I happened to disrupt a ground wasp hive. Ground wasps? Really? No fair. All of a sudden, my arm feels hot and electric and I’m seeing a lot of little yellow & black things flying around.

I got a total of four stings on my left arm. I got one of them later that was flying around in my pants! Over the next few days, the swelling increased and the itching became distracting, depending on the time of day, or alignment to Stonehenge or something.

Today my arm looks more normal and I can see the knuckles on my hand again. Hopefully I can avoid this for the rest of the gardening year.

Final Score:

Bugs 4 – Greg 1

We Winsome & we lose some

We Winsome & we lose some

This is some of the best news for roses and their gardeners in some time. Nothing good can be said about Japanese Beetles. Nothing. We all dread their arrival and can’t wait for their yearly demise. Our only practical action is defensive; spending time daily going from plant to plant and knocking the JBs into buckets of soapy water to drown them.

Here in Minneapolis at the Rose garden, the Japanese Beetles began showing up in early July, not many at first but their numbers are increasing. So, it was with a stunned surprise when we found out about a naturally occurring predator that lays its eggs on the heads of the female beetles! This causes eventual paralysis so that the JB falls to the ground and provides food for the new fly. Nature is truly frightening, ruthless and efficient. In the picture above we see two JBs doing what they do besides eat… The female is on the bottom and has a white spot on its head. This is a Winsome fly larva. Here is a link to a good blog post that goes into great detail about this unexpected ally – the Winsome fly.

Here is a link to the facebook page for Lyndale Park Gardens and you can read the happy response.

Early design for the Trial Garden

Louis Boeglin was the Horticulturist for the park board in the early 20th century, having been recruited early on by Theodore Wirth. I do hope you can see this amazingly detailed map in it’s full size, here on the interweb. It is the layout for plantings in what is now known as the Trial Gardens of Lyndale Park, and is dated January, 1925.

I’m just finding out about Louis Boeglin. In my take on things, many of the concepts for our parks are credited with being thought of, and developed by Theodore Wirth. Where there is a lot of truth in that I think that people like Louis Boeglin took thise concepts and made them reality. He had his hands in the ground.

In another portion of this blog is an essay that he wrote the same year entitled Some Interesting Facts on ‘Garden Roses in the Northwest‘. I tried to recreate the page format and left in the few misspellings and typo’s. That sic thing.

Small start

We began to notice buds at the end of May. The Rugosa’s in the NE corner, outside the fence, are the first to burst out with that pretentious force of color and subtle scent. Welcome back. We really need you now.

The Idiots are blooming too

Every year we experience patterns of vandalism in the park. These very heavy concrete flower pots seem to be a prime target. The other night some people continued on this fine tradition. The pots were placed on 12” metal rods, secured into the ground. Whoever did this had to spend a lot of time and a lot of effort. Way to go guys, such determination. You showed us. In past years they’ve been broken the pots into pieces with those pieces thrown into different parts of the fountain.  

The idiots are blooming

with a scent of privileged ignorance

spoiled fruit does hurl.

The strong and stupid

proving they are those things

undoubtedly impressing gurls.

Now we’re digging holes.

Winter storage for tree roses
Forty unearthed rose trees.

Digging out forty rose trees

from winter’s safe harbor home pit of dirt.

The previous year someone stole six.

Just came by and dug them out one night.

So that when we returned next morning

we were greeted by holes.


Now we’re digging holes.

Maybe one hundred so far.

In beds

along borders throughout the garden.

Holes for filling with new roses

not from taking old roses.

Besides these holes

return flowers and weeds

bees and birds

toads, closed roads, buds on trees

and people in masks

all out

with their needs.

We are all still in this collective shock

of our world in pause around us.

As we come outside

to a world around us that thrives

and returns without us.

Strong and delicate.

Those anemic points see light again

and say

Hey, we made it.

Here we are.

Time to get ready.