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.

Beds, Bulbs & Blueprints

But helpless Pieces of the Game He plays / Upon this Chequer-board of Nights and Days 

5000 plus Tulip bulbs for Lyndale Gardens. The larger beds in the annual – perennial gardens got about 1000 each with a six inch grid drawn out with a bulb placed every three inches.

Hither and thither moves, and checks, and slays, / And one by one back in the Closet lays.

One of our last tasks was removing the twenty plus tree roses from their beds, and placing them in the pit. This is a winterizing procedure known as “The Minnesota Tip Method” and will protect them from exposure. It will also prevent those bourgeois burglars from stealing SIX of them like they did last fall. Seriously. We came into work one morning and there were six holes where rose trees used to be.

On a more historical note, I’d like to present three versions of the Rose Garden. This first one is from 1908. Among the changes, their is no longer a road connecting Roseway Road and 42nd Street.

The first design of the Rose Garden

The second map is from 1940, and the third from 1947. These blueprints have more detail and include numbered list of the roses and their locations. They also give some information as to the names of the park board officials of the time.

The most significant differences are the layouts of the smaller beds towards the top of the garden and around the fountain.

This version was recently created by the same gardener who created the display signage. Thank you Chelsea for sharing this. It contains the names of the roses in the main beds and their approximate coloring.

Season’s end is near

On the 9th of 10, the new panels that make the Monoliths were brought in and set up. We were fortunate to have a beautiful day to do this. Last year we did the same activity in snow. It’s a bittersweet activity because we all know now that we are literally wrapping up for the season.

While those guys were erecting the first monolith, we were completing another task. Getting 20+ freaking-giant tarps out of storage for winterizing rose beds. I remember taking these things in at the beginning of spring when they were wet and heavy and very gross. They were so wet and heavy with grossness that it took two trips with two trucks. This time one trip.

These had been stored in an old building by the river. These signs are what is left. The sign in the window is the name of the former occupant. The business wasn’t a printer, it was the owners name. I find that very funny, but that could just be me. The other sign speaks for itself. I haven’t called.

Part of getting ready for the coming of winter is cutting down and preparing. One of our colleagues who works in the Peace garden made this great spiral design for their central lawn. I would like to see this continue but know that I could not pull this off with my mowing skills.

Roses along the way

There are 64 beds of roses within the garden and several dozen more varieties planted around the borders. Recently one of our gardeners combined her digital media skills with the gardens’ physical need for signage. This first set of images are roses along the walkway. They are presented as you would see them if you were looking to your right as you walk along the walkway from the lake toward the fountain, and then back to the lake. If you don’t turn around as you walk backwards back towards the lake, you would then turn your head to the left.

The year refers to when the rose became available for sale to the commercial / home market. I’m glad to see a notation for fragrance as well. We are often asked which are the best smelling roses, which is a very subjective thing actually and hard to answer. There will be times working in the garden when a breeze will pass through with an intoxicating brief smell that makes me stop and turn around as if I could maybe find where that particular scent came from. I wonder if that skill set exists to be able to smell test roses? “That’s Lasting Peace, I’d know it anywhere.” “No, you’re wrong. That’s Easy to Please if it’s anything.”

Chelsea not only made these but took all the rose photographs, so thanks again for sharing them. The only other information I would have included would have been a scale of thorn intensity, this being the Game of Thorns after all.

These last images are from the beds South of the walkway that separate the tree roses. These would be the last 8 beds as you walk along the long walkway back towards the lake. As of this writing many of these roses are in their last yet still glorious blooms. It’s been a good year for the roses.

From the gardens of mortals to the gardens of the gods, with stops in between.

As the game of thorns draws to its inevitable seasons end, winter comes after fall after all, we had the opportunity to travel West. From the mild to the wild west we planned our vacation so that gardens, unique restaurants and Tiki bars were available. After battling the monotony of interstate commerce and the never-ending corn field of middle ‘Merika, these islands of quiet and consumption often proved welcome relief. I’m very pleased to say that our gardens absolutely stand up to those I saw. Not in a competitive Our thorns are sharper than your thorns kind of way, but in having a better understanding how much planning and constant work goes into the maintenance and presentation of a garden. Conversely, I was just as often impressed with the beauty and non-planning in the natural arrays of roadside flowers and mountain meadows.

The Greater Des Moines Botanical Garden is an exceptional place with a variety of gardens in a variety of settings. I could go on and on but that’s what pictures are for. Also, in Des Moines is the original location of Fong’s Pizza, if you’re looking for a real Tiki drink and / or a very good pizza, this is the place. Hidden Idol in Denver was the other Tiki bar we got to and is indeed hidden away, but worth the hunt. Adrift, also in Denver, was closed, and there was a tiny place in Estes Park that looked more deserted than closed.

Garden of the Gods in Colorado Springs is a beautiful place that is swarming with people in a never-ending parade of vehicles, not unlike an amusement park ride, but through natural wonder instead of exploding monsters. We were part of this hive for a while and got out of the car a few times when we could find a parking spot. I hadn’t been there since the late 1970’s and was very humbled, as I was several times throughout this trip, with how small I felt in such an extremely powerful place. It wasn’t an uncomfortable feeling, just the opposite. It was more of a reaffirmation of place and scale. Part of the near overwhelming sense I feel in mountains is trying to understand a larger then a larger, then a larger scale of time and place.

We had a day hike in an area outside Estes Park, CO known as Lumpy Ridge. I like the desert and more arid parts of the west, but I deeply enjoy being in the subalpine and alpine mountains. When I’m there I do wonder why I left for MN in 1985. I know why, there were a lot more whys than why nots to move, but I do long for mountains and realize this whenever I get the opportunity to return. On one occasion there was something moving in the corner of my eye. I do know that rock-face didn’t move, but it looks like it might have for a moment in its slow, 30,000-year liquid dance that rocks like to do. That one looks like a person sitting, and that one looks like a pile of rocks on top of each other. The trees sneak around slowly too. How many decades were spent finding the right spot to grow into, slowly twisting those limbs or making that graceful curve?

The CSU Flower Trial Garden in Fort Collins, CO, was also very nicely laid out and displayed. I enjoyed how the same flowers were presented in pots and planted rows. 

The Central Gardens in Clear Lake, IA was a great place to stop for a long lunch on the way back home. A wonderful example in every respect of community involvement.

The panorama setting on my camera doesn’t come close to expressing the scale and distance of mountains or the dense variety of gardens, but these pictures are pretty good. The Mtn shots are along Trail Ridge road in RMNP.

Stereotypes of the fictionalized West. We saw Buffalo Bone Cowboy from the road. I know that the lighter tones on his boots are supposed to be shading but they look like bones to me. As we were driving into N. Platte, NE for the night, I was really confused by this. Why would anyone paint a big cowboy to look like this? The dinosaur wearing hand crocheted chaps just down the road made me realize that this was a useless question. The next four pictures are from around Loveland, CO. The drive-in theater and church signs were down the road from each other. The picture of John Wayne was in one of our hotel rooms and the portrait of the guy wearing Chuck Taylor’s in a restaurant. The last picture I saw on an early morning walk outside of Hastings, NE. I didn’t catch the imagery right away.

After we were back home and all of the phone and camera pictures had been assembled together, I was looking at them all in a folder together. I found my eye drawn from this image to that one, seeing similarities and contrasts between particular images. Of the six sets shown here, some have strong contextual similarities and others with nothing in common but seem to match up well. Picture locations are Rocky Mtn National Park and the Greater Des Moines Botanical Gardens.