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.

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.