Minnesota Prairie Roots

Writing and photography by Audrey Kletscher Helbling

Northwoods style Northfield garden features eclectic art July 25, 2014

Bird art perched on a front yard rock.

Bird art perched on a front yard rock.

AFTER SLIDING MY FINGERTIPS into bird poop while photographing a bird sculpture duo perched on a rock, I determined to be more watchful.

But often I get so lost in what I’m doing that I don’t notice the obvious. Like poop. Bird or dog.

A portion of the shady back yard.

A portion of the shady backyard.

Yet, in a northwoods style yard situated along a quiet residential street in Northfield far from the wilds of northern Minnesota, it didn’t take long for me to determine property owners Barry and Kerry Cipra have created gardens that call for focus.

At first glance, I thought this simply a woman draped in beaded necklaces.

At first glance, I thought this simply a woman draped in beaded necklaces.

On a second focused look, I saw this sculpture is part woman, part cat, "The Cat Lady."

On a second focused look, I saw this sculpture is part woman, part cat, aka “The Cat Lady.”

Fail to focus and you may miss some of the eclectic art incorporated into a property defined by six mature white pines, boulders and rocks, but no grass.

Beautiful towering pines fill the property.

Beautiful pines tower over the property.

No grass. Rather, pine needles layer the ground, creating a cushy carpet.

The garden art includes original sculptures by Jennifer Wolcott.

The garden art includes original sculptures by Jennifer Wolcott.

I’ve never seen a yard quite as northwoods style unique as this one. Here the greenery of shade-loving plants like ferns and hosta provide a neutral backdrop for quirky and one-of-a-kind sculptures.

Art pops with color.

Art pops with color.

Art infuses color and interest.

Yes, that's a goat hiding in the greenery.

Yes, that’s a goat hiding in the greenery.

See for yourself, as viewed through my camera lens. Just remember to focus.

I had a little fun pairing my foot with garden art on the back steps.

I had a little fun pairing my foot with garden art on the back steps. Yes, I should polish my toenails.

Sea life in the backyard.

Sea life in the backyard. Maybe northerns or walleyes would be more appropriate for this Minnesota garden.

Washtub coleus add a spot of color in a sideyard space next to the house.

Washtub coleus add a spot of color in a sideyard space next to the house.

A rustic arbor and rocks define the front yard created by Switzer Landscaping.

A rustic arbor, Jennifer Wolcott sculptures and rocks define the front yard created by Switzers’ Landscaping.

BONUS PHOTO: Woodcarver Dick Zawacki was the featured artist in the Cipra garden. He created this life-like mountain lion:

Dick Zawacki says this is one of his favorite carvings, so realistic it stopped a dog in its tracks.

Dick Zawacki says this is one of his favorite carvings, so realistic it stopped a dog in its tracks.

FYI: The Cipras’ property was one of six featured on the recent Northfield Garden Club 2014 Garden Tour. Click here to read previous posts from the tour and check back for one final garden tour.

© Copyright 2014 Audrey Kletscher Helbling

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14 Responses to “Northwoods style Northfield garden features eclectic art”

  1. Sartenada Says:

    Wonderful post indeed. I love art and eclectic art seem to be very beautiful, as You presented in Your post. If You have time, then check what my wife has done. Happy Friday!

  2. That is an interesting garden. I’m not sure I see the cat in the Cat Lady. As for toenails, why polish? Frankly, I don’t think toes are all that attractive, so why draw more attention to them with bright colors? I’m kind of a natural girl. Just my opinion.

    • I actually think my toe nails draw attention because they are not polished. Everyone else polishes there’s it seems. I rarely do. Not worth my mine and mostly I don’t care.

      Maybe if you saw the Cat Lady in person, she would be easier to distinguish. And it’s a big cat, not your typical household pet.

  3. Jackie Says:

    The goat in the greens is my favorite, the cat lady is just too creepy for me, this is quite the unique garden, love the big rocks.

  4. Thread crazy Says:

    I’m still laughing over the “bird poop”! So sorry but I thought I was the only one who had that type of luck…the cat lady looks like she might have been made in New Orleans! By the way, I’m with you on the toe nail polish….just get it on and it starts chipping…better to go “‘all naturale” I think!.

  5. Marilyn Says:

    I rather like the Cat Lady – she looks regal, but needs a tiara to counterbalance the bib of necklaces. It makes me long for some art in my own garden, but it’s not going to happen anytime soon. But perhaps I could do a coleus feature. Sadly my gardening is almost like my quilting – I clip the photos that inspire me and that’s about as far as I go! Please note the modifying ‘about’ as I do a bit of both, just not with much accomplishment. Just a question: Did the pendulum move? The very name implies it does.

    • A tiara would be perfect.

      Yes, the pendulum moves. It was magical.

      I bet you’re better at gardening and quilting that you give yourself credit for in this comment. If it’s any consolation, I think we all clip and then don’t always follow through with the inspiration.

  6. hotlyspiced Says:

    The cat carving is excellent. What a beautiful garden. It seems so peaceful xx

  7. Loving the gardens lately – BEAUTIFUL 🙂


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