IN MY FARIBAULT BACKYARD, wild tiger lilies stretch above a tangled mess of greenery, popping orange into the hillside. On the other side of town, domesticated orange lilies grace the neatly-cultivated Rice County Master Gardeners Teaching Gardens at the Rice County Fairgrounds.
Also in my yard are scattered milkweeds, food for Monarch caterpillars. In the gardens tended by the experts, a mass of intentionally-planted milkweeds flourishes.
Blocks away from my home, Donahue’s Greenhouse grows one of the largest selections of clematis in the U.S. That’s their specialty. Across town at the master gardeners’ garden, clematis climb an arbor, lovely blooms opening to the summer sky.
Within a short distance of my home is the birthplace of the Tilt-A-Whirl, a carnival ride no longer made in Faribault but in Texas. On the edge of the master gardeners’ garden, a giant strawberry sits. It’s a Berry-Go-Round, a spin ride produced by Sellner Manufacturing beginning in 1987, before the company was sold.
More than 150 miles to the southwest of Faribault near the South Dakota border, prickly pear cactus thrive in the rocky lands of the prairie. I’ve seen them at Blue Mounds State Park near Luverne. And now I’ve seen them in the gardens at the local fairgrounds.
It’s interesting how, in life, so many connections exist. Even in a garden.
Gardens connect us to people, places, memories. A life that touches others goes on forever. I come from a family of gardeners tracing back generations. Vegetables grown in my mother’s massive garden fed me, and my family of origin, for the first 18 years of my life. I worked that garden with her, planting, weeding, tending, harvesting. I left gardening when I left southwestern Minnesota. But I still appreciate gardeners and gardens.
I value the beauty of flower gardens, the purpose of vegetable gardens to feed. And I appreciate, too, the peace a garden brings. To sit among the blooms and plants in a garden oasis like the Rice County master gardeners created is to feel a calm, a sense of serenity in the midst of chaos and struggles and challenges.
Water, especially, soothes me. The Rice County master gardeners understand that and added a water feature to their garden plot. I delighted in watching a tiny yellow bird (I think a goldfinch) splash in the water. Such a simple joy.
And isn’t that part of a garden’s purpose—to bring joy? Joy to those who work the soil, seed or plant, tend and care for that which grows. Joy to those who delight in the all of it.
I feel such gratitude for gardeners, for the nurturing hands that link me to nature. It’s all about connecting to each other in this world we share, in the commonality of humanity.
Please click here to read my first post about the Rice County Master Gardeners Teaching Gardens. Watch for one final post in this three-part series.
© Copyright 2022 Audrey Kletscher Helbling
Lovely, Audrey! Thank you for taking us with you on this beautiful tour of your ‘backyard’.
You are welcome, dear Penny.
With all the milkweeds you planted is that because you feel guilty for pulling them out of the bean field when you were on the farm?😲😃
I’m laughing, Eugene, because your question does hold some truth. I’ve also become much more Monarch butterfly aware in recent years and want to help that now endangered population grow.
My post today is a lamentation. Yours is a exclamation of love. :-). Thanks for the pretties.
I’ll check out your post shortly. Thank you for that definition of my post today.
I so needed a nature break – thanks 🙂 It was work on the yard this weekend and managed to get 6 of the 7 trees pruned. The 7th is the lime tree and loaded with limes like over 20 on there. So waiting to prune since producing. Happy Day – Enjoy!
What a lot of work, but I’m sure you enjoyed the outdoor times. Yum to all those limes. Do I see a pie?
I have not thought about pie. I use them for marinades and those special drinks with the little umbrellas (hehe).
Yes, please to a special drink with a little umbrella. 🙂
Nice photos Audrey. I leave a few milkweeds in my garden too.
Thank you for leaving milkweeds in your garden. I think more and more people are becoming aware of their importance to the Monarch population.