Minnesota Prairie Roots

Writing and photography by Audrey Kletscher Helbling

Part III, outside the Paine: More from the gardens June 21, 2017

A lawn sweeps to the majestic front entry of The Paine.

A lawn sweeps to the majestic front entry of The Paine buffeted by the Evening Terrace. The public entry to the art center is to the left.

WHEN I TOUR an estate like The Paine Art Center and Gardens in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, my eyes lock on details. The heft of a door. The hue of a flower. The curve of a sculpture.

Massive doors define the entry.

Massive doors and architectural details define the entry.

The Paine presents many opportunities to embrace art. Natural and man-made. All connect to showcase an historic late 1920s mansion designed by Ithaca, New York architect Bryant Fleming. The English country house reflects three centuries of Tudor and Gothic styles all complemented by  beautiful gardens.

 

Details in architecture atop tne Kasota limestone walls.

Details in architecture and construction include the use of Kasota limestone.

Also noteworthy is the Minnesota connection to this Wisconsin site on the National Register of Historic Places. The home’s stonework is mostly Kasota limestone from southern Minnesota.

One of many garden "rooms."

One of many garden “rooms.”

 

A majestic native oak graces the front yard.

A majestic native oak graces the front yard.

 

Lucious planters frame a path to the patio.

Stately planters and lush plantings frame a path to the Morning Terrace.

The gardens, likewise, mimic perennials, trees and shrubs hardy to Minnesota. Given the climate similarities between the two states, this is logical. Annuals and bulbs are also incorporated into The Paine gardens.

Lilies bloomed during my July 2016 visit.

Lilies bloomed during my July 2016 visit.

Flowers in bloom during my mid-summer 2016 visit differ from those blooming earlier or later. The estate landscape is like an evolving art gallery. There’s a certain visual appeal in that, in observing nature’s art always changing.

BONUS PHOTOS:

The public entry to The Paine Art Center.

The public entry to The Paine Art Center.

 

The first sculpture I spotted, near the entry.

The first sculpture I spotted, near the entry.

 

My husband, Randy, plays a xylophone in a garden.

My husband, Randy, plays a xylophone in The Children’s Field Station.

 

One of many graceful sculptures.

One of many graceful sculptures.

FYI: For more information about The Paine Art Center and Gardens, click here. Then click here to read my first post from inside The Paine. Next, click here to read Part I and then Part II of my gardens series.

© Copyright 2017 Audrey Kletscher Helbling

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Part I, outside the Paine in Oshkosh: Flowers and art and water June 19, 2017

paine-gardens-116-wire-basket-sculpture

 

HEAT AND HUMIDITY PRESSED heavy upon me as I wandered the gardens of The Paine Art Center on a summer day in Oshkosh, Wisconsin. Yet, the heat didn’t stop me from appreciating the lush flowers and plants, the water features, the sculptures and more showcased on this estate.

 

 

 

paine-gardens-106-side-view-with-gardens-in-foreground

 

It’s a lovely place, this late 1920s mansion and the landscape surrounding it. An episode of The Bachelor was filmed here in October.

 

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I realize most of you likely will never travel to eastern Wisconsin to tour The Paine. My second daughter lives in the area. So please join me on this walk around the grounds—a welcome visual summer respite for us dwellers of the North. And for those of you in other regions, I hope you, too, will appreciate the beauty of this estate once owned by Nathan and Jessie Paine of Wisconsin lumber business wealth.

 

A sweeping lawn stretches between the gardens and the rear of the late 1920s mansion.

A sweeping lawn stretches between the gardens and the rear of the late 1920s mansion.

 

Sculptures, water features,plants and flowers all intertwine in the gardens.

Sculptures, water features, plants and flowers all intertwine in the gardens.

 

Italian master sculptor created this marble sculpture titled "Girl with a Bird."

Italian master sculptor created this marble sculpture titled “Girl with a Bird.”

 

Artsy and beautiful planters abound, including this one outside the Carriage House.

Artsy and beautiful planters abound, including this one outside the Carriage House.

 

The Carriage House is available for rent, for events like wedding receptions.

The Carriage House is available for rent, for events like wedding receptions.

 

The showcase reflecting pond.

The showcase reflecting pond.

 

How lovely those lilies in the pond.

How lovely those lilies in the pond.

 

And how lovely the other lilies growing in the gardens.

And how lovely the other lilies growing in the gardens.

 

 

FYI: Because I have so many photos of the gardens, I will feature my images in two more posts. Click here to read my first post from inside this historic mansion.

Click here for more info about The Paine Art Center and Gardens.

© Copyright 2017 Audrey Kletscher Helbling

NOTE: These images were taken in July 2016.

 

Garden tour IV: Artscapes, landscapes & even a vineyard July 15, 2016

Like a scene out of a storybook.

Like a scene out of a storybook.

I CAN’T BEGIN TO IMAGINE the time invested in establishing the flowerbeds, the artscapes, the vegetable gardens, the vineyard, the everything that makes DeAnn and Randy Knish’s property so uniquely impressive.

Garden tour guests visit under a towering oak.

Garden tour guests visit under a towering oak on a brilliantly sunny summer afternoon.

Situated west of Faribault, this rural acreage is surrounded by trees that include a sprawling oak in the front yard and a two-centuries-plus aged walnut in woods bordering a creek. The waterway runs pea soup green from nearby Roberds Lake.

Shrub sculptures and art divide vegetable gardens.

Shrub sculptures, art and a path divide vegetable gardens.

When I arrived at the Knish property during a recent The Cathedral of Our Merciful Saviour Garden and Landscape Tour benefiting Full Belly, a Faribault soup kitchen, I didn’t know where to begin exploring. There was so much to see:

Sculptures abound in the gardens.

Sculptures abound in the gardens.

Perennials fill flowerbeds.

Strategically placed art enhances perennial beds.

A mirror

A mosaic framed mirror and gnomes are incorporated into the plantings.

A lily bursts a brilliant hue into the gardens.

A lily bursts a brilliant hue into the gardens.

Balls add a playfulness to perennial beds throughout the landscaping.

Balls add a playfulness to perennial beds throughout the landscaping.

This happy elfin face made me smile.

This happy elfin face in a petunia bed makes me smile.

Old-fashioned Holly Hocks rise to the summer sky.

Old-fashioned Holly Hocks rise to the summer sky.

The oversized jacks and balls draw the eye to a place to kick back on Adrionack chairs.

The oversized jacks and balls draw the eye to an inviting spot to kick back on Adirondack chairs.

I set my camera on the ground to photograph this perspective of a fairy garden.

I set my camera on the ground to photograph this perspective of a fairy garden.

Once I finished my self-guided tour and photo shoot of artscapes and flowerbeds, I boarded a golf cart for a ride across the creek and up a hill to the two-acre vineyard.

Touring the vineyard.

Touring the vineyard.

Here, the Knishes grow red grapes for Cannon River Winery in Cannon Falls about 30 miles to the northeast. Their grapes go into GoGo Red wine, a pound of grapes per bottle.

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources inspected this tree and estimates its age at 200-225 years, one of the oldest walnut trees in Rice County.

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources inspected this tree and estimates its age at 200-225 years, one of the oldest walnut trees in Rice County.

While there was no wine to sample, I was pleased to learn of the Faribault connection to a notable regional winery. And I was pleased also for the opportunity to tour this beautiful place in the country on an equally beautiful summer Sunday afternoon in southern Minnesota.

FYI: Please check back for my final post in this five-part garden tour series.

 

Garden Tour III: A rural retreat in Cannon City July 11, 2016

Outbuildings dot the Glendes' rural property.

Outbuildings dot the Glendes’ rural property.

I COULD BE SO HAPPY living on Debbie and Mike Glende’s property in Cannon City. It’s peaceful, lovely and tranquil in a definitive rural sense.

An electric fence keeps the donkeys penned in the pasture.

An electric fence keeps the donkeys penned in the pasture.

Not exactly a hobby farm, although there are donkeys, this seems more rural retreat.

Delphiniums sway in the breeze inside a fenced vegetable garden.

Delphiniums sway in the breeze inside a fenced vegetable garden.

Lush green plants and flowers.

A pond, surrounded by lush plants, is situated under shade trees next to the house.

A pond, surrounded by lush plants, is situated under shade trees next to the house.

Pond.

Rustic fencing surrounds the vegetable garden.

Rustic fencing surrounds the vegetable garden.

Garden surrounded by rustic weathered fencing.

I opened the aged screen door on an outbuilding to discover this 50s style retreat.

I opened the aged screen door on an outbuilding to discover this 50s style retreat.

An outbuilding styled in 1950s décor.

Farm themed decor fits this corn crib turned fire pit gathering area.

Farm themed decor fits this corn crib turned fire pit gathering area.

A wire grain bin converted into a comfortable gathering spot for an evening campfire.

 

Glende garden, 51 barn and windmill

 

An aged red barn and windmill.

Plants spill from a rustic piece of farm equipment.

Artfully arranged plants spill from a rustic piece of farm equipment.

I didn’t want to leave the Glendes’ place while on a recent Cathedral of Our Merciful Saviour Garden and Landscape Tour benefiting Fully Bell, a soup kitchen in nearby Faribault. Even the cat, a black stray that followed me, wrapping around my legs, seemed to want me to stay. I wish. Debbie offered the cat.

This building houses the 1950s style retreat.

This building houses the 1950s style retreat.

I could live here. I imagined the 50s retreat as a secluded place to write. My office.

This sweet little building was moved here from the Minnesota State Academy for the Deaf campus in Faribault. For now, it's a storage space.

This sweet little building was moved here from the Minnesota State Academy for the Deaf campus in Faribault. For now, it’s a storage space.

Or the lovely columned white building moved here from the Minnesota State Academy for the Deaf in Faribault would work, too, for my writer’s retreat.

Rustic rural art near the MSAD building.

Rustic rural art near the MSAD building.

As I roamed the Glendes’ land, I was reminded of my rural roots. Vintage farm machinery and equipment are planted like works of art among the farm buildings. It takes an artist’s and gardener’s hands to make this all come together—to create this rural retreat that is more than visually appealing, but also everyday practical. This couple succeeded. I wanted to stay until the stars emerged and flames danced in the fire pit.

BONUS PHOTOS:

A sign inside the outhouse reads:

A sign inside the outhouse reads: “Who cut one?”

Flower art provides a jolt of color.

Flower art provides a jolt of color.

Another rustic style planting.

Another rustic style planting.

So poetically lovely this blue heron in the pond.

So poetically lovely this blue heron in the pond.

Even the bird feeder fits the rural theme.

Even the bird feeder fits the rural theme.

FYI: Please check back as I continue my garden tour series. Click here to read my first entry and then click here to read about another garden I toured.

© Copyright 2016 Audrey Kletscher Helbling

 

Garden tour II: Hosta haven in the woods June 30, 2016

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Hostas thrive in the full and dappled shade of the McAdam's yard.

Hostas and lilies thrive in the full and dappled shade of the McAdams’ wooded yard.

EDGED BY WOODS and in the woods, Rita and Colin McAdam’s property perched atop a hill overlooking nearby French Lake west of Faribault offers a shady respite in the heat of the mid-day summer sun.

Vehicles exit the McAdam property along a narrow wooded lane.

Vehicles exit the McAdam property along a narrow wooded lane.

On this June afternoon, I’m touring this couple’s land as part of the Cathedral of Our Merciful Saviour Garden and Landscape Tour benefiting Full Belly, a local “soup kitchen.”

An inspiring message in garden art.

An inspiring message placed next to lilies.

Rita welcomes me and offers a personal tour of her outdoor retreat 40 years in the making. “If you like digging in the dirt…” her voice trails.

A most impressive hosta with elephant ear sized leaves.

A most impressive hosta with elephant ear sized leaves.

I opt, though, to wander at my own pace through this shaded yard where hostas dominate. Here I see not only everyday common hostas, but a vast variety including one with leaves as large as an elephant’s ears.

Everywhere are multiple varieties of hosta.

Everywhere are multiple varieties of hosta.

And so I meander because the McAdams’ place calls for a slow pace. There’s so much to notice in the abundance of art tucked among plants. The art is an eclectic mix of whatever seemed to catch Rita’s fancy. Statues of deer, a rabbit, a duck, angels…a Road Runner whirly-gig…

A jolt of humor.

A jolt of humor.

The garden art is simultaneously quirky and charming, humorous and inspiring. No unified theme prevails. But it is what it should be—the result of four decades of work at Rita and Colin’s place.

BONUS PHOTOS:

Kitschy art propped against a tree.

Kitschy art propped against a tree.

My favorite sculpture in the McAdam yard.

My favorite sculpture in the McAdam yard. The tiny violets mimic the fawn’s spots.

The sun sculpture bursts color into the shade.

The sun sculpture bursts color into the shade.

A sweet surprise of angels on a ledge next to lilies.

A sweet surprise of angels on a ledge next to lilies.

Another of my favorite sculptures tucked by the hosta.

Another of my favorite sculptures tucked by the hosta.

Staged along the edge of the driveway/parking area.

Staged along the edge of the driveway/parking area.

This lizard sculpture holds jelly, for the birds I presume.

This lizard sculpture holds jelly, for the birds I presume.

FYI: Check back again as I continue my garden tour series. Click here to read my first garden tour post.

© Copyright 2016 Audrey Kletscher Helbling

 

Garden tour I: Couple masters the art of landscaping June 29, 2016

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Siegfried garden, 4 lily

 

LOVELY LILIES LEAN.

 

Siegfried garden, 23 clematis, etc.

 

Clematis cascade.

Sixty to seventy fish (guppies and koi) swim in the Siegfrieds' pond.

Sixty to seventy fish (guppies and koi) swim in the Siegfrieds’ pond.

Captive koi circle.

And the sun blazes brilliant on a Sunday summer afternoon in the yard of Karrie and Mike Siegfried.

Pond, pergola and bridge create a focal point in the yard.

Pond, pergola and bridge create a focal point in the yard.

The couple has created an outdoor retreat just off busy Minnesota State Highway 3 on the northern edge of Faribault. I admire the property every time I pass by. But on this late June day, I view the yard up close while on the Cathedral of Our Merciful Saviour Garden and Landscape Tour benefiting Full Belly, a local soup kitchen.

The Prickly Pear Cactus, which will winter over in Minnesota (and is native to sections of southwestern Minnesota) grows in the Southwest Garden. Mike nearly gave up on the plant ever bloomig

The Prickly Pear Cactus, which will winter over in Minnesota (and is native to sections of southwestern Minnesota) grows in the Southwest Garden. Mike nearly gave up on the plant. But this year it bloomed.

This spacious yard features everything from ponds to shade gardens to a Southwest garden complete with cacti to a lawn sprawling enough for a wedding (Karrie’s son’s).

Dubbed the Southwest Garden, this plot features cacti and Southwest style pottery.

Dubbed the Southwest Garden, this plot features cacti and Southwest style pottery.

Perennials like clematis, coral bells, lamb’s ears, lilies and more fill borders and soften fence lines. Petunias, geraniums and other annuals spill from pots. Clumps of strategically placed ornamental grasses rise and sway, adding visual interest. Just like the art created by Mike.

Mike's copper leaf art.

Mike’s copper leaf and acorn art.

A plumber by trade, Mike took an interest in copper art after attending the Minnesota Renaissance Festival. In 2013, he opened an etsy shop, Mystical Copper. He crafts copper into mostly fish and butterflies, but also does custom pieces. I didn’t ask about the intricacies. But the art involves pounding and then heating the copper to get variations in color.

Mike's copper walleye.

Mike’s copper walleye.

Mike’s one-of-a-kind art enhances the Siegfrieds’ already impressive landscaping. Three patches of tall ornamental grasses front an oversized copper walleye attached to a fence. The scene mimics a lake setting. It takes an artist’s eye and a gardener’s knowledge to create such a vignette.

Shadow the cat greeted garden tour visitors.

Shadow the cat greeted garden tour visitors.

In the Siegfried’s yard, art and plants blend artfully and beautifully into this escape, this retreat, this lovely place bordering a busy Minnesota highway.

FYI: Check back for more stories and photos from gardens featured on the Garden and Landscape Tour. Click here to read my first post about Fully Belly.

© Copyright 2016 Audrey Kletscher Helbling