Minneapolis - St. Paul, MN Part I: Minnesota Landscape Arboretum
Woodbury, MN - Events of Wednesday, June 28 - Thursday, June 29, 2011
From Miltona, MN we headed southeast to Minneapolis - St. Paul. Although the downtown areas of Minneapolis and St. Paul, also known as the Twin Cities, are about 10 miles apart, the cities run together in the middle. Minneapolis lies to the west and St. Paul lies to the east. Since most of what we wanted to see was on the St. Paul side of the Twin Cities, we chose a campground about 10 miles to the east of St. Paul. We stayed at St. Paul East RV Park in Woodbury, MN.
About half the sites at St. Paul East RV Park have full hookups, and the other half are water and electric only. Some sites have 30-amp electric, and some have 30/50 amps. There is also a mixture of pull-throughs and back-ins. Free Wi-fi is available, but only at the office. The sites are a little narrow, but are still acceptable. The roads and pads are gravel/dirt, and most sites have a little grass between them.
The photo below is a view down our row. As you can see, tow vehicles and towed vehicles have to park sideways because the sites are not only narrow, but also short.
There is a quarry across the road from the campground, and you can hear the motors of the equipment humming and the backup beepers beeping during the day. There is also a little noise from I-94 that's not too far away.
The weather forecast for the day after we arrived was calling for sunshine, so we decided to take advantage of that fact and visit the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum. The arboretum is located southwest of Minneapolis and was the farthest thing from the campground we were planning to see.
The Minnesota Landscape Arboretum is part of the Department of Horticulture Science of the University of Minnesota. It is open to the public every day except Thanksgiving and Christmas.
Tha arboretum consists of 1,000 acres of gardens, model landscapes, and natural areas that consist of woodlands, prairies, and wetlands. They also have an extensive collection of trees and shrubs.
Outside the visitor center, we were greeted by a familiar type of stick sculpture by Patrick Dougherty.
We first saw Dougherty's work at the gardens at the sundial in Redding, CA. He has done over 200 such massive installations around the world. Click here to read about the gardens and to see the stick sculpture we saw in Redding.
In the neighborhood of the visitor center, there are about a dozen gardens that are interconnected by a series of criss-crossing paths. We started out in the direction of the homeowner demonstration gardens. Along the way, we enjoyed the colorful annuals...
...and a fountain surrounded by potted bog plants.
The homeowner demonstration garden had lots of ideas for home gardens like the one below that would be suitable for a patio or terrace.
There were also ideas for planting herbs and vegetables in small spaces.
In the homeowner garden, Paul took a picture of Margery taking a picture.
Then a little later, Margery took a picture of Paul taking a picture.
Across the main path from the homeowner gardens was the rose garden where the hybrid tea roses were in full bloom.
In addition to the stick sculpture by Patrick Dougherty at the entrance, the arboretum had a special show of sculptures by Steve Tobin called Steelroots. There were about half a dozen smaller sculptures, and about a dozen up to 40 feet high representing tree roots. Most were graceful like the one in the photo below...
...and a few were gnarled and realistic-looking.
The Steelroots scuplture in the photo below was on pavement and shows an interesting, ever-changing pattern of light and shadow.
The hosta garden provided some welcome shade.
We continued our way through the gardens, then stopped for another photo at the knot garden.
The composite photo below shows just some of the beautiful flowers we saw.
Top row (L to R): dahlia, peony, sunflower
Middle row: water lily, Asiatic lily, Asiatic lily
Bottom row: Shrub rose, hybrid tea rose, newly-formed grapes
After we walked around the gardens, we hopped in the car and headed out to Three Mile Drive. Three Mile Drive makes a loop through some of the woodland and prairie areas. You can also walk or bicycle around Three Mile Drive, but we had already done enough walking for the day. Besides, it was getting warm, it was getting late, and we were getting hungry.
Three Mile Drive also has areas with various types of trees and shrubs planted in groups. Numerous small parking areas are provided so you can stop to take a closer look. If you are planning some landscaping, and you want to know what a certain type of tree looks like and how big it gets, this is an excellent place to come. There are separate areas for weeping trees, spruce, maples, oaks, pines, nut trees - you name it, they probably have it. There is also a couple of areas for different kinds of shrubs.
Since we aren't planning to do landscaping in the near future, we didn't stop for any tree photos, but we did stop along Three Mile Drive at the shrub rose garden for a quick look and a photo.
As we said, we were getting hungry. As luck would have it there was a Qdoba on our way back to the motor home. Even though we had recently eaten at Qdoba, we couldn't resist stopping again since, for the most part, they are few and far between on our travel route.
After another delicious meal, we made our way back to the motor home to relax and to plan our sightseeing for the next day. Stay tuned.