It’s hard to find a spot more serene than a perfectly planted garden. Even better is a garden complete with a babbling brook, koi pond or fountain. This July, two garden tours—the Minnesota Water Garden Society Tour and the Twin Cities Pond and Landscape Tour—have several Plymouth stops along the way. So whether you’re simply enjoying the scenery or looking for inspiration while upgrading your own backyard, take some time to see what these Plymouth water gardens have to offer.
Twin Cities Pond and Landscape Tour
Did you know you could help fight childhood cancer and simultaneously glean expert gardening advice from the pros from Hedberg Landscape and Masonry Supplies?
The Twin Cities Pond and Landscape Tour offers both opportunities. Over the nine years of the pond tour, Hedberg has donated 100 percent of all ticket sales from their pond and landscape tour directly to the Children’s Cancer Research Fund. Over the years, they’ve raised more than $200,000 since 2001 toward the goal to end cancer in children.
“It’s especially gratifying,” says Gail Schaal, promotions and events coordinator for Hedberg, with regard to the positive contribution the tour has been able to give to the charity.
The self-guided pond and landscape tour serves as a showcase for Hedberg’s Certified Aquascape Contractors (CACs), the region’s most highly trained pond designers and builders. The gardens featured on the tour are hand-chosen by the CACs, who are also available as several sites to offer their expertise in design, build and materials.
Schaal has been involved with the tour for almost a decade. “The tour is a great way to see all sizes of ponds: small, medium, large and swimmable. I love that aspect,” she says.
Minnesota Water Garden Society Tour
After parting ways with Hedberg’s pond and landscape tour in 2009, the Minnesota Water Garden Society (MWGS) resumed their own independent educational tour featuring gardens around the Twin Cities.
“The purpose of the tour is to allow attendees to learn about ponding and gardening from experienced MWGS members,” says Gary De Grande, president and 2013 MWGS Tour co-chairman. “Some people come to learn about the details of ponding and gardening, while others come just to poke around in other peoples’ backyards. We even have buses come from other garden clubs throughout Minnesota and surrounding states.”
Since its inception in summer 1997, the MWGS has grown into a nonprofit organization of nearly 200 members. Monthly meetings cover a variety of topics and often feature well-known presenters who share their own gardening experiences, De Grande says.
Chad and Phyllis Osgood’s interest in gardening began in 1998 when Chad’s father gave them some hostas. “Around the same time, we were at a nursery to purchase some petunias and geraniums for some of our flower beds. We saw some Asiatic lilies and brought a few of them home,” says Chad Osgood, who says they designed their backyard garden themselves.
“It really evolved over the years,” Phyllis Osgood says. “It started out with the tiered sun and shade gardens, and then we came up with the idea of building a deck above the shade garden.”
After visiting the Minneapolis Home and Garden Show as well as the Pond and Landscape Tour formerly sponsored by both MWGS and Hedberg Landscape and Masonry, the Osgoods were inspired to add a gazebo, deck and several ponds.
“It was a tremendous amount of work to tackle on our own,” Chad Osgood says, adding that they have upwards of 100 tons of boulders and rock in and around the ponds. With the help of family and friends, their gardening dreams became reality within about three years.
Their backyard now boasts two large koi ponds, each about 10 feet by 30 feet, an upper pond with rapids that flow into the lower pond, five streams and seven waterfalls. They made sure to add plenty of viewing areas throughout their backyard, including a patio cantilevered over the water, a small bridge that leads to a patio with a bistro table and chairs, a sand beach with chairs and an umbrella, and a shaded gazebo and deck.
Each water feature was inspired by a different body of water that is significant to the couple. There is a miniature Niagara Falls, Minnehaha Falls, a gurgling creek, rushing rapids, the Arizona mesa complete with cactus, and the beach with gold finches bathing in the stream that remind them of their Caribbean vacations.
“We never get bored with sitting outside because there are so many different spots to choose from,” Phyllis Osgood says. “Even in the evening when the mosquitos get bad, we can go inside the screened gazebo and still see and hear the water.”
The gardens received high praise in 2010, when they were featured on the KARE 11 Saturday morning garden show with Belinda and Bobby Jensen, and on the MWGS Tour that July, where they hosted nearly 500 visitors.
“People can visit many times and then comment, ‘Oh, I haven’t seen that before. Did you just put that in?’ The answer usually is that it’s always been there,” Chad Osgood says with a smile.
One thing they say they’d like to add is a natural stone hot tub complete with a waterfall that would fall onto their shoulders as they sit in the spa. They continue to enjoy their gardens and water features with others, even deciding to participate in the MWGS tour again in 2012.
“Sharing our backyard with other people gives us as much enjoyment as using it ourselves,” Phyllis Osgood says.
IF YOU GO:
The Twin Cities Pond and Landscape Tour is open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. June 22, and four ponds will also reopen that evening for nightscaping at 9 p.m. All sites will be open from noon to 5 p.m. June 23. All proceeds go directly to Children’s Cancer Resarch Fund. Visit tcpondandlandscapetour.com for more information and to purchase tickets
The Minnesota Water Garden Society Tour is open the last weekend of July. Tickets are $15 in advance and $20 the day of the tour. Call 612.803.7663 or visit mwgs.org for more information or to purchase tickets.
Insider’s tip: Attend two tours for the price of one. Minnesota Water Garden Tour tickets will be honored by the Twin Cities Pond and Landscape Tour earlier in the month.