Sunken Garden Gazette 8/15

Hurray for Sunken Garden Helpers II

It’s such a blast to work with everyone that helps out in the Sunken Garden. We couldn’t do it without their contribution. Everyone has their own perspective and of course, their own favorite plants.

Nancy’s wonderful sense of humor always makes me laugh. I get to chat with her when she volunteers on Fridays in the Sunken Garden. She does all sorts of garden tasks and holds my hose for me when I water those hard to reach plants so I don’t accidentally decapitate flower heads. She told me that one of the reasons she likes to work in the Sunken is that, “I’m introduced to new plants all the time.”  She likes the lewisia and ornamental oregano, but is especially fond of the grasses. She said that horticulturists Elyse and Renee were the first to bring grasses to the design, and that the grasses, “just add so much, like height and texture.” Nancy has been volunteering at Como for over eight years because, “I get way more out of volunteering than you guys get out of me.  It just soothes my soul, especially in the dead of winter.  It just makes me smile to walk in here in the morning. I think it’s one of the most precious assets in the Twin Cities community. And that’s after only half cup of coffee.” She also said she has made really great friends through the experience. I say we’re lucky to have her.

My fellow horticulturist Victoria was a lifesaver this past week. While I was frantically fertilizing, she deadheaded and swapped fresh plants in for worn out flowers. I love her addition of ornamental oregano to the lower side beds. She picked three favorite plants. I can’t argue with her top three: tillansia, dichondra, and lewisia.

Karen, horticulturist and supervisor, balances schedules and always makes sure that we have the help we need in the Sunken Garden. An expert on orchids and all things tropical, Karen chose hibiscus for her favorite because of its “big, showy, tropical looking flowers. I can’t help it.” She loves the calming activity of deadheading in the Sunken when she can squeak it in.

Lauren is an awesome attendant who, among many other things, guides visitors in the garden. When I asked her about working in the Sunken Garden, she said, “That’s what I have people do, smell the flowers. They don’t think to do it.” She said that people, kids especially, think it’s funny when a flower smells bad. Kids smell it, laugh. Smell it, laugh. Smell it, laugh. People are surprised when a flower smells super sweet rather than floral.  She likes to encourage visitors to smell veronica.  What does it smell like?  You will have to stop by and see, or rather, smell for yourself.


Listening to the Sunken Garden helpers’ views inspires me as I think about next summer’s design. Its enlightening to see the garden through different eyes, especially those of children, so I want to include something just for them.

Just for kids (of all ages)

Do you like to look at clouds and watch them form into funny shapes like flying hippopotamuses or giant puppies wearing sunglasses? Plants are little bit like clouds. They let us use our imaginations and look at things differently. What do you see in the garden pictures below?  Maybe you see something different than I do.


Don’t forget to smell the flowers, even if their smell surprises you.

– Karri, your happy horticulturist