Late Summer Garden Memories of the Minnesota State Fair

Late Summer Garden with Garden Goat
Late Summer Garden with Garden Goat

Do you have an iconic garden image or landscape design that sticks in your head, maybe even inspiring a plan that you have incorporated into your own home?

I hold memories of a late-summer garden that was installed by the Minnesota State Horticultural Society at the Minnesota State Fair, sometime in the very late 1990s. Designed by Lynn Steiner, Northern Gardener contributing writer, former Northern Gardener editor, and author of the Landscaping with Native Plants of Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Michigan series, it was yummy.

Backed with ‘Karl Foerster” grass, ‘Goldsturm’ Rudbeckia and Russian Sage, it was peppered with purple coneflower, liatris, and ‘Nearly Wild’ shrub rose, and dotted with bergenia, salvia, and sedum ‘Autum Joy.’

Damn…it was late summer in Minnesota. It was inspiring to Minnesota gardeners as they stopped and scribbled down the details. This combination of northern gardening favorites is often-used today, but this was one of the first times I saw it realized.

When planning a back bed in my own yard, I drew inspiration from this bed. I added ‘David’ white phlox and backed the whole affair with an Annabelle Hydrangea. A ‘Pavement Purple’ shrub rose replaces the “Nearly Wild.” The bees love it as they plants bake in the sun.

Do you have a classic design that sticks in your mind?


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