About Eric

eric johnson garden drama
Head Garden Drama Gardener Eric Johnson (voted most dramatic in the garden)

I am a garden speaker, designer, blogger, writer, photographer, and a frequent contributor to MSHS’ Northern Gardener magazine.

I’ve been digging in the dirt for four decades, and though I was trained as a Master Gardener, I consider my family’s 165 acre, southern Minnesota farm, as well as my south Minneapolis urban plot (the Garden Drama trial garden), to be my real training ground.

With an M.F.A. in Theatre, I am inspired to communicate the emotional and dramatic impact of connecting to the earth in people’s lives.

Email me


21 Comments Add yours

  1. bglaser says:

    Your writing has put warmth and color into an otherwise gray November day. Haphazard gardening is what I can manage – unfortunately this is the best descriptor of other aspects of my days too, but the garden manages to be beautiful in spite of my random planting.

  2. Thomas Kerby says:


    Love your blog site and I could not agree more that is never room for a blade of grass. I am working on getting rid of it in my Minneapolis garden also, or at least my 2 dogs are.

  3. OPnYDE says:

    Congrats on being able to work in a medium you enjoy. As a professional gardener who didn’t really fall in love with it till I bought a home in Saint Louis Park, a bedroom community of Minneapolis. Though it’s getting late in the season I would encourage you all to try your hand with feeding & over wintering local songbirds. I personally like shallow pools but the only way to make them work is to have moving water. I dug a 3′ and used the soil to build up two sides, added rocks of various sizes and added fish. While a neighbor doesn’t like squirrels I think it’s kind of nice to sit reading and listening to music while the birds visit the feeders. Just remember the first or second water garden may not turn out the way you envisioned, don’t give up. I started in the early 70’s and it still is a challenge, especially as I’m getting a bit older. One is all ways learning. Good luck to you all. OPnYDe

  4. Paul Keller says:

    What sort of shrubs do you recommend for crabby, over aged fathers?

    Love the site Eric!!!!

    1. Garden Drama says:

      Paul, I would recommend shrubs with sweet smelling flowers, to sweeten you up. Lilacs, shrub roses and the like.

  5. Terri Devich says:

    I can’t express strongly enough how much I enjoy your blog. You have a wonderful writing style. A style that easily moves me into a garden planning frenzy, even in the dead of winter. I appreciate the way you highlight those special qualities in even the smallest, shyest, and most timid of flower buds. Those plucky little buds grow into beautiful blooms, just as your writing expands my imagination and joy of all things gardening. I’ve been monkeying around in the dirt for quite a few years. Still a novice. But you make that okay. There’s always more to learn, more to transplant, more to weed, and more to enjoy. Thanks for generating ideas and hope. By the way, I am a work colleague “zesty orange splash”. You may know him.
    Keep up the great work!
    Terri Devich

  6. Colleen Clements says:

    This site is a true pick-me-up. Thank you!!!

  7. I love this blog and your photgraphy of flowers.

  8. Gnancyanne says:

    I recently saw a pic of your marbles-in-the-fence and wandered over here; started reading. I think I’ll really like it and “stay”. I live in a city south of Minneapolis–in Kansas City! My goal is to reduce the amount of grass around my house.

  9. bernadette says:

    do you have any suggestions for roof garden? plants, trees, flowers? i have one started last year(in tennessee) and i have a temp greenhouse to store the more tropical plants(i think they died anyway-the plastic blew off in a particular bad cold storm)…
    but, im looking forward to this years season and will have a permanent greenhouse.i do have a japanese maple up there, and some other trees,but i cant seem to find good info on tree maintenance for rooftops. Help please to point me in the right direction

  10. Sherie Bird says:

    i came here to look closely at the light filled marble gate, and mucked around the photos, and slipped a tear down the cheek over the leaving behind beloved gardens article (or, passing them on to others, as the case always is). but it was the answer to the crabby father wanting shrubbery recommendations that made my day. I think I will plant heart’s ease this year, and sunny things – rudbekia and sunflowers perhaps.

    good cheer to you, on this drippy, snowy, crocus leaf bursting day.

  11. Nikki LaSorella says:

    What a great website Eric. And a wonderful garden life.


  12. autiesmama says:

    Ohhhh…..my darling (albeit un-handy and completely mystified) husband is terrified, and rightly so, of how I might amuse myself and be-spangle my gardens because I have found your blog. We already have a playhouse that ended up w/kind of an abandoned Unitarian church sort of vibe and a hypertufa walkway with sparklies in it. Alas, he’s right to worry and powerless to stop me.
    Love your stuff.
    –Leslie (who fully intends to faux finish her above ground pool the very minute she gets a chance)

  13. Krista says:


    Love some of your gardening ideas, especially the cultivator blades and numbers. I have a question for you. I recently opened an Etsy store and am selling paper and home goods. I’m wondering if I could have your permission to use your marbles in the fence idea and sell marbles along with a circular cutting bit as a set in my store.

    I’m excited to see your new book!


  14. Donna Moores says:

    Thanks for sharing your recipes and ideas! Very excited to try them. Donna

  15. Erica says:

    Very cool site! I love your insight and inspiring ideas 🙂 Thanks for sharing!

  16. Lorraine Besmer says:

    I am also a fan of rhubarb! I am looking for a recipe for a drink made with rhubarb juice and pineapple juice, I am not sure of the proportions. My deceased aunt served it in the summer, but I cannot find any family members with the recipe! I know she bought the pineapple juice in the tall can and used it all, but not sure about the rhubarb juice.

  17. LOVE LOVE LOVE IT. Garden Drama is So inspiring and beautiful. Hopefully you are not near any of the fracking or sand fracking facilities. http://www.startribune.com/newsgraphics/215296951.html I see the wonders of what you are sharing and feel so sad what is being done to the land.

    Anyway, your blog is beautiful. I love it. Enjoy while the water and soil is still clean.

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