Views from the Garden by Kent Petterson
Philadelphia Green, the nation’s first tree, plant and seed sharing exchange of free material for public and community gardening started in 1974. Rick Bonlender at the Minnesota State Horticultural Society brought the program here in 1988, starting Minnesota Green to promote public greening efforts across the state.
As noted on their website, Minnesota Green “works with a network of donors that includes growers, garden centers, nonprofit groups and private individuals to provide seeds, plants, gardening tools and supplies to community and public space gardens.”
In our neighborhood, shortly after the West End Gardeners and the Fort Road Federation hosted the first West End Neighbors Garden Tour (WENGT), left-over funds were used to join the Minnesota Green network. Ever since, the neighborhood has been planted by volunteers with those free plants to beautify our public streetscape and community gardens.
Numerous urns and large containers as well as tree box outs and other locations have been planted.
Continuing their efforts, the WENGT is now being led by Joe Landsberger and is in its 12th year. The tour this year is on Saturday, June 8 (mark your calendars). It will focus on gardens in the area from Jefferson out to Ft. Snelling between West Seventh and the Mississippi River. I hear Joe is working on another fabulous history booklet describing not only the gardens to tour but offering new illustrated research of area history and gardens. I can’t wait for the tour this year!