Remember the scene in the movie “Sound of Music” where Liesl and her boyfriend get caught in the garden by a surprise storm and they end up in the gazebo? That was what happened last Monday, when a friend and I went out to the University of Minnesota Landscape Arboretum. Well, without the dancing and singing. Before the deluge, we did manage to get in some garden viewing.
We were greeted just off the parking lot by Patrick Dougherty’s latest willow creation – Uff da Palace. I had seen photos of it during the building process from the Arboretum, but seeing it in person was breathtaking. Inside the visitor center, we saw photos of other installations/sculptures by Dougherty and I was blown away.
This whimsical salad table on the plaza at the visitor center made us hungry, so we headed inside for lunch. After lunch, we started our garden tour. We got to see the entrance garden, the terrace garden, the perennial garden, the herb garden, and some of the rose garden before the downpour started in earnest and we took refuge in the rose garden’s gazebo – with a dozen or so other visitors. We were in the gazebo for about 45 minutes before the rain let up enough for us to make a break for the visitor center, where we discovered the tour we’d signed up for had been canceled due to the weather.
I think this visit taught me that I can approach visiting the Arboretum the same way I approach visiting the State Fair – go often, for short visits, at different times of the day – rather than doing one marathon day. You can then linger in a particular garden rather than feeling pressured to see everything in one visit.