Home Demonstration Areas

This wonderful collection of demonstration gardens was the brain child of the Arboretum’s second director, Dr. Francis de Vos and is named in his honor.  The gardens are clustered together for ease of viewing and comparison and encompass backyards, herb, patio, vegetable, cutting, rock, and seasonal gardens as well as a weed exhibit.

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Rock Garden

At the near end of the de Vos Gardens (near the Visitor Center), the Rock Garden displays a wide variety of alpine plants that are hardy in Minnesota.  The Minnesota Rock Garden Society helps to support this garden through maintenance and donations of plant material. There are 282 different species of rock garden plants represented here.

Seasonal Garden

The Downing Seasonal Garden, along the walk at the inner edge of the de Vos Gardens displays the All American Selections of annual plant winners for the previous year.  It provides a great display for these new introductions which are chosen based on data from trail gardens all over North America.  There are typically 5-7 new varieties chosen each year.

Weed Exhibit

The Behrens Weed Exhibit was added in 2005 with the help of Dr. Richard Behrens, a weed specialist at the University of Minnesota’s Agronomy Department.  It has proven to be one of the most popular demonstration gardens. It is not unusual to hear “oh, so that’s what that weed is!” or “so that’s Creeping Charlie, I have it everywhere”.  The “garden” is a series of “pots” (PVC pipes) with a different weed growing in each.  There are 36 different weeds represented.  (You wouldn’t believe how hard it is to keep the weeds looking good!).

Patio & Container Garden

Found at one of the wooden alee with hanging pots, patio containers and ends with massive stone planters.  The pots all contain annual and perennial plantings which change yearly and the planters have dwarf trees, shrubs and perennials.  Around 20 different kinds of trees, shrubs, perennials and annuals are displayed in different types of containers.

Cutting Garden

The Cross Cutting Garden gives the homeowner a great idea of what perennials and annual plantings they might use for flower arranging.  There are 29 different perennials and annuals represented in the garden (we ask that guests please refrain from cutting or collecting at the Arboretum so that everyone can enjoy the gardens).

Garden for Small Spaces

The Bachman Garden for Small Spaces represents a small urban space, perhaps a patio area that contains small trees, flowering shrubs, perennials, annuals, vegetables and herbs.  There are 41 different kinds of plants in this garden.

Herb Garden

The Gronseth Herb Garden contains a knot in the center with four different plant species surrounded by a walk and plantings of all types of herbs around the gardens edge. A centerpiece of this garden is a fan-shaped Meteor Sour Cherry espalier flanked on either side by two Zestar apple trees also espaliered against the wall in a serpentine pattern. It is a beautiful viewing garden but quite practical given the variety of herbs.

Garden for Outdoor Living

The Edmundson Garden for Outdoor Living is a wonderful small backyard garden with patio, table and chairs, lawn, a perennial/annual garden and flowering shrubs and trees.  It is amazing what can be accomplished in a small space in a semi formal garden.  There are 7 species of trees, 19 types of shrubs, 57 different perennials and numerous annuals in the garden.

Fruit & Vegetable Garden

Many common and often many unusual vegetables easily grown in the Minnesota garden are displayed in this garden.  A water trough feature, espalier apples, a small sculpture Looking for Rain by Miriam Bennett and The Stephen F. Keating Home Greenhouse (a backyard greenhouse) are all part of this garden.  Fruit trees, shrubs and perennials, strawberries (Fragaria) are located outside the fence near the compost bins.  In all we have 32 varieties of fruit trees and shrubs, and 23 perennials.  Each year a new thematic vegetable design is on display.

Naturalistic Garden

The Ludwick Naturalistic Garden is an informal backyard garden with small stone patio and bench, a wide variety of native and a few non-native perennials, shrubs and trees.  At the upper end is a mother and child sculpture by Michael Price.  The garden is framed by white fir (Abies concolor) and white pine (Pinus strobus) and includes some unusual plants such as sweetfern (Comptonia peregrina) and bladdernut (Staphylea trifolia).  This garden contains some 40 genera with 9 species of trees, 9 species of shrubs and 45 species of perennials.