The Garden of Rhonda Fleming Hayes & Bachman's Tour

Minneapolis GBF - Day 1 - Garden #4

Our next stop was the house of Rhonda Fleming Hayes, author of “Pollinator Friendly Gardening”.

I knew I would love this garden right from the start – her beds at the front entrance were all about combining plants with a variety of interesting forms:

All green but different shades and textures

Not a flower in sight, but no lack of interest here:

Front entrance plantings

What does this prove?  That texture can be just as interesting as colour.  Come on now, Jason...don't be shaking your head ;)

Right from the start, every visitor is made aware of this garden's priority:

I should really get one of these for my garden to help spread the word....

One of the big benefits of concentrating more on a plants leaves and structure is, of course, that the display lasts all season long with minimal maintenance (usually).

I find that every garden at the Fling is memorable for its own unique reasons.  In the case of Rhonda’s garden, it was her ingenious use of space that stole the show.  I had never seen anything quite like it.

Rhonda's house is on the right

Instead of the usual backyard, her garden encompassed the side of her house…on either side of her driveway.

Looking back towards street

What was interesting was that as you meandered through it, you completely forgot that you were actually walking along a driveway.  The use of white concrete instead of the usual asphalt contributes to the feeling that you are on a garden walkway.  I heard quite a few exclamations of surprise (including my own!) when we saw her garage at the end of the garden:

The surprise that shouldn't have been a surprise at the end of the driveway

This garden had everything – edibles, ornamentals, sculptural elements, a water feature and a lovely patio from which to enjoy it all.

Raised metal beds lined one side of the driveway and were also used against the house:

Tomatoes in metal raised beds along the side of the house

The small twig trellis that topped the driveway beds blended in so well that most of us thought it was part of the metal bed:

Raised metal beds include both ornamentals and vegetables

Of course, I gravitated towards the veg which were skillfully combined with ornamentals in the beds.

Ripening cherry tomatoes

Savoy cabbage is just as pretty as the ornamental varieties

Scarlet runner beans are starting to put on their show

And I couldn't resist taking a photo of these poppy seed heads - I like them almost more than the flowers themselves:

Poppies - early season colour transformed

The pièce de résistance, however, was an indoor potting area.  The full sized glass doors pulled back to make this as much an outdoor space as an indoor space – genius!

Behind sliding glass doors - the ultimate potting area

Now who wouldn’t want a space like this in their house?  I can see you all nodding your heads I agreement ;)

Probably the only thing that would keep me from spending more time in the potting shed was the space just outside of it - a patio area that incorporates a wonderful water feature:

Beautiful to look at and soothing to listen to

Following our time in Rhonda's garden we were off to our next destination - the flagship store of Bachman’s – a garden center that is pretty much an institution in the Twin Cities.

After a delicious lunch, we went on a behind-the-scenes tour of their facility where employees were busy creating gorgeous arrangements:

And a fleet of vans were standing by to make the afternoon deliveries which were all organized on rolling carts:

Afternoon deliveries ready to go...

We also had a bit of time to look around – I could really get in trouble at a place like this :)

Temptation as far as the eye can see...

We had seen so much already and the day was only half way done.  Once lunch and our tour was over, it was off to our next stop….the garden of Dianne & Dan Latham (aka Latham Park).


  1. Goodness, you certainly packed so much in to your days. What a potting area, what I'd give for a space like that, absolutely wonderful. No wonder those veggies look like prize specimens, they'll be very well pollinated given the emphasis of pollinator habitats in the garden.

    1. The potting "shed" is something else, isn't it? Most rooms in my house don't look that good :)

      Fling tours are quite the whirlwind - but it's odd because at the time, it doesn't really feel that way, even when I run out of time and have to rush through parts of a garden. Only once I'm home, organizing the photos and writing the posts, does the realization truly hit of how much we saw and experienced in a single day. It's incredible!

  2. At first I was surprised when you mentioned her emphasis on foliage given her book title. That garden centre looks seriously tempting.

    1. There were many lovely flowers in her side garden, but pollinator friendly gardening also encompasses principles such as not using "icides", providing water sources, etc. Also, many plantings that are grown primarily for their foliage produce blooms that pollinators love, such as hostas.

      Nothing sets a gardeners heart aquiver more than a store full of plants - if it wasn't for the border restrictions, I could easily have walked away with a cart full :)

  3. Hi Margaret--What a great indoor potting area. Beats mine ---the top of the washer/dryer in my entry mudroom.
    Sorry I went "missing"--went on vacation....but I'm back to pestering!!

    1. Hurray! Missed you, but hope you had a wonderful time.

      And at least you have a "spot"; my potting shed is wherever the pots and soil happen to be at the time :)

  4. What an incredible garden! I am so sad that I missed that morning due to a migraine. I love the non-traditional use of spaces.

    1. Oh, you would have most definitely enjoyed this one. I'm always in awe of people that can think outside the box like that.

  5. Ingenious is a good word for it. I really enjoyed the combination of foliage forms and colors, too. And of course the raised veg/ornamental combo beds. Bachman's was full of so many healthy, vibrant plants! Great coverage of these two Fling highlights!

    1. Thanks Beth! Rhonda's garden gave me some wonderful ideas for my own borders. For some reason, I find combining foliage plants/trees in a border much trickier than using flowering plants; it's gardens like these that really open my eyes to the possibilities.

  6. That's a beautiful garden! I love how some people can incorporate edibles in thei ornamental garden

    1. Me too - In my garden, it's more the other way around in that I include a few flowers in the vegetable garden :)

  7. The most striking feature (in my opinion) is the concrete path. I bet it is / will be hard to keep it looking nice - unless nasty chemicals are used!

    1. I hadn't really considered the maintenance on that, but you're right. I doubt chemicals would be used; I'm thinking perhaps a good pressure wash every once in a while?

  8. I loved that Rhonda Hayes garden - especially the raised beds and the way they mixed edibles and ornamentals in such an attractive way. Seeing the Vernonia there persuaded me to order some of my own.

    1. Well, you know I had to look up Vernonia - it's lovely. I think most of us took an idea or two (or 10!) home with us from every garden we visited.


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