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Lifestyle Stories

Travel makes the heart grow fonder

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Published:   |   Updated: March 22, 2013 at 09:38 PM

My gardening habit doesn't go away when I go out of town. It travels with me.

We went to Minneapolis last week to visit family, and right away I found myself imagining how I'd landscape my brother- and sister-in-law's blank-slate backyard. (No plants? Criminal!) "I'd put a paver patio right there," I pointed. "And perennial beds here, close to the house, for an early spring pop of color. Some trees for privacy, and a couple more just for show - maybe a crabapple, a dogwood or a redbud. Then I'd load up on colorful annuals all over the place."

They were not taking notes.

Of course, zone 4 plants are mostly a mystery to me ... and to them, apparently. Questions like, "What is that red tree over there?" were met by shrugs and guesses. "Maybe a sugar maple?" Kurt offered.

Like me, Kurt and Karla love tropicals, so we spent a little time at the Marjorie McNeely Conservatory in St. Paul checking out their display. I was right at home there - with the heat and humidity as well as the plants.

As Kurt and Karla oohed and aahed over orchids and other exotic (to them) trees and flowers, I'd brag, "Oh, we have that [a bromeliad]. And that [a banana tree]. And that [a bottle palm]. For you, most of these would be houseplants; for us, well ... we keep them outside."

I know ... obnoxious. Naturally, I neglected to mention that my plants are not nearly as huge or as showy as those in the conservatory's care.

I suppose when in the Twin Cities, or Washington, D.C., - or wherever - one should do as they do and admire the hostas and boxwoods. But I enjoy visiting tropical gardens in non-tropical locations. It reminds me of how much I love it here and how lucky we are that we can plop these gorgeous plants in our gardens and enjoy them all year round.

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