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2018 Northfield Garden Tour

Saturday July 14 & Sunday July 15
11 a.m. - 4 p.m. both days


1. Jen Rothmeyer, 31 Lincoln Lane

Two Wishes Child Care sponsors these gardens at a residence and childcare program. To instill a love for nature and an understanding of food systems for the children, while also supporting themselves and the environment, the owners of this 0.4 acre yard have made big changes. The yard is being transformed into a certified Nature Explore Classroom, Xerxes Pollinator Habitat Garden, National Wildlife Federation Certified Wildlife Habitat, and Certified Monarch Waystation. The garden includes nine fruit trees, a wide variety of berry plants, rhubarb, many herbs, kiwi, wild cherry, grapes, asparagus, garlic, and more than 140 varieties of annuals. There are also native inedibles for wildlife and for the sensory delight of the children. Be sure to see the walipini-inspired greenhouse, a compost system, hens, rabbits, a 100-gallon preformed pond, raised beds, and four Garden-in-a-Box sponsored by the MN State Horticultural Society. This extraordinarily productive garden is definitely a work in progress.
Tickets ($10 each) will be for sale before the event at Eco Gardens on Division Street and Knechts Nurseries on Hwy. 19, beginning in June.
Tickets will also be for sale on the days of the event at all of the gardens


1. Erica Ness:

I have always had a passion for fibers. My earliest memories of art were sewing and knitting with my mom and grandma. While I love working in all areas of fibers still, I enjoy working most with wool. Using wet and needle felting techniques, I create both functional and decorative works of art. I am especially interested in the natural world; most of my pieces include imagery of plants, animals, and insects. 

2. Peg Witt and Pete Shuster, 218 Plum Street North

Peg insists she is NOT a master gardener. She and her family moved to Plum Street 14 years ago, excited about the spacious backyard. Along with the traditional gifts of housewarming casseroles, friends gave plants from their own gardens to establish Peg’s new garden. The backyard gardens have evolved by splitting plants and from freebies on the curb. Peg says, “I love my gardens because they are so forgiving and provide summer bouquets for inside our home. In addition to many flowers, I have a variety of hostas, whose foliage provides beauty throughout the growing season.”



2. Angie Ekern: 

My inspiration awakens at the water’s edge where my soul is held in magic and wonder. I wonder at the kind of magic that lives in the lines and textures of driftwood, in the touch of a smooth stone, whispering a thousand stories of deep connection. I use natural materials foraged with love and soulfully created from the shores of Lake Superior. The wildness of driftwood is combined with beautiful stone, delicate touches of turquoise and painted details. Forms begin to emerge as I play with shape, following the lead of the materials, finding beauty in the imperfections. My soul dances alongside this creative journey, weaving a new rhythm of magic and wonder. 

 3. Laura Code and Dan Crombie, 216 Plum Street North
The theme of the Crombie-Code garden is best described as experimentation. This half-acre lot includes a wide variety of plantings, ranging from a rain garden edged with honeysuckle bushes, a river rock creek bordered by hostas, and an organic vegetable patch producing tomatoes, beans, peas, greens and herbs. The yard includes full sun, partial shade, and full shade gardens with many perennials chosen for their texture and foliage coloring, as well as for their floral displays. The biggest challenges for the gardens are the black walnut trees. Be sure to find the crimson cardinal flowers and jack-in-the-pulpits in the shade garden and the shocking pink roses in the sun garden along the driveway.

3. John Van Ast:

My first glimpse into the cornucopia of woodcraft possibilities was a visit to my uncle’s picture frame manufacturing plant the year my family emigrated from Holland to Canada in 1951. Today as a seasoned turner, learning to see, as George Nelson advised, is essential, because it is the invisible that shapes our lives. If a chunk of wood is to sustain my attention, my passion, I must have the capacity to reveal layers of unmatched beauty in an unexpected way.

This is what I experience.

This is what you see. 


John and his wife Pam, retired educators, are Northfield residents.
 4. Nancy Braker, 317 Winona Street

This garden is a mix of native and edible plants. While the prairie garden in the boulevard is the most obvious and striking part of the garden, there are also 20 types of native trees and shrubs. The edible portions of the landscape include a variety of fruit trees as well as three raised vegetable beds. The prairie garden, which represents what the landscape in Northfield was prior to European settlement, has been under development for eight years. Nancy and her family love observing the many native bees and butterflies that utilize the season-long blooms while the dried stalks and seeds of the native grasses and flowers provide food and habitat for the overwintering birds.

4. Anna Chance:

I am a fiddle player and silk painter living in Northfield. I host silk painting workshops and classes at my studio space in downtown Faribault at The Upper East Side Gallery. I tell my students, “You can paint with one hand at a time, or two, as long as you are dancing!” I perform live art silk dance painting at various music festivals in the summer and also perform dancing with levitating sticks.

 5. Sharon Jackson and Andy Howe, Northfield Inn B & B, 203 Maple Street

This property went through a major construction and remodel in 2016. The yard was destroyed, so the owners thought the original gardens were also. They redesigned the gardens, planting new plants in spring 2017. To their surprise, many of the plants they thought were destroyed sprouted up. That speaks to the talent of the previous owner. The gardens now have a mixture of old and new. The garden is designed as a walking garden with areas to sit with a friend, to read, or just to enjoy the surroundings. The gardens include 40 hydrangea bushes, three hosta gardens, irises, phlox, native grasses, and much more. 

5. Kate Douglas:  

It is very difficult to put my art into one specific category. I love drawing and have worked with figures most of my life. I am intrigued with showing expression, gesture, and mood with minimal lines and colors. I love all drawing and painting that includes nature, people, abstractions and more. My work incorporates many techniques and media. Most recently, I have been making multi-media compositions incorporating printmaking, acrylic paint, and collage. As long as I am curious, my art is ever-changing.

6. David Folland Violins, 32232 Canada Avenue

Garden Six is a prairie with walkways through it and trees interspersed throughout. It is about 1/3 of an acre, and the owners have been working on it about 17 years. It is pretty well established on the west side, and also the south side. The gardens in the back, or east side, are a work in progress. The Prairie Restoration Company is supposed to do a burn this spring. As part of the prairie maintenance, this planting is burned every 3 or 4 years. Seeing everything coming up after a burn, as it greens pretty fast, is one of the joys of observing the prairie. With the late spring and the burn, it will be interesting to see what is in bloom in mid-July. Visitors will enjoy all the variety of flowers, grasses, birds, and especially the wide variety of bees.

6. Becky Jokela:

I live on a farm overlooking Sogn Valley near Cannon Falls. I love my surroundings and am inspired by nature and the changing seasons. From expansive vistas to wild flowers carpeting the deep woodland floor, the play of light and shadow, the scent of lilacs in the spring, to the crunch of fall leaves underfoot, the sound of a summer breeze through the trees, to rich winter colors... it is the whole experience that inspires me to paint. Painting outdoors is my favorite approach ~ I’m in the fresh air and can take my easel anywhere. I can hike to a hillside pasture, to a lake or park. Or maybe best of all is when I walk out my door and paint the maple tree or flower garden in my own backyard.