Serendipity Gardens: A trip up north with girlfriends revealed fervor for another planting season

Published 9:00 am Saturday, April 27, 2019

Serendipity Gardens by Carol Hegel Lang

Carol Hegel Lang is a green thumb residing in Albert Lea. Her column appears bimonthly. Email her at

This gardener is so ready to garden! After visiting my first garden center this spring, I have to tell you I can barely sleep at night because of the excitement! Three of us passionate gardeners were supposed to make the trip north, but Winter Storm Wesley had other plans for us that day. We changed the date of the trip to Sunday in hopes everything would be clear of ice and snow, and that they would have electricity as many didn’t in the area.

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The garden center was opening at 11 a.m., so we were going to leave about an hour before — now I have to backtrack on this statement a little to set the stage. We thought it was opening at 11:30 a.m., so we were going to leave at 10:30 a.m., but then found out it opened at 11. A phone call asking if I could be ready earlier was all it took. Absolutely! I could be ready, as I had been awake at 4 a.m. in anticipation of our annual trek to buy flowers.

So my friend picked me up and then we picked up the third person and off we went. If you were a little mouse in the car you would have thought the three of us were absolutely stark-raving mad idiots. The excitement was building and we were absolutely giddy.

We arrived and were the first ones through the door that day, but others were right on our heels and all had that crazed look gardeners get at the beginning of the season. We laughed and said if it wasn’t open, we would just sit in the car and stare into the windows to see some color again. We each grabbed a cart (I had no intentions of buying any flowers this early in the season but grabbed a cart anyway) and off we went in three different directions. You could hear us talking to each other as we found little gems of interest and wanted to make sure the other two also new about them. I guess now is the time to admit that I did buy some flowers and they are residing in my kitchen along the south window to get enough sunlight until they can be planted outside in about six weeks (hopefully).

After making our purchases and already talking about our return trip, it was time to eat lunch after all the work of selecting flowers.

Our favorite place is the Depot, but one of the gals had never been there before and she was excited to eat there. As we walked in we told the waitress we wanted her to make sure a train came by just so Ruth could get the full ambiance of the Depot. By the time we left not one, not two but three trains passed by on the tracks just a few feet from where we were sitting. I have never had three trains whiz by in all of the times I have eaten there. Chalk that one up to beginners luck for Ruth, as this was her first trip with the two of us crazy ladies. We headed home, but not before a couple more stops along the way in Owatonna. We stopped at Culver’s for some ice cream and ran into friends I have known for many years, and then Country Goods was our next stop. That is where I got the cutest little gnomes for the garden.

Every day I will be looking at the flowers and tenderly and lovingly caring for them until they can be planted out in the gardens, and remembering the fun day the three of us passionate and crazy ladies had such a fun-filled day together, buying flowers and garden accessories and dreaming about what this gardening year will hold for each of us with our three very different gardens yet we felt like kindred spirits waiting for the garden fairies to join us in our little escapade. Thanks, Lou Jean and Ruth, for the fun day!

“There is so much hope in a little flower and so many flowers in a little hope.” — Mehmet Murat Ildan