Serendipity Gardens: Excitement of a new growing season

Published 9:00 am Saturday, June 8, 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

After all the excitement of prom, an awards ceremony, graduation and an open house finished, I am actually getting my hands dirty planting and weeding!

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Memorial Day weekend was Carissa’s graduation open house. Saturday was gorgeous, but you know where I was? It was not in the gardens. On Sunday, it was a bit overcast with a few sprinkles and our family stopped by as they headed back home.

In between all of their visits, you would have found me in my gardening clothes planting seeds — many different kinds of zinnias, bachelor buttons, larkspur, cosmos, tithonia, castor bean and sunflowers. I still have several packages of cupcake mix zinnia, marigolds and some climbing flowers to get in and hopefully by the end of this week all the seeds will be planted.

Carol Hegel Lang

On Tuesday, I headed to the garden center to fill my car with hanging baskets and plants of all colors. If you looked in my car it appeared as if a rainbow had exploded in it! I even managed to pile in six bags of potting mix before the car was filled.

There are so many new varieties of flowers on the market and how I would love to try them all, but space and time prevent me from fulfilling this dream. Begonias are my go-to plant for baskets and shady areas this year. The only place I found canary wing begonias this year was at Hill’s Gardens, and let me tell you how excited I was to be able to purchase them locally.

After seeing them in my catalogs I was tempted to order them, but for some reason my brain kept telling me to hold off, and am I ever glad about that decision. They are absolutely gorgeous with their lime/chartreuse leaves. They will definitely brighten up the shady back gardens. Once they get growing I will be sure to post a photo of them on my Facebook page and possibly in my column.

In May the migrant birds make their trek through here on their trip farther north and it has been fun watching all the different birds at the feeders. John’s cousin, Neil, and I delight in all the different species that visit and we are always chatting about what has visited. I think both of us will say the Tennessee warblers in great quantity were the most exciting to watch as they zipped back and forth between oranges, grape jelly and sugar water feeders, fending off each other and the larger birds.

Thanks to Gunnar Berg and all of his photos he posted on Facebook that visited his gardens along the shores of Fountain Lake. One of these years I must get over there to see all the excitement in his gardens.

Sometimes I wish there were at least three of me — one to visit the garden centers and purchase plants, one to get the planting and weeding done and one to be the housewife and fulfill all her obligations.

Usually something has to be slighted and gardening is what it is. This year I am actually enjoying weeding, but that may change as I get to the challenging areas on rock borders. The kiss-me-over-the garden gate are such prolific self-seeders, so if I wait until the seedlings are a couple of inches tall it is much easier to pull them, but my gardens really look terrible then. Shinefest was in our neighborhood the week before Memorial Day and they fixed the fence and cut down a couple of shrubs along with cleaning out the gutters — tasks my husband is no longer able to do. Thank you to all of them. They cannot imagine how it touched our lives to have them doing this for us and our neighbors. The kids painted flower pots and planted them for each of us and what a nice thing that was to receive from them!

“When in the fresh mornings I go into my garden before anyone is awake, I go for the time being into perfect happiness.” — Celia Thaxter