By Jennie Zeitler, Staff Writer
Nestled on a hill north of Sauk Centre is Joey and Loren Wiener’s home, surrounded by lush gardens full of a wide variety of flowers. Joey Wiener admits that she is a hosta nut.
“I have about 60 types of hostas,” she said. These range from the smallest varieties such as Mouse Ears and Dixie Chickadee to Komodo Dragon, which will grow up to five feet.
The Wiener gardens are only one location featured in the self-guided Garden Tour Saturday, July 14 from 10 a.m. – 3 p.m. Tickets can be purchased for $7.50 from sponsors Tree Top Nursery and the Dairyland Peach. For more information, call the Peach at (320) 352-6569.
The Wieners farmed near Padua for more than 30 years on the farm where Loren grew up. Since it was a dairy farm, they had little time for hobby gardening.
After Joey’s cancer diagnosis, it was too much work for them to maintain the farm while she underwent chemotherapy. She spent time resting between treatments at her sister-in-law Rosie Lensing’s home near Minneapolis, and was very calmed by Lensing’s gardens.
So when the Wieners built a new home and there were only woods near, Joey wanted to add more color and texture.
Several evergreen trees and hostas were brought from the farm. Among those are an older variety called Lancifolia, which had been Wiener’s mother’s. Lensing gave Wiener a number of hostas.
“My husband and I do this together,” Wiener said. “I get the ideas, and he helps make them happen. He put the fence in last year, and he makes the little houses and other ornaments that go in the gardens.”
Their farm had very heavy clay soil, so gardening has been a challenge here with the sandy soil.
“We have amended it every way we possibly can, composting for nutrients and putting as much as four inches of mulch on the beds,” said Wiener.
One of the largest features in the yard is a rock which was moved from the farm. It took two skid loaders to put the rock onto a rock wagon at the farm.
“My husband and his brother used steel poles to push the rock off the wagon here, and it just sat for several months while we thought about where to put it,” she said.
Then one day as a workman was installing the fuel tank, Wiener asked if he would move the rock into one of the gardens, since the Wieners’ skidloader couldn’t budge it.
Scattered throughout the gardens are fun objects and interesting features. Wiener painted an old bowling ball to look like a ladybug. Her husband cut up a fallen tree into walking pads, and wrapped three longer wood pieces together with rope.
Water in a birdbath glints in the sun, while a smiling cherub sits in the shade. Wiener’s husband put in two arches for clematis. Lanterns are tucked between plants and a wire fence backs up a clump of New Guinea impatiens.
“I most enjoy walking around in the spring and watching the plants progress to blooming,” Wiener said.
On the garden tour, look for the pig and yellow lizard.