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Video: At Duluth’s Rose Garden, thousands of vibrant flowers are uniquely situated on Lake Superior’s shore

Jun 28, 2021 06:55AM ● By Editor

Watch the WCCO-TV Report here

Photo: WCCO-TV

By John Lauritsen of WCCO-TV - June 27, 2021

Summer is officially in bloom, and that means flowers of all kinds are catching our attention.

There’s no better example of that than the rose garden at Leif Erickson Park in Duluth.

Lake Superior is known as the unsalted sea. Its beaches and its ports are a destination for entertainment and industry.

And just when you think you’ve seen this Great Lake from all angles, along comes something relatively new.

“This is one of my favorite gardens in the whole world,” Lake Superior Rose Society President Margaret J. Anderson said. “It’s a world-class garden. Fabulous gardens. With the backdrop of Lake Superior, the hills of Duluth and a railroad bed next to it. Fabulous.”

Anderson is one of the keepers of this 6-acre garden. There are more than 15,000 plants and flowers at the park. Three-thousand of them are roses. Here, roses are red, but also about 18 other colors.

“There’s white, red, there’s bi-colors and blends, and peach, and apricot and some yellow,” Anderson said.

The colors have popped throughout history. Even more so since the entire garden was essentially picked up and moved across town in the mid-90s.

“In 1994, they started building the freeway,” Wendy Wohlwend said. “They put the rose garden on top of the freeway, so it is very unique in its location and the fact that we’re next to the gorgeous lake and then we’re also over a freeway.”

Wohlwend is a rose expert, also known as a rosarian. Her crew works hard to maintain the flowers. Being on top of the Interstate 35 freeway can make things a bit thorny at times. The garden can freeze from the top and from the bottom. It’s a Minnesota problem that they don’t have to worry about in the summer heat.

“Beginning of April all the way up ’til October there is always something to do,” Wohlwend said. “Fertilizing, pruning, weeding, weeding.”

And weeding some more.

But it pays off. Among the fountain, the gazebo, and the budding beauty, weddings and celebrations are held. And there are almost as many camera-toting visitors on site as there are rose bushes.

“I think the thing that hits you first is the smell. It smells very good,” Mary Jackson, a visitor from Proctor, said.

“We went on a train ride and when we saw the flower garden from a distance we wanted to come see it for ourselves,” Jenny Adams of Princeton said.

Like people, no two flowers are the same. Different color schemes, called circles, are found throughout the park and each needs to be handled differently in the spring and fall, so that in the summer, there’s time to stop and smell the roses.

“To have a rose garden so special at this location, and then have people enjoy it,” Anderson said. “Whether they eat their lunch, they meditate, they have a dance recital or wedding reception. It’s just a lovely place to congregate and be together and enjoy nature, the sunshine and the water.”

Before it moved, the original Duluth rose garden opened in 1964.

Caretakers say peak bloom for the garden is next month.

For more information on the garden, click here.

To watch the original report and see related stories, follow this link to the WCCO-TV website.

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