By Clare Ling
Before becoming a Hennepin County Master Gardener in 2003, Mary Yee was a staff economist for the U.S. Treasury in Washington, D.C.
There on the East Coast, her flower of choice was the antique rose.
A visitor to her diverse garden in Edina, though, would never be able to tell. Yee’s garden at 6704 West Trail hosts a sprawling plethora of plants, not all of which are native or even recommended to be grown in Minnesota’s climate.
Somehow though, Yee makes it work. Her yard is home to more than 50 varieties of peonies, and in the backyard can be found a collection of woodland plants, like Japanese forest grass and hellebores.
“I experiment a lot. I grow a lot of things that aren’t recommended for this far north,” said Yee, whose garden is one of the five being featured in this year’s “Great Gardens of Southwest Edina,” a tour hosted by the Edina Garden Council at 1-5 p.m. Sunday, June 8.
Yee is in part able to come across her wide variety of plants by taking a step outside of Minnesota, and sometimes even the United States.
“I literally get seeds from all around the world,” she said.
On a recent trip to Oxford, England, for her husband Paul Glewwe’s job, Yee spent her time collecting seeds to bring back to her garden in Minnesota.
But although many of her plants aren’t local to the area, Yee’s thoughts on the many benefits of gardening are completely universal.
“You slow down to the rhythm of nature. I want some of these things to bloom for me, but they’re not going to do that,” Yee said of her plants.
Yee’s patience might have something to do with her longtime gardening experience – she recognized herself as one of the “lucky ones,” having been able to start gardening at a young age with one of her grandparents.
Yee honed her gardening skills further by becoming a Hennepin County Master Gardener in 2003. Master Gardeners are University of Minnesota-trained volunteers who help Minnesotans with all of their gardening questions – from how to make their communities more sustainable to common plant diagnoses.
Her best gardening advice? “Try to plant a garden that’s friendly to nature – to bees and other pollinators. Avoid pesticides,” Yee recommended.
Tickets for the “Great Gardens Tour of Southwest Edina” can be purchased in advance for $12 at the Edina Senior Center, 5280 Grandview Square, or online at edinagardencouncil.seatyourself.biz. On the day of the tour, tickets can be purchased for $15 at 7013 Comanche Court. All proceeds are donated to scholarships and Edina parks.
The list of gardens to view during the tour include:
• Dan and Dianne Latham, 7013 Comanche Court. This garden features more than 400 types of annuals, perennials, shrubs, trees and vegetables, as well as a gazebo and lotus reflecting pool.
• Mary Yee and Paul Glewwe, 6704 West Trail.
• Maura and Vic Katyal, 6421 Indian Hills Road. The Katyal’s 1.3-acre yard is home to native grasses, Ginkgo, Japanese maples, and a dry creek bed made of recycled stone from the University of Minnesota Music building and Fort Snelling.
• Susie and Steven Heim, 7028 Down Road. This garden of more than an acre features a landscaped side yard, hostas, and plantings at the front and back of the home, as well as on the poolside and hillside.
• Pam and Michael Welch, 4916 Aspasia Lane. The Welch garden hosts more than 75 varieties of peonies, as well as a large collection of iris and succulents.
• Arneson Acres Park, 4711 W. 70th St. Edina’s public garden includes multiple varieties of trees, annuals, perennials, wildflowers, daylilies, hostas, and a gazebo and fountain.
Clare Ling is a senior at Edina High School and is completing her May Term internship with the Edina Sun Current.