Garden Awards

Nominations and Winners

Each year the club recognizes local gardeners for their efforts to beautify the community.

Nominations can be submitted by the public or by club members.

The club Garden Awards committee selects those gardens to be recognized.

Help us locate local gardens to explore as we build our candidate list for 2019.

***  Submit your Garden Award Nominations ***

2019 Winners

Yard Awards video

Award videos (w and w/o audio) and Bailey Nursery tour

Lee and Jean Koecher
A Cottage Grove five-acre lot on 110th St So provides Lee, a Master Gardener, ample space to practice his horticultural skills. Ornamental grasses and canna lilies line the driveway, leading to a shade garden nestled among tall pines. Sunny areas include garden beds with perennial favorites, plots of blooming annuals, a berry patch and a half-acre vegetable garden that provides the family with food for the coming year. The gardens provide a festive setting for entertaining family and friends with outdoor seating areas, a fire pit, swimming pool, screened gazebo, an expanse of grass for lawn games and a children’s play area.

Elaine Schmitz
Elaine has been tending her garden on Granada Ave for over 50 years.  The front of the home features charming window boxes planted with brightly colored begonias and clouds of blooming alyssum with creeping jenny spilling over the sides.  This eye-catching display, set among a neatly trimmed hedge of Alpine Currant and manicured lawn, signals to those passing by that this is a well-loved and well cared for yard. The back garden features a mixed border of hardy perennial plants accented by dazzling displays of potted annuals. Elaine’s back deck provides the perfect spot for enjoying her garden and watching wildlife including the bluebirds that take up residence in nesting boxes each year. Elaine gives credit to family members for helping her maintain this garden paradise.

Christine and David Riege
Christine and David’s passion for gardening is apparent from the abundance of bloom on display at their home on Jenner Bay S in Cottage Grove. The couple’s corner lot features a cottage style garden full of perennial plants chosen with an eye towards providing constant bloom from Spring to Autumn and attracting birds and pollinators. The front garden also features a patio area with a small water feature and a chimera fire pit.  The backyard is devoted to food production with a berry patch, fruit trees, and a large vegetable garden. 137 tomato plants and 75 pepper are among the variety of vegetables that provide the family with year-round produce.

Past Garden Award Winners

Garden #1 (Nancy K.)
Nancy and Paul Kerestes, Loften Ave, Hastings, began creating their woodland gardens over 20 years ago. Large pots of red begonias greet visitors at the front door. A flagstone path leads you through the front shade garden filled with hostas, perennial plants and a variety of shrubs that add color and interest throughout the year. Along the side garden, a large swath of red bee balm in full bloom attracted pollinators. Annabelle Hydrangeas grace the back deck area while the woods provide a backdrop to a shade garden of Hostas, Astilbes and Ligularia. Whether you are relaxing in an adirondack chair around the fire pit or enjoying a cup of coffee on the back deck, each garden has a sitting area inviting you to stay a while and enjoy nature.
Garden #2 (Maria J.)
When Marie and Jamie Jensen, Granada Ave S, Cottage Grove, purchasedtheir home three years ago, there was nothing for landscaping. Doing the work themselves, they transformed the yard with an inspirational design of rock edged gardens planted with Hostas, perennials and annuals to add colorful variety and interest. Hydrangea and Spirea shrubs border the home with large pots of annuals at the front door. A side garden of red bee balm attracts pollinators. The fenced backyard includes raised bed vegetable gardens as well as a brick patio with seating around a fire pit for gatherings.
 2018 Garden Award recipient
Garden #3 (Jenn L. Wonderland Gardens)
Jenn Lanz has created a “Wonderland Gardens” at 7th Ave, Newport with assistance from husband Steve and son Devon. Her passion is lilies of all kinds especially Day lilies and Martagon lilies as evidenced throughout all the gardens. Jenn specializes in hybridizing lilies and perennials. Walkways through the gardens are paved with colored concrete stepping stones made by Steve. Numerous sitting areas are situated throughout areas of the gardens inviting you to sit and enjoy hundreds of lilies, Hostas, perennials and unusual cultivars. A blue tinted waterfall and stream flow down the back berm past a patio and fire pit.
 2018 Garden Award recipient



View photos here:  Garden Award photos


MaryAnn & Bob Nelson – Janero Ave, CG

Liz & Erik Svedin – Jeffrey Ave, CG

Rachel & Gary Weldon – 79th Ave So, CG

Culvers, Cottage Grove


Janelle & Risk Benson – 80th St., CG

Susan & Wayne Gale – 74th St., CG

Jonelle & Frank Johnson – Iden, CG

Edie Seefeldt – Portland, SPP


Kris Hilgert – Highland Hills Blvd, CG

Jean Smith – 79th St, CG

Bets Thorkelson – Lehigh Ave, Hastings

Karen & Leonard  Wodarcyzk – Hames Rd, CD


Sabrina & Pieter Bierman – 113th St, CG

Chin Dahlen – 89th St. Cir., CG

Kathy & Glenn Swits – Jeffery Ave, CG

St. Lukes Church


Jean & Peter Aimonetti – Hidden Valley Ridge, CG

Kathy & Tom Kiemen – Inskip Ave, CG

Linda Strachota & Dick Voita – Inskip Trail, CG

St. Paul Park Community Garden



Sherri & Jim Ross – 66th St, CG

Mary Lou & William Braeker – Greystone, CG

Sandy Dahlstrom – Heath, CG


All Saints Lutheran Church

Cindy & Dana Isaacs – 2nd St, SPP

Sylvia Stong – 78th St. Ct., CG

Mary & John Hogoboom – Hillside Trail, CG


Corienne & Jim Krueger – Ivystone, CG

Doris & Doug  Ortin – River Acres Rd., CG

Carol & Kenny Stanton – 72nd, Old CG

Zion Lutheran Church – Hillside Trail, CG


Events and resources for gardeners

Pineridge 2021/20 Speaker Series

April 21
Program: Springtime Topiary Styled Floral Arrangement
Speaker: Jenn Hovland from Fleur de Louise Flower Studio

A wonderful opportunity to listen and participate in making a flower arrangement with step by step guidance and fun conversation. Jenn also offers this and other classes at her studio.

March 17, 2021
Program: Art in the Garden, by Leslie MacKenzie. Presented by: Washington Co. Master Gardener and Co-presenter from Ramsey Co. Master Gardeners.

“Become a Pest Detective”.Followed by a few resources provided by Club Members.
Here is a link to Presentation Slides and Supplemental Handout:
Lady beetle larva pictures:
 Sign-up to receive our quarterly newsletter with seasonal garden advice:
Japanese Beetles information at the UMN:
Options for slug control:
How to clean your garden tools and containers:
If you enjoyed this class, find others on our website:
Azalea sawfly…
To make sure that your searches are limited to research based results, you can define a search limit by using the “SITE: .edu” filter. Here is an example:garden pests

February 17, 2021
Program: Pollinators by Rhonda Hayes from the MN Landscape Arboretum

January 20
Art in the garden present by Philippe Gallandt from Swiss Gardens

November 18
Labyrinths – Paths of Peace – presented by Lisa Gidlow Moriaty
– Lisa presented the club with a wonderful history of Labyrinths and many examples of local labyrinths that can provide places of calm contemplation.

January 15th, 2020
Healthy Soils, Healthy People presented by Russ Henry and Chesney Engquis
– The featured program at the club meeting on January 15th was “Healthy Soils, Healthy People”. Guest speakers Russ Henry and Chesney Engquis, President and General Manager of Giving Tree Gardens and Minnehaha Falls Landscape and co-founders Bee Safe Minneapolis, explained why healthy soil is critical for our ecosystem. They shared four helpful tips for creating healthy soil:

Tip #1: Keep the soil covered in green
Tip #2: Minimize disturbance
Tip #3: Keep living roots in the soil
Tip #4: Integrate appropriate fauna

To learn more about each tip, visit Minnehaha Falls Landscape’s Website.

You can also learn more about pollinator friendly gardening at Be Safe Minneapolis’ website.

Working has begun on the St. Paul Park City Hall entrance gardens

Pineridge Garden Club volunteers worked with the city and rejuvenated this garden in the fall of 2019 with additional plants and updates to be finished in the spring of 2020 along with colorful annuals.

Thank You! Pineridge Garden Club for planting and maintaining this community garden.

Gaze and Graze club gathering 2019

Gathering together to enjoy the efforts of our club members along with good food and good company.  Many thanks to Bob and Caryn for sharing their gardens. Special thanks to our three guests Marissa, Joy, and Mya.

Celebrating 50 years in 2019!! Club anniversary dinner April 17

Gathering for our 50th anniversary
Club founding members

2019 Cottage Grove Volunteer Banquet

Cottage Grove’s Volunteer Appreciation Banquet was held in April.  It was especially nice. The City of Cottage Grove recognized and honored Delores Handeland, Kathy Rolfson and Glennie Dolan (absent) for founding the Pineridge Garden Club 50 years ago.  Mayor Myron Bailey presented Delores and Kathy with special founder plaques. The Club received a 50 year plaque and a living gift of three small Sonic Bloom Pink Weigela shrubs to plant in the City Hall Garden.

2019 Spring Gala

Pineridge Garden Club – Speaker series

September 2019

Pineridge Garden Club met September 21, 2019 at Cottage Grove City Hall.  Margaret MacNeale from the Daffodil Society of Minnesota presented an informative program about the care and types of daffodils.  The members were also able to purchase bulbs from the Daffodil Society.  The club then enjoyed refreshments and held a business meeting.    The October 16 program will be decorating for the holidays by speaker Jenn Hovland from Fluer de Louise Flower Studio.  The meeting will be October 16 at 7:pm at Cottage Grove City Hall.  For more information on the Pineridge Garden Club visit:

March 2019 – Debra Dresler 

Debra Dresler, a St Croix Valley native, has had a rich career in the arts designing and marketing art in many mediums with most recently digital art making. She has also been an instructor in calligraphy, jewelry making, painting and photography. She believes everyone is a creator and encourages wild abandon and adventures in all forms of art making. She currently teaches iPhoneography, digital art, and creativity coaching at the White Bear Center for the Arts, White Bear Lake, MN.

February (Canceled)

January 2019

Shepherd Farm Nature Center
Don Oberdorfer, Dodge Nature Center Farm Manager, spoke to the Pineridge Garden Club on January 16, 2019, about development plans for the Shepherd Farm Nature Center. Located at the corner of 70th St and Jamaica Ave, this beautiful farm is situated on 140 acres of mature forest that was once the vacation home of the Shepherd Family. It was donated to Dodge Nature Center in 2013 to be used for educational purposes. With a conservation easement and historical designation for the look of the buildings, this Cottage Grove “Gem” is protected from residential development.  Improvements to Shepherd Farm have focused on updating the infrastructure such as water, sewer and electrical. A few programs are currently offered such as community gardens for rent and an adult beekeeping class using the equipment at the Farm. More programs are in the planning with livestock at the Farm, goats, chickens, a native species garden for pollinators and over two miles of walking trails through the woods. A web site is soon to be launched.
Dodge Nature Center is a not profit privately owned self-supporting organization that depends on donations and community volunteers. Garden Club members were assured that there would be lots of opportunities to volunteer.
Don emphasized Shepherd Farm is currently not open to the public – only to people enrolled in programs at the Farm. It may open this summer or next year depending on how improvement projects progress. But hey – they’re getting there!

October 2018

Rick Rodich was the featured speaker at the October 17 meeting of the Pineridge Garden Club. Rick, a horticulturist/botanist, is a member of the North American Rock Garden Society at both the state and national levels. Members were enlightened about the appropriate rocks, plants, and soil that are chief landscape elements for a rock garden. More information about the Rock Garden Society can be found at


September 2018

Blue Chip Tree Service owner – Rodney Mead

Rod speaking at Pineridge Garden Club

Rod has owned Blue Chip Tree Service since 1990 and he spoke to members about tree maintenance and how to keep trees healthy. Rod was one of the early certified arborists in MN.



Speaker  –  August 2018

Washington County Master Gardener – Marge Sagstetter

Topic:  How to Raise Monarchs Responsibly

Speaking on Monarchs
Marge didn’t always like Monarch Butterflies and caterpillars. In fact, as a child, she had a fear of butterflies and other insects. About five years ago, a friend asked Marge to “babysit” her monarch caterpillars – she thought why not! Why not overcome this fear? Let’s do this! And Marge has been raising monarch butterflies ever since. She shared lots of information with the club members including a few links:
Everything you need to know about monarch butterflies and how you can help bring back the monarch butterflies:
For information on the migration of the monarch butterfly, go to Journey North migrations and seasons
To view a video of the life cycle of the monarch butterfly, search for Growing Up Butterfly | National Geographic – YouTube

What to do in the Garden Now


MN Horticulture Society

MN Horticulture Society – Northern Gardener

Dakota County Master Gardeners

Master Gardeners of Dakota County, MN

University of MN Extension Service

Univ. MN Extension Service – Garden

Univ. MN Extension – Plants A-Z

Gardening Information

Gardening Know How site

Better Homes and Gardens

Plant Dictionary