Mackenzie Mcilmail’s Flower Garden

A question & answer


Submitted by: Allyson Jay

A backyard garden is filled with salvia (purple plants), lady’s mantle, cat mint, and eastern redbud trees. These plants thrive in the summer and spring as they’re speckled with bumblebees and butterflies.

What inspired you to have a garden?

So I spent most of my twenties living in really congested cities and apartments and for a while I lived in a boarding school with twenty teenage girls in my house and so I always wanted to have a garden so when I moved to the Twin Cities and bought a house in Saint Paul, all of a sudden I had all this land to play with and I was just so excited to experiment and my sons love helping me in the garden which is super cute and teaches them all sorts of things.

How long have you had a garden for?

This will be the fourth year we had the garden, every year is something different. We usually do a lot of herbs and the rest is just flowers and we like to cook a lot in our family so we do a lot of basil and thyme and oregano and rosemary, all of which smell amazing. And then the flowers, we’re always experimenting and waging you know, like a family battle against the rabbits that live in our yard, it’s like something out of a children’s book. Yeah, so we grow hydrangeas and peonies and tulips and irises and in season, we’ll grow mums. We’re trying to get more into the Minnesota indigenous plants, but honestly I don’t know what I’m doing because I’m not from here. I grew up mostly in the South where you have a really long growing season and things are really warm all the time and here the growing season is so short so I’m trying to familiarize myself with what the heck I’m doing. I came from North Carolina where it’s not unusual in North Carolina to still see flowering plants in November and so here, everything is dead by then and then also the growing season starts in March whereas in Minnesota, the last frost date is May 10th, so you can’t even put things in the ground or outside until May 10th. So, by then, it’s a weird feeling, it’s like you’re planting almost in summer, so I’ve had to learn a lot. 

What is the maintenance like for your garden?

Some plants are really low maintenance in the Twin Cities, for example, peonies are really low maintenance, the only thing you really have to worry about is that sometimes, the plant will get so heavy it will fall over, you’ve probably seen them on the ground. I so you have to like use a bunch of different types of fertilizers and stuff like that to get that color so that’s more maintenance intense.