The Garden of Harvey Filister and Teddy Bair
Minneapolis, Minnesota
  Most gardeners look at their gardens, but you go into  this one,” explained Ted Bair. Bair and Harvey Filister’s garden is enchanting. They purchased the 1925 house in 1994 and have melded it and the garden into a single unit. Harvey is the collector, Ted the designer.
   Visitors enter through a wrought-iron arbor and interior fence covered with wispy fronds of weeping larch and hemlock. A glance upward reveals the upstairs window boxes brimming with annuals. The unusual intersectional hybrid peonies that are tucked in here and there never need staking. The winding path leads to the back of the house, where visitors gasp in amazement at first sight of this unique
urban back yard. Stone bridges, ponds, containers displaying rare and unusual plants, huge koi, cascading water and an incredible collection of hostas, beautifully arranged and displayed, create this lovely space.

Harvey Filister & Teddy Bair

   Unusual trees and shrubs, rare conifers, multiple types of groundcovers and native wildflowers mingle to elicit “oohs and ahhs.” A pineapple theme is repeated in hose minders and bird baths. Foreign influences far from Minnesota are evident. Unusual plants and interesting garden sculptures from Japan, England and Italy add unique diversity.
   The gardens feel spacious, yet the space is relatively small. In this enchanting garden, you become one with nature ..........

Garden Tour Photos

My Visit: Conny Parsons
Glen Mills, Pennsylvania, US

   The Tudor home [1] of Teddy Bair and Harvey Filister in Minneapolis is completely surrounded by gardens. Tall sculptured hedges [2] in the front provide privacy and echo the lines and shapes of the architecture of their home. They also provide the taller walls for the exterior garden rooms, where accents of iron arbors and stone paths lead visitors on a journey through shapes and structures. There is seating to view the multiple cultivars of hosta, the textures and shapes of different conifers, classical garden art and an abundance of beautiful containers. Ted has artistically formed conifers and low boxwood hedges reminiscent of an English Topiary Garden [3]. In the front corner, water spills from a fountain centered in a stone wall, which is framed by a lovely iron arbor and cascading spruce into a koi pond.
   The sound of water follows you along the stone path through the side garden with its many urns filled with hostas. As you round the corner into the back garden you are literally stopped in your tracks. Before you is an enchanting space [4] filled with a the bold colorful foliage of hosta, contrasting fine needles of various firs, pines, spruce and hemlock, along with Martagon lilies, Japanese maples, and other complimentary plants, surrounding and enhancing a delightful large water feature.
Harvey joked that their property could be referred to as a “pond with a house,” instead of a “house with a pond.” 

   Visitors can stand on a stone bridge [5] looking down at very large Japanese koi, walk over a flowing stream on stone pavers or have fun hopping across large stones to cross a smaller section of this large pond. Conifers add form and are placed to compliment while forming a microclimate.  
   While Harvey refers to himself as the “Plant Collector,” Teddy is “The Designer.”  Ted has created a sense of depth and height by using over 40 tons of stone in low elevated walls, edging, and walks. Vertical accents create movement and make the space seem large. He uses tall containers filled with tree ferns and conifers as vertical punctuations within beds of hosta. A large ‘Niagara Falls’ [6] resides in front of a dancing garden statue on a tall stand. An angel statue rises out of the water on a platform, creating a fountain within the pond. Hanging planters and lanterns hang down from branches, bringing spaces together. The needles of a contorted white pine contrast the large leaves of  ‘Choo Choo Train’. By limiting the colors of the garden art and furniture, each becomes a part of the whole with a sense of importance in placement and function.
   Harvey and Teddy both have favorite places to sit. Harvey likes the end (or beginning), where a pergola sits slightly above this peaceful arboretum. One side has a large stained-glass window where planters are placed to echo colors. Ted likes to sit on ceramic seats looking across at cascading hostas, weeping grasses, and Japanese Maples, listening to water trickle down a creek bed over a stonewall into the pond. Both feel that if you have something this special, and don’t share it, you don’t deserve it. Thank you for sharing this special garden with all of us


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