The Garden of Bonnie and Harold Busson
White Bear Lake, Minnesota
   Over the past 33 years, Bonnie and Harold Busson have battled stubborn clay and rocks to create a woodland wonderland. River birch, pagoda dogwood, Kentucky Coffee tree, and tall evergreens provide the backdrop for the couple's more than 1,500 hostas. Bonnie and Harold estimate their collection includes at least 500 varieties. In the spring, the property is covered with wildflowers and ephemerals, followed by masses of colorful perennials and companion plants interspersed with hostas. 
   A grove of stately trees, boasting five different kinds of oak, stands sentinel on the property. At the side of the house, a prolific vegetable garden thrives in raised boxes.

Bonnie and Harold Busson

   Walkways of brick pavers, designed and built by the Bussons' son, go to the front and back entry. Turfgrass sets off other gardens. Wandering the pathways, one might notice the many rocks ringing the gardens. Each of these rocks was in the ground before the garden began. Tremendous effort went into the creation of all this beauty. "It can take an hour or more to dig a hole for a new hosta", Bonnie says. It is obvious that this lovely countryside garden has been a labor of love. ..........

Garden Tour Photos

My Visit: June Colley
Lindford, Hampshire, England

   The garden at the home of Bonnie and Harold Busson is set in a country woodland under canopies of magnificent native trees, including dogwood, birch, and statuesque evergreens. The genus Quercus (oak) is very well represented, and a large number of hostas are grouped in beds under their spreading canopies. The tranquil garden setting invites the visitor to explore along the many pathways that are home to some 1500 hostas and a wide variety of endemic flora.
   As we entered the expansive lawn in the front garden, we were drawn to a bed of predominantly gold-colour hostas growing under three large oak trees. Here are found some handsome clumps of Hosta 'Sum and Substance', 'Gold Standard', and 'Maui Buttercups'.  Nearby is a long and narrow bed sheltered by a row of stately oak trees. The colourful mix of hostas and variety of textures they display delight the senses.  A clump of 'Abba Dabba Do' stands proudly, and a healthy clump of 'Blue Mouse Ears' [1] in bud hugs a protective-looking boulder.
   The Bussons have been continually digging up boulders and rocks from what was once considered an untamed landscape. Digging a hole for a hosta is no mean feat in the Minnesota outcrop, but it has not deterred the Bussons from adding more hosta to their collection. Many areas in the garden are accentuated by large boulders and stones collected over many years of laborious excavation and these are used to line the pathways.

   A very large bed to the left of the garden is bordered by silver brunneras and dense clumps of the tough ground cover Aegopodium. One can relax in the wrought iron seat [2] and admire pristine specimens of  'Blue Plate Special' , 'Risky Business’,  'Striptease', and dozens of other hostas.
   As you turn the corner, a columnar birdbath is the centrepiece to a semi-formal garden setting, which is surrounded by multiple clumps of classic hostas including 'Gold Standard', 'Regal Splendor', and 'Golden Tiara'.
   Suddenly, from the verdant lawns and beds, you come to an undulating pathway covered with bright orange wood chippings that leads to the edge of the woodland. There are seats dotted around so you can sit and enjoy the kaleidoscope of colours, featuring dozens of native plants, including campanulas, daisies, violets, arisaemas, and swathes of subtle coloured astilbes.[3]
   Attractive brick pathways lead to the extensive woodland garden behind the house, and at every turn we were surprised by more groups of hostas, ferns, daylilies and ground cover plants.[4] Hydrangea 'Annabelle' was in full bloom and spilling out onto the path with a medley of hostas, including Hosta 'Dark Star', 'Party Favor', 'Sea Gulf Stream', and  'Raspberry Sorbet' to catch the eye. 
   We note at the back and front of the house repeated waves of H. 'Undulata Albomarginata', H. 'Undulata Erromena', 'Gold Standard', and ‘Lancifolia’ and H. sieboldiana types. These classic hostas have proven to stand the test of time and have been used effectively in this woodland setting. They will continue where early flowering species have long gone and keep the garden luxuriant through to late summer.
   Small and miniature hostas also have their place, with spreading mounds of 'Pandora's Box', 'Lemon Lime',  'Tiny Tears',  'Bojangles', 'Yellow Boa', and 'Limey Lisa'.  A small pond, with two large ceramic toads on guard, [5] reflects the tree canopy, and several raised beds at the sunny side of the house harbour productive vegetable plots.
   Garden objects and statuary add excitement to the garden.  Stone faces peer out of the bed [6] of  'Honeybells' to smile unexpectedly at the visitor.  Little angels, pixies, and a small deer nestle in the foliage, while other much larger stones rise from the landscape.  We realized that this beautiful garden has been created with incredible effort out of a rugged and stony forest floor. There is plenty of room for expansion and, no doubt, the Bussons and their son will continue to cultivate this woodland, indulging in their passion for gardening.
   Bonnie and Harold have created and given their love and care to this garden for over 33 years.  It is to their credit that it has become a wonderful countryside garden, a perfect woodland wonderland.

 

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