Minnesota Green at St. Luke Church

Five years ago, a staff person at St. Luke Lutheran Church in Cottage Grove asked parishioner Dennis Bostrom if he could make something beautiful from a large, untended garden plot at the church. As a longtime gardener, Dennis knew he was up to the challenge.

The garden in front of St. Luke Lutheran Church in Cottage Grove is a show-stopper.

Today, looking at the gorgeous garden that resulted it’s hard to imagine the weedy expanse that once existed. It’s been completely transformed thanks to the many hours that Dennis and other volunteers from the St. Luke congregation toiled to create an oasis of flowers. From annuals to perennials to flowering shrubs, the plants provide a vibrant show of blooms throughout the season, and many were provided by MSHS’s Minnesota Green program. St. Luke has been a Minnesota Green participant for several years, and Dennis is grateful for its support. “What a privilege to be part of this program,” he says.

St. Luke’s volunteer gardeners

When he first took on the project, Dennis gardened alone and purchased plants himself, choosing varieties that would require less maintenance. Later, Jo Nelson, Marianne Slaikeu, Gail Bauer and others joined him and the garden took shape. Eventually, the church recognized the amenity that the garden represents and invested in an irrigation system.

These days, the gardeners are routinely rewarded with praise from their fellow church members, and people driving along the busy road next to the church will often stop to admire the garden at close range. For Dennis, working in the garden is an expression of his faith, and the fact that others appreciate his efforts is a blessing.

—Tom McKusick

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