More than 200 species of hosta grow in Pike Lake Park

More than 200 species of hosta grow in Pike Lake Park

PIKE LAKE — Karen Younggren said it took about 25 years for her garden to become the hosting haven it is today. She has more than 220 species of hostas, leafy green, shade-loving perennials, growing in her garden beds, each labeled with the species name.

“This is a gypsy rose. You can see it's light green with a little bit of white,” Younggren said. “And that one over there has that yellow spot, so it's called Thunderbolt and that's Appa Dabba Doo. They have some cool names.”

The Heatwave host plant is one of more than 220 species listed in Karen Younggren's Pike Lake Garden. Her garden will be featured on Saturday's Western Garden Tour.
Terry Cado / Duluth News Tribune

Younggren's Garden is one of several locations that will be featured at this year's Western Garden Tour and Continental Breakfast hosted by Norton Park United Methodist Church on Saturday.

What made Younggren interested in flight attendants? It was mostly because her house was surrounded by tall white pine trees.

“We discovered that hostas really like shade, so we started looking at garden centers and discovered that they weren't just the same old green plants that our grandmothers had in their yards,” Younggren said. “There's a lot of diversity.”

Every spring, Younggren and her husband, Tim, look for new varieties to add to their ever-growing collection. She likes to make sure they are carefully placed so the differences between species can be seen.

Younggreen starting point

One of the starting points that dot Karen Younggren's backyard garden. Younggren makes her own starting points using a template.
Terry Cado / Duluth News Tribune

The main back garden includes a series of tiers with stepping stones leading up to and around each tier, which Younggren created herself using concrete and plastic molds. The original plan for the backyard was to create a pond with a garden surrounding it, but the terrain made this impossible.

“So, this fountain was our compromise,” Younggren said, pointing to a fountain in the middle of the park. “It's very beautiful because you'll see sparrows and chickadees and hummingbirds coming out and having little baths or drinking, so it's very good.”

Mixed among hostas, the Younggren Garden is also home to a large variety of lilies and pollinating plants such as bee balm. She said the garden needs a wide variety to allow it to continue to bloom throughout the summer.

“So, by the time these flowers wilt, the next batch is ready to bloom,” Younggren said, pointing to a group of lilies in the backyard. “And hopefully they will be ready to open by the time people come this week.”


Two garden gnomes pulling each other alongside a tree trunk.
Terry Cado/Duluth News Tribune

The Younggrens Garden also features many small elements that showcase the family's Scandinavian background, with an extensive collection of statues, Dala horses and a sign reading “Parking for lutefisk fans only”.

“My husband finds a lot of these things,” Younggren said. “He loves the excuse to travel and look for new things to add.”

  • What: 21st Annual Western Garden Tour and Continental Breakfast. Includes cake, fruit, juice, coffee and an opportunity to ask the master gardener questions. Craft and garden items for sale. Rainy or sunny.
  • when: Saturday, 9-11am Breakfast, 9am-2pm Self-Guided Tour
  • where: Norton Park United Methodist Church, 436 N. 79th St. W., Duluth
  • it costs: $10 at the door
  • communication: Cathay, 218-590-1964
Terry Cado

Terri Cado is a K-12 education reporter for the Duluth News Tribune. Originally from the Iron Range, Cado has worked for several community newspapers in the Duluth area, including the Duluth Budgeteer News, Western Weekly, Weekly Observer, Lake County News-Chronicle and, occasionally, the Cloquet Pine Journal. When she's not working, she's an avid reader and crafter.

    (tags for translation)Norton Park

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