Duluth Rose Garden and Leif Erickson Park

‘Strike it Rich’ rose in Duluth Rose Garden

In September, my husband and I made a visit to Duluth, and of course, I had to stop at the Duluth Rose Garden, which is located in Leif Erickson Park. The garden looked incredible and one of the caretakers told us that September is one of the best times in the garden.

Leif Erickson Park is built right on top of Interstate-35 and is easily accessible from London Road. The garden can also be reached by foot through Duluth’s Lakewalk. It overlooks Lake Superior and offers fantastic views of the lake and ships moving into Duluth’s harbor under the famous Aerial Lift Bridge.  Even on a warm day, this park is cooled by lake breezes and is a restful place to visit.

‘Cherry Parfait’

Jointly maintained by the City of Duluth and the Lake Superior Rose Society, the garden covers 6 acres and includes thousands of plants, from conifers to roses. The garden, in some form or another, has been around since the 1930s. The formal rose garden was a gift to the city from Ausma Klints, a florists’ daughter and horticulturist from Latvia who immigrated to the United States and wanted to give her adopted hometown a formal garden similar to the ones she enjoyed in Europe. With curving beds, a gazebo, brick paths between the beds and statuary, the garden certainly achieves her vision.

Paths throughout the park encourage strolling. Views of the lake and flowers make your walk pleasant and cool.

The design of the garden encourages strolling, and around every bend you see something different. Views of the lake are present throughout, but you may also see the statue of Leif Erickson, who presides over one entry to the garden as well as a walled walkway, a dramatic fountain, a pollinator garden and large shrubbery.

Verbena bonariensis attracts pollinators. The Duluth’s aerial lift bridge is part of the views from the garden.

As a gardener, I loved how well labeled all the plants were and how obviously well cared for everything was. Duluth is a city of gardens and greenery. The gardens at Glensheen Mansion are well worth visiting, as are many of the city’s parks.

The day we visited the rose garden the weather was overcast, which I think added to the beauty of the setting. I love visiting Minnesota’s inland sea, and make a trip to Lake Superior almost every year. Usually this involves going through Duluth. Next time, your “up North,” consider stopping by the Duluth Rose Garden.

A few more photos to enjoy:

This stunning smokebush in a shrub border screens the urban views around the park.
The park’s namesake Leif Erickson
‘Strike it Rich’ rose in bud