To a wine maker, the bouquet refers to the scents and smells a wine develops during the aging process.

While beers don’t have a bouquet equivalent, there’s one that produced a garden (party).

Huh?

In the 1890s, Frederick Noerenberg, founder of the Grain Belt Brewery, built an estate house on the shores of Lake Minnetonka. The parcel Noerenberg built on was nearly 75 acres and featured 8,500 feet of Lake Minnetonka shoreline.

At its center blossomed a formal garden influenced and inspired by the trips and tours his family took to Europe.

The estate stayed in the Noerenberg family until the death of Lora Noerenberg Hoppe in 1972. Then the grounds were turned over to the Three Rivers Park District, with the stipulation that the house be torn down and gardens preserved.

Today, the garden is as beautiful as ever.

“The layout is still formal,” said Three Rivers Park District Horticultural Supervisor Arla Carmichiel, “but the hardscape has changed and the plantings might be a little softer and more natural.

“The biggest difference,” she added, “is accessibility. Paths through the old garden were narrow and had lots of steps.”

Carmichiel would know, as she started her Three Rivers Park District career 35 years ago as an intern at Noerenberg Gardens, working beside the gardener who had been head of Lora Noerenberg Hoppe’s staff.

Destination

While the Noerenberg Gardens have become a popular place to take wedding, prom and senior photos, its main attraction is its beauty.

“It’s familiar, yet it’s a well-kept secret,” Carmichiel said. “It’s also nice and quiet, which people look for nowadays.”

A set of pillars stands where the original house sat. The gardens, featuring a mass planting of Northern Lights azaleas, sprawl below.

When asked about the azaleas, Carmichael said the Northern Lights' strain was developed by the University of Minnesota azalea breeding program.

“They’re hardy enough to grow in Minnesota,” she said.

An original grape arbor is still on the property, as is the boathouse and barn.

Garden Party

The Noerenberg Gardens, 2865 Northshore Drive, Wayzata, are open daily from May to October, from 8 a.m. until sunset.

On July 18 from 6-8 p.m., the Noerenberg Gardens celebrate with a Garden Party.

“Master gardeners will be on hand giving tours,” Carmichael said. “The barn across the road, which is normally closed, will also be open.”

Northern Lights azaleas will be in attendance, as will the allium ambassadors, daylilies.

Sports editor

Dan Huss covers Eden Prairie sports and especially loves reporting on sports features and outdoors-related adventures. He lives in Shorewood with his wife, Marnie, daughters Aili and Britt, and Wilma, a pheasant-finding Deutsch Drahthaar.

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