Marcella Grandpre is a life-long gardener and longtime supporter of Metro Blooms. She became a volunteer in 2005 when a master gardener told her about us. She became a garden evaluator right away for the Minneapolis Garden Awards Program, eventually also helping choose the best gardens in the City. Born in the Bavaria region of Germany, Marcella came to Minnesota with her family when she was young. She grew up in the Linden Hills neighborhood in Minneapolis, which she still calls home today. She’s always loved the area and raised her family there. Before retiring, she was a social worker focused on child development.
Marcella’s journey as a gardener started when she was young. Both her parents gardened as she grew up, so she had a lot of exposure early on. This became an inspiration for her as an adult. She’s been gardening since she moved into her home in Linden Hills thirty years ago. Currently, she has a variety of gardens, both indoors and outdoors. In her backyard she has a ‘natural garden,’ something she describes as not neatly organized or decorated. Inside her house, she keeps ‘mini gardens’ that allow her to garden year-round.
For Marcella, gardening represents a few different things. One, it’s a chance for people to interact with each other. She has a garden on the side of her house that people stop by and look at as they walk by. Noticing this, she built a more visible garden in her front yard. This led to a ripple effect where others on her block also established gardens in their front yard. Now, these gardens serve as conversation starters and as something her neighbors can gather around. This is one reason she supports Metro Blooms. Front-yard gardens create social networks that otherwise wouldn’t be there. They also make people feel good on a subconscious level. Gardening is also a luxury of time and money for Marcella. The absence of gardening in a neighborhood reflects the level of poverty within it. Marcella would like to see people in neighborhoods where this luxury isn’t so common, like the Near North in Minneapolis, have more opportunities and support to do gardening. One way to do this would be to create an awards program that recognizes gardeners in each neighborhood, including neighborhoods like the Near North. Lastly, gardening is an endless learning process. This is the fun part for Marcella. Every year she faces different challenges as the needs of her gardens change.
Marcella has several hobbies she enjoys and a few fun facts she shared about herself. She’s a collector, and enjoys word games, traveling, and being part of a mystery book club. But most of her future plans involve traveling. She plans to travel both at home and abroad this year. She’s especially interested in visiting gardens around the world. She wants to see how they’re influenced by the culture in which they exist.
We’d like to thank Marcella for inviting us into her cozy home and talking with us.
Are you enjoying reading these spotlights? Please share your comments on our Facebook page or e-mail them to Aida at firstname.lastname@example.org.