Garden Tours: goldfinch4, Chris Rentmeister

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Posted by @Sharon on
It's exciting to look at beautiful gardens in the middle of winter. For our first tour of the new season we're taking you to Wisconsin to see the gardens of Chris Rentmeister. Her creative touch can be seen not only in the color combination of blooms, but also in the interesting garden art she shares with us. You're going to love what you see!

We moved into our present home about 23 years ago. We live just outside the city limits and our lot is about 100’ x 130’. There was one round raised flower bed about 6 feet in diameter made from rocks and it was falling apart. I took it apart the first year we lived here and hired a neighbor with a bobcat to start my first flower garden which was approximately 10’ x 18’ at the time. That was the only garden on our property that I didn’t dig by hand. It’s now about 20’ x 24’ and I call it the driveway garden because it’s on the side of the yard and is surrounded by our driveway on 2 sides and the neighbor’s driveway on the other side. It’s pretty much a cottage garden style.

The Driveway Garden

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I love a riot of bright colors and plants and my gardens reflect that. Most of the plantings weren’t planned, they just happen as I go along.

It’s hard to pick a favorite plant because there are quite a few that will always be in my gardens. Clematis, lilies, heuchera, peonies and sempervivum are my main weaknesses.

My gardens definitely reflect my personality and are filled with artwork and containers that I’ve made.

Both sets of grandparents had beautiful vegetable and flower gardens, as does my mother. I loved working in my mother’s gardens and at a very young age she let me have my own little plot in her garden. I was hooked! In her mid-80’s my mother still has gorgeous gardens that carve out a bit of paradise in their city block. Even though I don't have a vegetable garden any more, I still grow some vegetables every year in containers or little nooks and crannies in my flower gardens.

I would like to make some changes to what I call my “shade garden” in the next few years to make better use of my space. I only have a very small area that gets any shade during the day; the entire rest of the yard is in full sun. Every year I say no more gardens, but generally I don’t listen to myself. I think it's fair to say my gardens are always evolving.

Going around to the backyard, this is next to the garage.


Behind the garage.

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I made the birdhouse in the corner on the left and to the right is Lady Betty Balfour Clematis

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Azure Allium and
part of the fence line in the backyard.

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Coral Charm Peony


I enjoy all the wildlife that visit our yard.

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Around the other side of the house is a large slightly raised bed that gets sun quite a bit of the day.

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The other part of this garden is one of the only areas that gets shade. This is where most of my heuchera are located.

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Right around the corner is my only other shady spot in the yard. I've tucked a little raised bed in the corner of the house.


One of my favorite plants is clematis and I have close to 30 of them scattered through my gardens.

Ashva and Niobe

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Around another corner of the house is my main sempervivum collection. I have quite a few hypertufa containers with semps and sedums scattered about the yard in addition to the ones in front of the house.

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I like to add my polymer clay creations for decoration in containers and gardens too.


The first picture is the sempervivum bed before I expanded it two years ago. You can see the clumps of plants can get quite large. Despite their small size, their flowers are very pretty.

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 The bed after it was expanded.


I've made the majority of artwork in my gardens and I sell a lot of it too.

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If you look at about 12:00 on this sempervivum wreath, you'll see this beautiful tree frog.

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Living in the north, we also have beautiful winters that add another dimension to the gardens.

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Thank you for coming along on my garden tour. I hope you enjoyed it!


 How beautiful, Chris!  Your plants, the art you've created, the stunning photography; I really didn't want it to end. Thank you so much for being first in another season of Garden Tours. Your gardens are an inspiration to all of us.

And thanks to all of you for joining us in goldfinch4's lovely gardens. Come back again soon when Trish and I take you on another Garden Tour!

Comments and Discussion
Thread Title Last Reply Replies
Your garden by LilySue May 5, 2017 7:34 PM 0
Untitled by indygardengal Jun 9, 2014 12:34 PM 1
beautiful! by vic Jan 26, 2013 4:39 PM 39
Very Beautiful Gardens! by Marilyn Jul 13, 2012 4:56 AM 3
Untitled by dera Feb 28, 2012 12:40 PM 1
Fabulous Gardens! by sandnsea2 Feb 25, 2012 12:01 PM 4
wow o wow!!!! by Onewish1 Feb 25, 2012 7:54 AM 3
Very lovely, Chris by SongofJoy Feb 25, 2012 6:27 AM 3
Lovely! by plantladylin Feb 25, 2012 5:25 AM 2

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