Last week, I visited the Munsinger – Clemen’s Gardens, located in St. Cloud, Minnesota along the Mississippi River. I found myself giving thanks for the people who had the foresight to set aside public space so all of us could enjoy its beauty. The Munsinger gardens were developed during the Depression years of the 1930’s. It was an era when the government needed to get people working. The WPA employed out of work young people. There were projects across the country from city parks to National ones which benefited from their labor . The Works Progress jobs allowed young men to send money back home to help out their families. At the Munsinger gardens, brick was laid for fountains and flowering plants set in the soil.
Virginia & William Clemens had a home along the river, next to the Munsinger Gardens. She loved roses so much that Will filled their yard with them. Virginia suffered from MS. When she was no longer able to do the things she enjoyed, Will decided to purchase the vacant land across the street. There he planted even more roses so his wife could look out their window and enjoy them.
Eventually, the land was donated to the city of St. Cloud for rose and formal gardens. The gardens are beautiful. Beautiful too, is the Clemen’s love story behind the gardens.
“The flowers appear on the earth;
the time of singing has come,
and the voice of the turtledove
is heard in our land.
The fig tree puts forth its figs,
and the vines are in blossom;
they give forth fragrance.
Arise, my love, my fair one,
and come away. ” Song of Solomon 2:11-13