Swede Hollow Woodland Garden Design Underway

Community members guide the design for this new feature on the bluff.

Imagine walking through a shady garden full of native plants that offer something new to see in each season. The gentle paths follow the floorplan of the old Hamm family mansion that once stood proudly on the bluff in Swede Hollow Park looking over the Hamm’s Brewery and the valley. A few remaining elements of the great house recall the days when the Brewery supplied the utilities to the family homes on what is now Greenbrier Street. You sit and breathe in the scent of the breeze moving with the birds through this migratory fly way.

In addition to enriching the lives of park visitors, Swede Hollow is used for science projects, nature study and recreation by the teachers at Hope Community Academy and Metropolitan State University. 

The goals of the project are to:

  • Provide year-round visual interest
  • Support local wildlife
  • Reference the history of the locale, including the Hamm Mansion and the indigenous and immigrant communities that lived on the land
  • Highlight the remaining historical remnants of the Hamm Mansion foundation as garden features.
  • Create clear and welcoming entrance points to the garden, accessible paths, color and views

That vision is taking shape this winter under the guidance of the community Design Advisory Committee, which includes representatives from the Lower Phalen Creek Project, the Conservancy, Friends of Swede HollowMetropolitan State UniversityHope Community Academy, the St Paul Garden Club, the U of M Master Naturalist Program, the McNeely Foundation, and Urban Roots, as well as at-large community members.

Design documents are expected to be completed in late January with planting in Spring 2023.