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Meredith Holt, Published July 12 2013

Sculptures add interest, bring new visitors to Mayville garden

MAYVILLE, N.D. - Esther Bring likes to stop by the Rainbow Garden here when she’s in the area running errands.

The 83-year-old Galesburg woman enjoys eating lunch amid the flowers, trees and sculptures.

“It’s a place of beauty that’s inspiring to the mind as well as the eye,” she says.

An hour’s drive north of Fargo, the garden provides shade, seating, pathways and play space.

The volunteers who tend to the garden plan to keep it to the original seven plots to represent the seven colors in the rainbow.

But since it opened in 2005, they’ve been adding sculptures and poetry and “tweaking” it here and there.

“Gardeners are always changing their gardens. We hope we’re making it better,” volunteer Joann Ewen says.

Ray Bakke, of Portland, donated the newest sculpture, “Tree of Life,” in memory of his wife.

Ewen says the metal sculptures add a new dimension to the garden – and they’re bringing in new visitors.

“What we find is that men who used to sit in the car and read the paper while they gave their wives 10 minutes to walk through the garden now go look at the sculptures,” she says.

Ewen, who’s known as the “guardian angel” of the garden, weeds and tends to the garden a couple hours a day.

Board President Sandy Braaten says Ewen was extra busy this winter planning the garden’s recent summer festival.

“She just put her heart and soul into it,” she says.

The festival, held June 14-15, brought an estimated 1,200 people to the Rainbow Garden for a benefit dinner, live music, auctions, vendors and arts and crafts.

“It was fabulous,” Ewen says, adding that the volunteers lucked out with the weather.

Readers can reach Forum reporter Meredith Holt at (701) 241-5590