Midwest Living Review
These huge city gardens -- each with distinct personalities -- rightfully reign as St. Cloud's top attraction with a riot of color, texture and serene settings that never fail to impress, even if you don't know a hosta from hollyhock.Munsinger Gardens were planted about 90 years ago alongside the Mississippi River and across the water from St. Cloud State University. Hosta-lined paths meander and curve past swaths of lush begonias and coleus; granite urns overflowing with sweet potato vines; a vintage log tourist cabin, wishing well and stream; and an historic ox-head fountain that's a nod to the area's location along ox-cart trade routes. Musicians perform free concerts on Sunday afternoons, when there are $1 root beer floats for sale.You can then stroll up hosta-lined paths to the hilltop Clemens Gardens. They're another world with full sunshine, geometric designs, warm brick walkways, a sprawling iron treillage, and several fountains that give it a distinctively European feel. The six themed gardens, which were planted in the 1990s, are planned by color (red, blue, yellow and orange), species (Virginia Clemens' Rose Garden) or inspiration (a White Garden that mimics one at Sissinghurst Castle in Kent, England). The centerpiece of Clemens Gardens is the Renaissance Fountain with Cranes, a 24-foot fountain designed from an old Victorian pattern. Best of all: Both gardens are free.