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Take a day trip to a regional garden this summer

The gardens at Dakota Sun Gardens Winery will allow you to relax and enjoy a wonderful day while tasting wine along the way. Merleen Gussiaas / Submitted photo

As we enter into the summer months, we find ourselves winding down on the planting of the gardens and flower beds and get into the routine of maintenance. You know, all the things we love to do like watering, weeding, dead-heading, mowing the lawn and pruning. Even though we can never seem to get others to assist us with these projects, they are not all that bad if we put them in the right perspective. Of course, a beautiful garden and yard more than pays for itself when it is time to sit back and relax.

Relaxation is all part of enjoying summer and everything about it. Summer is short and quick, so you need to take time out to relax and enjoy the season and everything it has to offer. Think about taking short trips around our region to local gardens, arboretums, parks and wineries. There are many amenities in very close proximity to us that you can take advantage of during the evenings or on the weekend.

One of those places that I visited last year is Dakota Sun Gardens Winery about 50 miles north of Jamestown and just outside of Carrington. This place has everything — wine — you need to relax for an afternoon adventure. Not only that, but they have incredible gardens on the grounds, places to relax in the country air and enjoyable places to sit — in or out of the sun, depending on your desire.

Sales distributions from the Dakota Sun Gardens Winery started in 2010 after the owners Bruce and Merleen Gussiaas decided it was time for a change in careers and their wine was ready for the public. After a few years of experimenting by making wine with local fruits, they finally perfected their craft on a few selections. With plenty of compliments along the way, they were off and running with numerous selections for sale.

They have an amazing selection of wines you can taste and buy on site or purchase in the local liquor stores. Some of my favorites are chocolate raspberry, black currant and plum. There is a flavor for any wine lover to enjoy from very sweet to a demi-dry selection.

For those who enjoy the sweet wines try the watermelon, honey mead, apple, elderberry honey, elderberry white currant and apple cherry. For those wanting a semi-sweet wine, there is sherry, raspberry, chokecherry, aronia, haskap, grape/black currant, rhubarb, sandcherry and red currant. Try the plum for a slightly drier selection.

All fruits are grown within our region and create some of the most amazing wine to enjoy. Most of the fruits used are partially grown right on site for people to tour and learn about each product. While you are there tasting some wine and learning more about the process, take a tour through the beautiful gardens that are throughout the main site.

Many people talk about basic gardens, but these gardens have color that addresses our attention between the periods of snow melting to the time the snow is about to fall again in the autumn season. So many different plant varieties exist within the beds that it will keep your focus for hours. Take the guided tour and learn all about the interesting stories that follow many of the plants. Not only are there great plants but incredible artwork.

The artwork is made from cut and molded reclaimed iron. The artwork creates railings along the outside patio, interesting water fountains and fun items that accentuate great views within the garden. Each of these items have their own interesting story also, so don’t forget to ask where the ideas come from as Bruce and Merleen Gussiaas would be more than happy to give you the details.

Great areas — such as the large patio outside the winery — are available to sit and relax. If the weather is hot or you want to be indoors, go into the tasting room where there is a cozy, country ambiance with comfortable seating and even a fireplace for those cool days during the spring and fall.

If you want to rent any of the settings for small or large gatherings, there is a place to fulfill your needs. An overflow room attached to the tasting room is available for large groups. If you are looking for a little lunch with your visit, let them know ahead of time and something will be created to make your visit extra special.

One of my favorite spots to relax is the silo lounge, as I like to call it. It is two round grain silos that have been connected together to a great effect open to a pond surrounded by more colorful gardens. If you are looking to get away from it all, this is the spot. Not only are the gardens relaxing, but the sound of the water will swoon you into a euphoric state.

I encourage you to try out the winery and gardens this summer and find out the secrets that I already know. You will not be disappointed that you took a day off to enjoy a little piece of what our region has to offer. Tours, tasting and a combination start at $5 and go to $15 depending on the choice. Call Merleen or Bruce Gussiaas at (701) 674-3623 to make a reservation this summer and to find directions.

Also, feel free to check out their               website at www.dakotasungardens. com.