River Glen Gardens
Starting as a dream and then a run-away hobby, this project was created by Ron Wienhold. With his
love of the out-of-doors, nature, and history; it is his way of teaching and sharing with others.
Purchased in 1954, it was typical woodland of the area. Since then parts were cleared of brush, trails
made, and the central part opened to the sun and sky. Then thousands of trees and plants were brought
in and planted in a natural arrangement. Gradually as the years passed, River Glen Gardens took shape.
It is an on-going project and it can only improve with each passing year.
To Jake Wienhold, Ron's father, goes the honor for the carpentry work in the restoration of the buildings.
Relatives and friends of Ron were also a big help.
Ron was the scoutmaster of the Long Prairie Boy-Scouts. The boys used this area for camping.
With their help, many of the trees, rocks, and work on the buildings have come about. Interest in
conservation and history ran high in the troop and they were happy to grow and learn at River Glen Gardens.
Many people have donated articles for the restored buildings Ron gives sincere thanks to those who have
"What for?" is a big question that can be answered only by the feelings of those who come to see,
to hear, and to experience the sights, sounds, and beauty of River Glen Gardens.
The boarding little villiage of Little Sauk, missed being the county seat of Todd County by only three votes. At one time,
it was a very important town of the area because of a flour mill located on Sauk River. This mill was powered by an
earth-filled dam within the confines of what is now River Glen Gardens. Flour from this mill, built in 1855 was sent to the Black Hills
during the gold-rush of the late 1800's. A saw-mill, directly below, supplied lumber delivered by ox carts to construct
the forts along the Missouri River in the Dakotas.
Today, River Glen Gardens contains one of the largest plant collections in the state of Minnesota planted throughout
the 75 acres. This unique plot of land features a fabulous variety of natural ecosystems. It is land that was once the meeting
place of two glaciers, brining in the red drift from Northeastern Minnesota and the gray drift from Canada and the Dakotas. It is
also the meeting place of the grass prairies and the deciduous forests and almost the southern boarder of the coniferous forest.
(Ron laughs that he can grow everything from water lilies to cactus!) River Glen remains as one of the most pristine habitats
along the Sauk River supporting fish, bird, and other animal life.
Although tours are not available through all seasons, there is a constant theatre of changes - each with its own fantastic display of
natural beauty. Winter spans from the first soft carpet of snow to the crisp, silent, stillness of
later months. While spring includes the awakening of a constant sequence of blooming wildflowers and budding trees. Summer is
characterized by an on-going progression of growth throughout the gardens and woods. And in Autumn, a dazzling display of color splashes
the landscape with reds, yellows, pinks, and browns which contrast the persistant greens of the pines and spruces. This cycle is then
repeated, but is never quite the same as each year also has its own unique setting.