Rundberg finds peace within flowers

David Rundberg has been gardening for decades and his garden is where he finds the most peace. He has been taking care of the flower beds in his yard for almost 40 years and has made a lifelong hobby out of gardening.

David Rundberg in his garden.
David Rundberg is surrounded by the tall phlox and tiger lilies in his south Brainerd garden Tuesday, Aug. 9, 2022. he cares for his perennials with just three applications of fertilizer each year.
Steve Kohls / Brainerd Dispatch

BRAINERD — Finding a hobby that allows you to escape from the world is not an easy task, but 74-year-old David Rundberg found it in gardening.

Rundberg has been gardening for over 60 years, getting his start helping weed and water plants for his aunt. However, he truly embraced his green thumb when he moved into the house he still resides in with his wife.

Rundberg has lived in Brainerd his whole life and moved into his current home in the 1980s. Ever since, he has worked hard to maintain his flower garden and continues to find joy in tending to it.

“I just started when we came into this house in about 1984 and when I started there were some perennials here and there but I've just let them go,” Rundberg said. “They spread themselves all over the place.”

Rundberg has one giant area devoted to flowers in the yard, but there are also many flower beds scattered around that Rundberg planted. There are a wide variety of flowers and colors throughout the area including seven different colors of phlox.


Out of all the flowers in his yard, the phlox are Rundbergs favorite, especially the magenta variation of them.

In addition to all of the area occupied intentionally by flowers, there are also many surprise pop-ups growing where animals dropped seeds or where seeds were scattered due to wind. Violas and poppies are the most frequent to pop up in unusual areas.

There is also milkweed scattered throughout the beds for monarch caterpillars.

“I really like gardening,” Rundberg said. “It's very peaceful, serene. It's just so nice. It takes good care of me.”

Rundberg is a very diligent caretaker of his flowers. On days that he waters the plants, it takes hours. He starts the sprinkler for the main garden at 4 a.m. and lets it run for about an hour and 45 minutes. Then he moves the sprinkler into a different position until about 7 a.m.

After the sprinklers are finished, he gets up and waters the individual beds. That process takes him about two hours with the hose.

Rundberg also brings flowers to the Crow Wing County Fair for judging. He was pretty successful this year with some first, second and third place wins. Some flowers didn’t win anything, but Rundberg was unbothered by that. He still is proud of all the flowers in his garden.

David Rundberg in his garden.
David Rundberg studies the tall phlox and tiger lilies in his south Brainerd garden Tuesday, Aug. 9, 2022.
Steve Kohls / Brainerd Dispatch

The garden is in full bloom at the moment, but some flowers have begun to wilt. Rundberg will work hard deadheading the flowers that are past their prime in order for them to rebloom in the middle of September.


“I just start snipping them off and then they rebloom again in September,” Rundberg said. “They all come back. They're not as pretty, but they come back.”

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Since most of the flowers in Rundberg’s beds are perennials, they will continue to bloom each year without having to replant them. However, the garden continues to look different each year despite the same types of flowers returning summer after summer.

Even though the upkeep of the flowers is hard work, Rundberg finds peace and enjoyment in all of the time he spends in his garden. Gardening allows him to block the rest of the world out and just enjoy his afternoon outside.

“(Gardening allows me) to get away from the world,” said Rundberg. “Like right now and the cars going by, I don't even hear them.”

Rundberg has found a lifelong hobby in gardening and looks forward to continuing to care for his plants for as long as he can.

SARA GUYMON, Brainerd Dispatch, staff writer, may be reached at 218-855-5851 or

Sara Guymon is a Post Bulletin business reporter. Guymon grew up in New Ulm, Minnesota. She graduated from New Ulm Public High School and went on to attend college at the University of Minnesota Duluth. While at UMD, Guymon pursued a major in journalism and a double minor in photography and international studies. Prior to coming to the Post Bulletin, she worked as a staff writer for the Brainerd Dispatch. There she covered the City of Baxter and business.
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