BEST PUBLIC GARDENER Minneapolis 1999 -
When she's not counseling inmates at Lino Lakes state prison or working as a volunteer lobbyist for the Association for Nonsmokers-Minnesota or working to rid the landscape of billboards promoting free transport with the Yellow Bike Coalition (deep breath), this 54-year-old St. Paulite practices guerrilla gardening: beautifying public land throughout the Twin Cities, without asking permission. In 1998 Minnesota Monthly named Weigum Minnesotan of the Year for her commitment to the fight against tobacco. We're just thankful for her green thumb and her willingness to dig deep for a little landscaping. Take I-94E to the Snelling Avenue exit in St. Paul, drive up the ramp to the intersection, and check out that flower bed on the southwest corner. That's Weigum's work, a little life peeking above an otherwise lifeless desert of concrete. Or amble by that circular bed of perennials two blocks over, on Summit Avenue, or those arches near the University of St. Thomas, or any one of Weigum's three beds on Mississippi River Boulevard. You'll get the idea. "I do it on my own," she says, smiling her infectious smile. "And you'll see that I'm pathologically opposed to rows. I want the garden to be harmonious, but not predictable."