March 13, 2023

Episode 48: Russ Henry

Giving Tree Gardens is a full-service organic gardening company in Minneapolis, Minnesota. I first learned about Russ Henry, owner of Giving Tree Gardens and Minnehaha Falls Landscaping, from this Star Tribune article highlighting his entire yard as a garden designed for urban food foraging.


Giving Tree Garden started with a few tools and a dream of creating enchanting organic urban gardens. Giving Tree Gardens is an eco-friendly garden landscaping services company. Their hardy gardens, perennials, trees, shrubs, and self-seeding annuals are the backbone of a sustainable garden. They use native plants to attract wild birds, butterflies, and animals. Today Giving Tree Gardens services residential and commercial clients throughout the Twin Cities metro area. Their Bee Lawn is a popular way to start your eco-conscious lawn care.

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As a bonus to this episode, I wanted to include the recipe for my June Berry Drink Syrup that I get from the Serviceberry trees in my Golden Valley yard and Ely. I make the syrup and use it on pancakes or in a June Berry Martini Cocktail or Mocktail.

June Berry Drink Syrup

Each Spring, I look for Serviceberry trees to make June Berry syrup.  Note: This syrup could be replicated with blackberries, blueberries, or raspberries. Adjust the sugar as needed based on the sweetness of the berries you pick


3 cups fresh June Berries from your local Serviceberry tree.  Washed, rinsed, and stems picked

1 cup water

1/3 cup granulated sugar

2 Tbsp lemon juice



In a medium heavy-duty saucepan, place berries with 1 cup water and 1/3 cup sugar.

Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, reduce the heat to medium-low, and simmer until the berries are very soft and juicy. About 5 minutes.

Set a fine sieve over a bowl. Pour the berry pulp into the sieve and allow the juice to drip through. Press the pulp with a rubber spatula to extract as much juice as possible.

Add 2 Tbsp lemon juice.

Transfer to a mason jar or cruet.


June Berry Martini Cocktail


1 .5 oz June Berry syrup

1 oz vodka

1 oz orange liqueur like Grand Marnier or Cointreau

Lemon twist peeled and squeezed into the drink to release the lemon oil



Fill a shaker with ice.

Add the syrup, vodka, and orange liquor and shake to combine.

Strain into a martini glass

Garnish with a twist of lemon


June Berry Mocktail


1 .5 oz June Berry syrup

3 oz lemonade

1 oz sparkling water

Lemon twist peeled and squeezed into the drink to release the lemon oil



Fill a shaker with ice.

Add the syrup and lemonade and shake to combine.

Strain into a rocks glass

Top with soda water

Garnish with a twist of lemon.

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