The Lath House ~ The Most Unique Wedding Ceremony Location
Minnesota’s most unique ceremony site…decades in the making
Considered the heart of The Gardens of Castle Rock, the Lath House has a long and storied history decades in the making. In fact, the space’s uniqueness is incomparable to all other ceremony sites.
The nursery began in 1926, with one of the original nursery buildings located in the Lath House area. By the early 1950’s, a pole barn addition was constructed where the Lath House currently stands. But in early December 1981, at the height of the Christmas tree and wreath season, a massive fire broke out in the middle of the night. As you can probably imagine, a building filled with Christmas trees and wreaths didn’t take long to burn to the ground. It was a total loss. All that remained were some scorched poles on the former building’s north side. Look closely and you can still see some of the charred remains today.
Fast forward a couple of years…… As the retail nursery continued to grow, additional display space was needed, especially for the shade loving perennials…. think hostas, pulmonaria and lilies. Glenn’s father, Garry, quickly realized the spot where the pole barn once stood would be the perfect spot to build a shade loving perennial greenhouse.
To create the greenhouse, rows of round utility poles were set throughout the space and a 2x 4 grid pattern was constructed creating an open-air style roof. Rolls of lath boards were then laid across the roof structure creating the perfect partially shaded space for perennials to flourish.
Now you may be asking yourself….” What are lath boards exactly?” Lath is a narrow strip of straight-grained wood. Typically used under roof shingles or tiles, on lath and plaster walls and ceilings to hold plaster, and in lattice and trellis work. If you’ve lived in a turn of the century home and done any remodeling work, you’ve probably seen lath boards behind the plaster.
The Lath Greenhouse continued to be in use until 2006 when the business transitioned out of retail nursery sales to landscaping design and construction. To learn more about the history of The Gardens, CLICK HERE.
Over the next six years, the Lath Greenhouse was a bit neglected and forgotten as the space was not utilized for the landscaping design and construction business.
As interest in hosting wedding on the property increased, Glenn designed and built the Grand Promenade ceremony site to appeal to couples looking for a classic outdoor wedding ceremony site. To learn more about the Grand Promenade, CLICK HERE.
During the first three venue tours, Glenn would show potential couples the Grand Promenade ceremony site. Every single one pointed to the Lath Greenhouse and asked, “What’s that?” By the fourth tour, Glenn decided to add the Lath Greenhouse into the tour and ask couples if they would be interested in seeing the venue’s “rustic ceremony site”. With that the Lath House ceremony site was born!
As interest grew in the Lath House, so did the love and care Glenn provided to the space. Since the Lath greenhouse structure didn’t have lath boards all the way to the entrance, Glenn began an arduous quest to locate more lath boards. But not just any lath boards. These needed to rustic weathered pieces attached with wire…. basically, snow fencing that had seen some long dark winters. After being frustrated by weeks of unsuccessful searching, Glenn mentioned his dilemma to a friend who, wouldn’t you know, said, “I’ve got a bunch of old rolls you can have!” Problem solved!
As a fluke, Glenn decided to lighten up the Lath House by hanging some leftover Christmas lights from the nursery throughout the roof structure. Couples loved the lights so much that in 2018 the lights were replaced with over 1,100 feet of LED café lights.
Now what’s with all the beautiful grape vines covering the Lath House? We can only take partial credit for those. The other credit goes to Mother Nature! Wild grapes spread organically and have always been around the nursery. In fact, take a stroll around the grounds and you will very well see them! Since the 1980’s, there have been an abundance of native Minnesota wild grapes growing in the back of the Lath House or today what is considered the front of the space where the natural wood ceremony arch stands. Glenn added addition winter hardy table grapes (totally edible) around the entrance of the Lath House filling it out the lush inviting look.
The black landscaping fabric that covers the ground was the original flooring used when the space was the perennial shade garden and has served its purpose well. Glenn is currently working on a design to replace the fabric with landscape pavers to further enhance the beauty of the space. No timeline is set, but we are excited to see the finished product.
In 2012, the first wedding ceremony was held in the Lath House. The ceremony spot continues to be one of the most popular at The Gardens of Castle Rock. With the ability to accommodate up to 300 guests, the versatility of the space is second to none. While it gives off a rustic vibe, the choices of seating (black chairs, white chairs, or benches), décor, draping and floral can all change the feel making no two wedding the same……and isn’t that what being unique is all about?!
As The Gardens of Castle Rock looks to the future, we continue to look for ways to enhance the beauty of the Lath House while allowing its true essence to be sustained….one of uniqueness and beauty found nowhere else.