Lilac Project

Envision the main artery of Golden Valley—Hwy 55, or Olson Memorial Highway— as a lilac-lined thoroughfare.

Maintenance Days

  • Dates/location TBD

Golden Valley’s Lilac Project was developed by citizen volunteers through the City’s Envision Connection Project Bridge Builders in partnership with the City of Golden Valley and the Minnesota Department of Transportation’s Community Roadside Landscaping Partnership Program. The goal is to implement a vision of lilacs, shrubs, and flowers along Hwy 55 through Golden Valley.

MnDOT developed a landscape plan and paid for the plants. The City of Golden Valley secured the plants and prepared the ground for planting. Volunteers gathered on the designated planting day to plant. Although the focus is on lilacs, the planting palette also included trees and flowers for variety and interest throughout the year. For six years planting was done in the fall, with a day set aside each spring for weeding and garden maintenance. Work currently focuses on maintenance in the planted areas.

2014 Lilac Party

Past Lilac Parties

How can I be involved?

Volunteering to help with maintenance each year is an obvious need.

Lilac Project Committee

Over the years a core group of citizens worked with MnDOT to identify planting areas, organize the celebration, solicit and welcome volunteers, seek sponsors, work with adjacent landowners on the planning, and help assure the plants will thrive over time.

Thanks to Lilac Project Committee members Dwight Townes (Chair), Kathy Julius, Linda Loomis, Philip Lund, Margaret MacNeale, Sharon Soike, Susan Thompson, Blair Tremere, and Cathy Waldhauser for their help and dedication..

Adjacent Land Owners

If you own property along the highway you may be thrilled to see the beauty created by the Lilac Project in your own backyard. You can help in many ways, including identifying areas for planting, joining in the planting activities, watering the plants to help them thrive, and doing other maintenance such as fall mulching. Often staging areas are needed for volunteers on planting day, including parking, a registration area, and bathroom facilities.


Although MnDOT supplies the plants for the Lilac Project, which is the major expense, other items are needed to make it successful. These include cash donations to cover the cost of a tiller and refreshments as well as in-kind food donations for the celebration.

2014 Contributors – Cash and In-Kind

  • Byerly's
  • City of Golden Valley
  • General Mills
  • Golden Valley Garden Club
  • Gurstel Chargo
  • Starbuck's on Winnetka
  • WSB

Maintenance Volunteers & Adopt-A-Lilac Bed Program

A core group of volunteers is needed to help the plants thrive over time. Activities include weeding and surveying the plants in the spring and weeding and adding mulch to planting areas in the fall. This can be managed by working just a couple of weekends a year. Bring work gloves, weeding tools, rakes, shovels, etc.

Adopt-A-Lilac Bed

Groups or individuals can also adopt specific lilac beds and take responsibility for weeding them two or three times a year. Numerous locations along Hwy 55 are available.

Planting Volunteers

Each year many volunteers have come forward and enjoyed planting and celebrating. You can help by gathering neighbors, church members, co-workers, and members of a club or team to join you in planting.


Dwight Townes, Bridge Builder

2013 Team Leaders

  • Gary Cohen
  • Elizabeth Dehn
  • Jim Heidelberg
  • Kathy Julius
  • Philip Lund
  • Margaret Macneale
  • Janet McDaniel
  • Jennifer Shaltz
  • Susan Thompson
  • Cathy Waldhauser

2013 Welcome Center

  • Sharon Soike
  • Jan Olfe

2013 Celebration Coordinators

  • Linda Tremere
  • Paula Perkins

2013 Volunteers

  • Vern Berglund
  • John & Mary Cushen
  • Nathan Dalland
  • Paul Dalland
  • Maisie Dodge
  • Sarah Dodge
  • Jim Fornell
  • Madeline Karlen
  • Mary Larkin
  • Peggy Leppik
  • Shannon Lund
  • Chris Miller
  • John Miller
  • Carol Nemanich
  • Peggy Newstrom
  • James Peters
  • Gillian Rosenquist
  • The Wade Family (Stephanie, Andrew, Xavier, Isabella)
  • Mark Williamson

2013 Volunteer Groups

  • Golden Valley Friends and Neighbors
  • Hennepin County Master Gardeners
  • Hennepin County Tree Care Advisors
  • Golden Valley Bridge Builders
  • Daffodil Society of America

"Lovely Lilacs" photo by Amy Andress

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