Posted on Dec 18, 2017
Rock Garden Tour Radio show has been on the air in one format or another since the spring of 2000.
While other shows tell stories that seem too good to be true, Rock Garden Tour shares the kinds of stories that are too bad to be false. It is considered by some to be the most interesting show of its kind in South Dakota. It almost certainly features the most original songs about Murdo.
Christmas Program Highlights for December 18, 2017
Rock Garden Tour offers a safe space for the discussion of important topics, like weed board politics and tavern recipes. It’s a respectful forum for debating controversial issues, like urban chicken housing in rural South Dakota. It’s a celebration of the avant-gardeners: those that work the land, those that play free-range rock and roll, and those that live in South Dakota (more or less).
Writer and producer of the show, Ted Heeren, known as Flowerman, grew up on his family’s farm just outside of Beresford, South Dakota at a place the locals know as Norway Center. After completing his studies in Broadcast Journalism and Horticulture at the land grant university, Ted applied the strong work ethic and planting tips he learned on the farm to starting an advertising agency, Fresh Produce, and a late night public radio show.
Sound Effects Coordinator and Downtown Rotarian, Tom Hurlbert, otherwise known as Oil Can, grew up in the Hub City of Aberdeen, South Dakota, where he was raised to appreciate the importance of strong communities and the song catalog of George Jones. He is the co-founder and a principal architect at CO-OP, an architecture firm with offices in the Queen City and the Hub City.
Jim Groth, original member of the Rock Garden Tour Family Band, has been a professional musician since the 1960s. So far, he is the only member of the Rock Garden Tour Family Band to be inducted into the South Dakota Rock & Roll Hall of Fame for his work in Wonderband, The Pilgrims, and The Starfires. There was also that set he played with Strawberry Alarm Clock back in the 60’s. Jim is Ted’s father-in-law.
Piano player, Christopher Vondracek teaches college English in Minnesota and is trying to publish a book sorta about Lawrence Welk. Christopher is Ted’s cousin, and Leo’s brother.
Bass player, Leo Vondracek is working at a sandwich shop in Minneapolis and pursuing a music career. Leo is Ted’s cousin, and Christopher’s brother.
Tour Manager, Merch Tent Superviser, Booking Director, and former intern, Jackelyn Lozano has the most job titles on the crew. She even has a business card.
Tommy McGill, News from Pierre, first called the show five years ago with breaking news about a large power outage caused by bull snakes in Pierre, SD. He’s been on the show ever since. News is Ted, Christopher, and Leo’s Uncle.
Today, Rock Garden Tour shared a number of original South Dakota inspired songs and discussed the idyllic nature of Terry Redlin paintings and how they don’t seem to match up with Flowerman’s memories of rural living in South Dakota.
They also asked if it’s intentional or just by coincidence that the meeting of Downtown Rotary takes place in a room that actually rotated at one time.
They wrapped up the Christmas show by singing a hilarious version of “I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus” (Don’t eat that mistletoe!) suggesting that it be added to the Rotary song book.
Their fourth television special, Bad River Road Show, can be seen on SD Public Broadcasting:
Program for January 8, 2018

Attorney General Marty Jackley