Outreach & Events: Fall 2017

Esther Jordan, Communications Specialist

Horticulture Night, July 27, 2017

Horticulture Night 2017Our annual Horticulture Night continues to draw large crowds of Master Gardeners, home owners, flower enthusiasts, and families for horticulture education.  We estimate that 1,500 visitors came to the Horticulture Display Garden for our 48th annual event, which was held on Thursday, July 28, 2017.  Demonstrations and presentations ran on the hour, allowing 45 minutes for each talk.  

The horticulture night planning committee put together an amazing educational event which included the following presentations and speakers: 

  • New Trends for Smart Container Gardening, Heidi Heiland, Master Gardener and Owner of Heidi’s Lifestyle Gardens and GrowHaus
  • Pollinator Friendly Gardening, Rhonda Fleming Hayes, Master Gardener and Author
  • Integrated Pest Management for Homeowners, Julie Weisenhorn, U of MN Extension
  • Cold Hardy Grapes for Winemaking, Soon Li Teh, U of MN
  • Trees and Shrubs for West Central Minnesota, Tim Swedberg, Swedberg Nursery
  • Growing Strawberries & Raspberries in Minnesota, Jim Luby, U of MN
  • Knock-Out Annuals, Steve Poppe, U of MN WCROC
  • Growing Quality Tomatoes for the Home Garden, Mary Rogers, U of MN

In addition to horticulture presentations, we also offered tours and other opportunities:

  • Hayrack farm tours of the WCROC
  • Cow milking demonstrations in the WCROC dairy parlor, with a sampling of Organic Valley dairy products
  • Golf cart tours of the Garden
  • Lou’s Greenhouse, Sandridge Gardens, Morning Sky Greenery, Miltona Greenhouse, and Jean’s Right Plant Place had wonderful plant selections available for purchase
  • Live music provided by the Tri-State Band
  • Stevens County 4-H Food Booth

We rely on the assistance of MANY individuals to make Horticulture Night happen; we wish to thank the staff, faculty and students at the WCROC, Steven’s County 4-H, Steven’s County Master Gardeners, UMM Police, UMM Facilities Management, Steven’s County Fair Board, Tri-State Band, Dacotah Bank, Organic Valley, and the many volunteers that gave of their time and energy.

Consumer Favorites 


Zinnia Benary's Giant Mix

Attendees at Horticulture Night were invited to cast their vote for their favorite annual flowers.  Participants were asked to select their top five favorite flowers from anywhere in the Garden (including hanging baskets, containers, and in the ground).  We had a great response!  We’ve tallied the results, and are happy to announce the Top Consumer Favorites in the Horticulture Display Garden:

  1. Dianthus Rockin Red
  2. Helianthus Suntastic Bicolor Pink
  3. Zinnia Benary's Giant Mix
  4. Snapdragon Rocket Mix
  5. Diahlia Dahlightful Tupelo Honey
  6. Argyranthemum Golden Butterfly

Donor & Volunteer Appreciation Event

Donors and volunteers that support the Horticulture Display Garden were invited to an appreciation event on Tuesday, August 29.  Guests were welcomed by Steve Poppe and Horticulture staff, and treated to a picnic-style catered meal, followed by keynote speaker, Suzette Nordstrom of Monrovia Nursery.  Suzette highlighted the up-and-coming trends she sees within the horticulture industry, and why it’s important to have public gardens, such at the WCROC Horticulture Display Garden, as a place where the public can “test drive” plants before putting into their own landscapes.

Our recognition program highlighted several individuals that contribute to the enhancement of the Horticulture Display Garden:

Evelyn Lindstrom

Evelyn LindstromEvelyn Lindstrom has been a Stevens County Master Gardener for 27 years, is a member of the Pomme de Terre Garden Club member, and serves as liaison to the Horticulture Advisory Education Committee.  She has been a key leader in the partnership between the horticulture program and the Master Gardeners.  

Evelyn is always willing to help wherever needed - transplanting greenhouse flowers, helping with clerical tasks, helping to plan for our educational events, coordinate Master Gardener assistance for our “Come Grow with Us” educational programs, and help us with our youth programs.

Jessica Forcella 

Jessica ForcellaJessica Forcella has been a member of the Stevens County Master Gardeners for 22 years, and is also a Pomme de Terre Garden Club member.  Jessica, along with our other two volunteer honorees, has been with our horticulture program long before we had a formal volunteer group.  She has assisted us by serving as a tour guide during our educational events, transplanting greenhouse flowers, being a speaker for our “Come Grow with Us” education programs, planting our Sensory Garden with area youth, and has pulled a weed or two in our garden.

Sue Gooch

Sue GoochSue Gooch has been a horticulture volunteer as well as a mentor to Steve for the past 30 years.  She has also been a Master Gardener for 31 years.  Sue has always had an interest in our program, and in particular, our horticulture education area.  Sue was the host of Public Pioneer Television program “Prairie Yard and Garden” for many years.  In her role as host, Sue met and interviewed numerous talented people with horticulture knowledge. Because of that connection, Sue would introduce those folks to our horticulture program, and many would agree to serve as an educational speaker at one of our events.  

Our sincere thanks to all of our volunteers for their dedicated volunteer service to our horticulture program.   

Esther SteuckEsther Steuck

Esther Steuck is a retired school teacher from Chokio, MN.  Others have told me what a wonderful person Esther is, and that she does a lot for others. Esther continues to give our horticulture program; her financial contributions have helped make the dreams and wishes for the Garden a reality.  

Monrovia Nursery

Monrovia Nursery has existed for over 90 years and is based in Azusa, CA.  Monrovia is a leader in trialing and promotion of new plants. You can find the perfect plant from over 4000 varieties of plants they offer to fit your outdoor space.  

Monrovia NurseryThe Annual Tropical Garden, located in the heart of the Horticulture Display Garden, is truly a beautiful addition to the Garden and would not be possible without the generous donation of plant materials each year from Monrovia, and coordinated through Suzette Nordstrom.   From banana trees, cum-quats, lantana, ferns, and figs; visitors to the Garden have long enjoyed a touch of the tropics.  The Tropical Garden add a whole new look and feel to our Garden, and coordinates well with our nearby water garden.  

Jody Olson

Jody OlsonJody Olson lives in Canby and has been a Master Gardener for 29 years.  She has been involved in the Master Gardener vegetable variety trial for 28 of those years.   Jody has served on our Horticulture Advisory Committee since about 2002.  Jody brings a unique perspective to the committee – she has an interest in gardening but brings wonderful ideas to the table for our marketing, fund development, organizational structure, and planning for the future.

In the past, Jody has supported the planting of ephemerals in the shade garden.  Ephemerals are perennial woodland wildflowers which develop stems, leaves and flowers in the early spring and then quickly bloom, wither away and leave only underground structures for the remainder of the year.  These flowers definitely complement our shady garden.

Besides serving on our horticulture advisory committee, Jody has contributed financial support to our garden for a long time.  These funds have been used to purchase items to beatify our garden, help us lease or purchase equipment and to contribute to salaries of our employees.

Our sincere thanks to all our donors for their service, generosity and continued commitment to the mission of the WCROC Horticulture Display Garden.

Bernie Angus

Bernie AngusBernie began his time at the Garden about 20 years ago as a volunteer.  He had excellent horticulture design skills, a strong work ethic, and loved working with students.  Soon after he began as a volunteer, we hired him as a part time Landscape Gardener.

It was about that same time – 20 years ago – that the Garden started to take on a new design.  Many of the features you see here today were just starting to take shape or were in the planning stages.  With the guidance of our horticulture advisory committee and other experts, Bernie started to make some awesome changes with plant materials, structures and hardscape features.  As we take a quick inventory, Bernie designed, coordinated, planted, built and installed over 35 new gardens or features.  Bernie had a hand in almost every plant project you see and a number of research projects beyond the Garden.

Bernie had been hinting at retirement for a few years, and we pretended not to hear him.  However, the time came this past February – Bernie announced his retirement, and we miss him dearly.  He was, and is, an invaluable part of our program.