Outreach & Events: Fall 2018

Esther Jordan, Communications Specialist

Horticulture Night, July 26, 2018

Our 48th annual Horticulture Night drew a record-breaking crowd this year, with 2,000 visitors in attendance. Guests traveled from across the state of Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota, and even far reaching as Illinois, Kansas, and Vermont. 

Despite the cooler temperature, large crowds of Master Gardeners, home owners, flower enthusiasts, and families came to the Horticulture Display Garden for horticulture education, farm tours, vendor booths, and live music. 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: 

  • What’s New with Ornamental Grasses with Mary Meyer, U of MN Department of Horticultural Science
  • Vegetable Container Gardening with Don Kinzler, Garden columnist with Forum News Service, Fargo, ND
  • Edible Landscaping with Emily Tepe, U of MN Department of Horticultural Science and Author of “The Edible Landscape”
  • Creating a Low Maintenance Yard with Eric Bergeson, author of “Successful Gardening on the Northern Prairie”
  • Creative Succulent Gardens with Kelly Kyllonen, owner of Kelly’s Cottage in Park Rapids, MN
  • Healthy Plants in a Changing Climate with Michelle Grabowski, U of MN Extension Educator
  • Fall Lawn Call with Stephanie Rutten-Ramos, Master Gardener
  • The Wonderful World of Hydrangeas with Roger Walvatne, Master Gardener
  • Annual Flower Tour with Alisha Asleson of BFG Supply Co.

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

  • Demonstrations of organic weed control using a grit weeder and biodegradable mulch
  • Hayrack farm tours of the WCROC
  • Cow milking demonstrations in the WCROC dairy parlor
  • Golf cart tours of the Garden
  • Sandridge Gardens, Morning Sky Greenery, Miltona Greenhouse, Good to Grow Trees, 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, Riverview Dairy, and the many volunteers that gave of their time and energy.

Consumer Favorite Annuals

Attendees at the Master Gardener Update on July 26 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! A big thank you to all who participated. We’ve tallied the results, and are happy to announce the Top Consumer Favorites in the Horticulture Display Garden:

1. Zinnia Swizzle™ Cherry & Ivory

Zinnia Swizzle Cherry and Ivory

2. Salvia Rockin’™ Fuchsia

Salvia Rockn Fucshia

 3. Penniestum Graceful Grasses Fireworks

Penniestum Graceful Grasses Fireworks

 4. Salvia Rockin’™ Deep Purple (a 2018 Top Ten winner)

Salvia Rockn Deep Purple

 5. Zinnia Magellan™ Orange (a 2017 Top Ten winner)

 Zinnia Magellan Orange

Donor & Volunteer Appreciation Event

Donors and volunteers that support the Horticulture Display Garden were invited to an appreciation event on Tuesday, August 28.  Guests were welcomed by Steve Poppe and Horticulture staff, and treated to a picnic-style catered meal, followed by keynote speaker, Annie Klodd with U of MN Extension.  Annie conducts high-tunnel research at the West Central Research and Outreach Center, growing peppers with the use of nutrient-dense cover crops. 

As part of the evening, we dedicated our new pond berm area, which was renovated during 2018.  Landscape Gardener, Rob Yost, shared how the area was gutted and re-designed using large boulders and plant materials generously provided by Bailey Nurseries and Bachmans.

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

Keith Davison

Keith DavisonBesides being a significant donor to our horticulture program, Keith has been a member of our horticulture advisory committee since it began in 2002.  Keith brings intelligent conversation to our meetings and is always thinking of the larger community and how it might help our program.  He is a gardener and his kids still help him dig all his potatoes in the fall.  He is also quite proud of the numerous varieties of trees he has planted on his city lot.  Keith is a U of MN graduate and all-around U of MN supporter.  He is totally and completely committed to the success of the WCROC.

 Mary Ann Scharf

Mary Ann ScharfMary Ann Scharf served on our horticulture advisory committee for many years prior to moving from Morris to St. Peter.  During her time on our committee Mary Ann brought a lot of energy to our committee.  She was a go-getter, creative and outside-the-box thinker.  She had a lot of connections with other individuals and groups which certainly strengthened our Garden efforts time and time again.  You could not help but feel energized with her presence at our meetings.  One project that really excited Mary Ann was the Garden expansion to the west, which included the creation of the Pomme de Terre Overlook.  She made financial contributions in support of the Overlook, which happened to be her favorite view of UMM, Morris and the green lush valley. Mary Ann shared that the Horticulture Advisory Board members included so many people she admired and it was her favorite volunteer role in retirement!