Horticulture Display Garden News: Fall 2020

2020 Top Ten Performing Annuals

Nearly 450 annual flower varieties were trialed during the 2020 growing season at the WCROC Horticulture Display Garden. The newest cultivars of annual flowers representing 18 plant breeding companies from around the world were planted over 4 acres of spectacular public display gardens. The best performing annual flowers earn the distinction of being a Top Ten winner. 2020 Top Ten Annuals

New Strawberry Growing Method

Day-neutral strawberry varieties have already greatly extended the strawberry production season in Minnesota that was traditionally from June into July to July through October. However, this extended season has also come with new challenges such as soil borne diseases and insect damage that typically occur later in the growing season. During the 2020 and 2021 growing seasons, we are exploring a tabletop growing system for day-neutral strawberries. Strawberry Growing System

Choosing Bell Pepper Varieties for Home Use

One experiment we had at WCROC this year was trialing four common bell pepper varieties against each other to determine which, if any, variety would have the best production for the home gardener. Bell Pepper Varieties

Reflections on the 2020 Growing Season

The year 2020 has certainly been a very unique year for all of us and here at WCROC it greatly changed how we operate and what research projects we were able to complete. When the pandemic began in March, we were forced to decide which projects to postpone and which we would be able to complete with our greatly reduced seasonal labor and no volunteer help. Reflections

Native Prairie Restoration Update

Progress continues on the 17-acre native prairie habitat below and south of the Pomme de Terre Overlook. Our main objective is to create a local ecosystem for beneficial pollinators and native species of plants as well as offer educational opportunities for visitors. With the planting of 50 Bur Oak trees and the footings in for the wayside rest areas, the site is finally beginning to take shape. Native Prairie Restoration

Salvia Garden: a Magnet for Pollinators

With the popularity of salvia's, we decided to showcase a number of interesting varieties in 2020. Our 30 plus annual salvia varieties represented every shape, size and color in the Larson Garden. Their intense flower color and pleasantly scented foliage really made this garden into something special. Hummingbirds, and butterflies love salvia’s tubular flowers and are adored by bees too. If you wish to attract pollinators, plant salvia’s in your garden. Most varieties tolerate dry soil and appreciate free-draining soil. Fortunately, salvia does not tend to attract deer, garden pests or rabbits. It is the distinctive, pungent order of their leaves that acts as a repellent to these garden pests. Annual varieties that were highlighted this year and grew exceptionally well: Rockin’ Series, Sallyfun Series, Hummingbird Series, and Victoria Blue. 

Meet our Horticulture Interns

Meet Sofia Sparby - Annual Flower Intern

My favorite part of the Gardens this year was the Salvia Garden, mainly for the crazy amount of pollinators it attracted throughout the summer. I also loved when the lilies bloomed in the Larson Garden since they looked beautiful and gave off an amazing scent.

Whenever I was out working in the Gardens, I’d see many people out with their families as a way to get some outdoor time while admiring the flowers. I also loved seeing people having picnics and just hanging out in one spot to really enjoy their surroundings.

My absolute favorite part of working here is how much time I get to spend outside (especially in a pandemic). I am so happy I got to experience the progression of the flowers from planting to garden clean-up, which happened recently due to our first hard frost.

I grew up in Morris, but my family is currently in Northfield, MN. I am pursuing a degree in Geography at the University of Manitoba, Canada. My goal is to finish school in the Spring of 2022 and seek a career that will further my environmental interests.

Meet Nicole Peterson - Strawberry Intern

My favorite part of the Garden was the new wall at the main entrance. My favorite flower, Bracteantha Granville Gold (a 2020 Top Ten Performing Annual) was planted in the wall.

I enjoyed seeing kids playing on the playground in the Children’s Garden and seeing all the people walking around to check out the flowers. People bring their dogs for walks and also ride bikes through the Garden.

What I enjoyed most about working in the Horticulture Display Garden was being outside and getting covered in dirt. It’s also a really accomplishing feeling planting in the spring and then one day everything is so lush and beautiful.

I’m from Milaca, MN. I came to Morris for college at the University of Minnesota Morris and graduated with a studio art degree. After working at the Garden in 2019, I realized my passion for plants and plan to pursue a masters degree in horticulture.

What's Happening with Garden Events?

Since March 2020, all of our educational events have either been canceled or moved to an online format. While we don't know what 2021 will look like, we are planning to hold our monthly Come Grow with Us classes online if possible. Please check our Events page for updated listings of future events.  

Prepare your Vegetable Garden for Winter

Fall is an important time to lay the seeds of success for next year’s garden. By taking some time to clean up your garden and tools and make a plan for nutrient management, you can save yourself time and energy next spring. Fall Prep

Fall Turf Grass Problems: Grubs Might be the Culprit

If you are noticing ugly, dead patches in your lawn, you might have an active population of white grubs. White grubs can cause serious damage to turf­grass. Their feeding injures plant roots, causing the turf to wilt and die. Grub Damage