Horticulture Night

July 27, 2017
5:00 pm to 9:00 pm

Horticulture Night

Horticulture Night offers a wide variety of demonstrations and presentations offered twice throughout the event. Typically held in the last Thursday of July, Horticulture Night gives visitors the opportunity to view annual flowers, plants, shrubs and trees under regional conditions as well as take in educational presentations.  It is estimated that nearly 1,600 people attend the free event. 

Presentations and Demonstrations

Pollinator Friendly Gardening | 5:00 & 7:00 pm  

How to attract and encourage native bees to the home landscape.  Learn to identify five species with Rhonda Fleming Hayes, Master Gardener, Author, and Columnist for the Star Tribune, Northern Gardener, and Southern Living.  Rhonda has gardened around the U.S. and England, but has called MN home for the last 10 years.  Rhonda maintains a garden blog, "The Garden Buzz".  Her book, "Pollinator Friendly Gardening" is available for purchase during Horticulture Night in the vendor area. 

New Trends for Smart Container Gardening | 5:00 & 7:00 pm

Heidi Heiland of Heidi's Lifestyle Gardens and Heidi's GrowHaus in Corcoran, MN, demonstrates her latest tips and tricks to create fun, flourishing and functional containers.  Learn how to design with succulents, perennials, specialty annuals, and edibles.  See how shade containers can be gorgeous and vigorous. Learn why natural materials used as the building blocks of a container yield a healthier outcome. Improve container impact with staging techniques. Get new care and feeding tips with organic materials to boost the beauty and lifecycle of your containers in all seasons.

Master Gardener Heidi Heiland is Chief Experience Officer of her two holistic and garden-centric businesses, Heidi’s Lifestyle Gardens, a landscape design/build and management company, and Heidi’s GrowHaus, her new expanded nursery and landscape materials retail center. Celebrating her 38th year in the business, Heidi focuses her energies on educating her customers and the community about the importance of the “people-plant” connection. She also creates and leads informative events about how to develop an environmentally friendly landscape for the benefits to our planet and our wellbeing. Heidi has served as President of the Minnesota Nursery and Landscape Association, and has continued her education in areas of sustainability, permaculture and horticultural therapy. 

Integrated Pest Management for Homeowners | 5:00 & 7:00 pm 

Session will discuss ways homeowners can reduce pest problems in their yards and gardens.  We'll cover the basics of integrated pest management strategies, including scouting, pest ID, cultural changes, and pesticide use.  Presented by Julie Weisenhorn, U of MN Extension Educator.

Growing Quality Tomatoes for the Home Garden | 5:00 & 7:00 pm

Tomatoes are the most popular vegetable grown in home gardens and widely revered in the summer kitchen.  In this session, attendees will learn about basic horticultural practices needed to grow high quality, good tasting tomatoes in the home garden in Minnesota. There are more cultivars than ever to choose from and selection can be intimidating. We will discuss cultivar selection for various culinary purposes and environmental conditions with the goal of maximizing yield and quality with minimal use of synthetic fertilizers and pesticides. We will also touch on nutrient management and pest and disease problems common in tomato production. 

Presented by Dr. Mary Rogers, an Assistant Professor at the University of Minnesota Department of Horticultural Science. Her research is focused on sustainable and organic horticultural food production systems. Mary’s research program broadly explores improving production of organic fruit and vegetable crops in field and controlled environment settings, including greenhouse and high tunnel systems. Mary teaches courses in urban agriculture, organic vegetable production, and ecology of managed landscapes. A former Extension Associate, Mary has experience developing programming and delivering hands-on training for beginning farmers. 

Knock-Out Annuals | 6:00 & 8:00 pm

Presentation will showcase the top annual flower performers in the Horticulture Display Garden's All-America Selections (AAS) Display Garden.  These annuals have been selected by AAS flower judges to be superior performers throughout our region.  AAS is a network of nearly 200 dedicated gardens throughout North America, of which the Horticulture Display Garden has participated with for over 25 years.  

Knock-Out Annuals presented by Steve Poppe, Horticulture Scientist, University of Minnesota, West Central Research and Outreach Center, Morris, MN.  Steve heads up the horticulture program at the WCROC, and provides scientific evaluations of annual and perennial flowers, strawberries, raspberries, high tunnel and low tunnel plant research, hardy shrub roses, and woody plant materials.  Steve is an Ornamental Seed and Ornamental Vegetative Judge for AAS.    

Trees and Shrubs for West Central Minnesota | 6:00 & 8:00 pm

A look at plant material sold as far back as 1928 compared to the varieties of today.  New introductions from the University of Minnesota, North Dakota State University, and Canada will be discussed.  Bring your tree and shrub questions!  Presented by Tim Swedberg, owner of Swedberg Nursery, Battle Lake, MN.  A fourth generation business started in 1915 by Tim's great uncle Jake Swedberg, Swedberg Nursery grows shade trees, shrubs, and perennials for the northern plains.  Tim considers himself a "plant geek" and enjoys discussing the latest plant varieties and trends.

Growing Strawberries & Raspberries in Minnesota | 6:00 & 8:00 pm

Presented by Jim Luby, professor in the Department of Horticulture Science at the University of Minnesota.  He has directed fruit crop breeding programs at the University since 1982 leading teams that have introduced new berry, apple, and grape varieties.  Tips for successful growing of berry crops in Minnesota will be covered including location, varieties, water and fertilization, and disease and pest issues.

Cold Hardy Grapes for Winemaking | 6:00 & 8:00 pm

Learn how the University of Minnesota grape breeding program is transforming the grape growing and winemaking industry in Minnesota.  Presented by Soon Li Teh, PhD student in Plant Breeding and Genetics, University of Minnesota.  His PhD research focuses on understanding the genetics and biochemistry of wine grape resistance to powdery mildew.

Tours and Other Activities

Hayride Farm Tour | 6:00 & 7:00 pm

Take a hayride tour to discover how cutting-edge agricultural, animal science and renewable energy advancements are developed at the WCROC.  Tours run 45 minutes in length.

Vote for your Favorite Annual Flower

Be sure to cast your vote for your favorite annual flower!  Horticulture Night attendees will have the opportunity to vote for their favorite annual flowers; winners will noted in the University of Minnesota WCROC Annual Flower Report, which goes out to thousands at the conclusion of the growing season.

Cow Milking Demonstration

See how it's done!  Watch the WCROC cows being milking and get a sneak peek inside our milk room.  Enjoy a sampling of Organic Valley chocolate milk.  

Other Activities

  • Vendor and educational booths
  • Food booths
  • Live music  

Horticulture Night is free and open to the public.

Print a copy of the Horticulture Night schedule (PDF).