Click on a topic for description and speaker bio:

Art of the Kitchen Garden - JoAnn Weaver

Climate Change & Phenology * - Rebecca A. Montgomery

Flower Arranging * - Reba Berge

Flowers for Pollinators * - Bonnie Stromberg & Mara Silins

Home Is Where the Habitat Is: Native Plant Gardening * - Hannah Texler

Growing Strawberries, Blueberries and Raspberries * - Bill Cook

Low Care, No Care Vegetables * - Robin Trott

Really Cool Plants for Northern Gardens- Don Engebretsen

Rock Gardens: Bring the Mountains Home- Karen Schellinger

Selecting and Caring For Hardy Shrub Roses - Debra Keiser

Soil: A Gardener's Perspective - JoAnn Weaver


* Requested by last year's attendees


Art of the Kitchen Garden

A beautiful garden feeds the soul and the stomach. Growing food that goes from garden to table can provide great satisfaction and save you money as well. Learn how to plan, plant, and maintain a kitchen garden that includes an attractive combination of vegetables, fruits, herbs, and flowers.

JoAnn Weaver

JoAnn Weaver, a graduate of the University of Nebraska, has a degree in education and is a retired registered nurse. She has been a UMN Extension Master Gardener in Crow Wing County since 2006. She has served several terms as an elected official for a local municipality, is active on numerous boards and committees, and participates in a number of community organizations. She's spent a lifetime learning how to grow, cook, and preserve vegetables, fruits, herbs, and flowers from the family kitchen garden. In addition, she is a hobby beekeeper and keeps a small flock of chickens.

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Climate Change & Phenology

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change stated that "phenology is perhaps the simplest process by which to track changes in the ecology of species in response to climate change." My talk will showcase various projects that aim to understand climate change impacts on plants and animals in Minnesota, inform management of invasive species and connect people with nature. These include: historical phenology records of leafing/bloom times/bird migration, a new statewide network of citizen phenology observers to monitor seasonal changes across major ecoregions, ideas to improve street sweeping and ArtScience collaborations.

Rebecca A. Montgomery

Dr. Montgomery is Associate Professor of Forest Ecology in the Department of Forest Resources in the College of Food, Agricultural and Natural Resource Sciences at the University of Minnesota. Her research interests include forest ecology, plant functional ecology and global change. She has worked in tropical, temperate, and boreal ecosystems. Current research is focused in two major areas (1) response of temperate and boreal forests to global change (2) patterns of regional phenological change (e.g. timing of budburst, bird migration, insect emergence, animal activity) and causes and consequences of those changes. Her research informs climate change adaptation planning in the Lakes States.

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Flower Arranging

Three different floral arrangements will be created by the speaker as she explains flower arranging techniques. At the end of the session, three names will be drawn from those preregistered for the class and those three lucky attendees will take the arrangements home with them.

Reba Berge

A graduate of North Dakota State University, Reba is owner and designer at "A Precious Petals Florist" in West St. Paul. Her passion for the floral industry inspired her to continue her education in flower arranging at The Institute of Floristry. She has taught design classes for community education and demonstrated the principles of flower arranging at numerous events. Designing for weddings is her favorite professional activity.

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Flowers for Pollinators: Growing Healthy Landscapes for Bees and Other Pollinators

This presentation covers creating healthy pollinator habitats in your community, the science of pollination and discovering what types of flowers bring pollinators to the garden. Learn how to identify the pollinators you will see in the neighborhood and develop an understanding of the threat they face. Become empowered and inspired to create pollinator-friendly habitats in your community.

Bonnie Stromberg

Bonnie Stromberg is a U of M Master Gardener who has been enjoying gardening since she was a child. Her grandma was a big influence with her gardening and landscaping efforts. Bonnie has been a Master Gardener since 2011. Her Master Gardener booth is a favorite stop at the Monticello Farmers' Market each month during the summer. She can also be found answering gardening questions at the Wright County Fair Master Gardener table every July.

Mara Silins

Mara Silins joined the U of M Master Gardener program in 2016. Although new to the program, she has been gardening for many years. Her interest in gardening was fostered by both parents, who were avid gardeners. She looks forward to sharing gardening information at the Buffalo Farmers Market and the Wright County Fair booth.

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Home Is Where the Habitat Is: Native Plant Gardening

In this presentation, Hannah shares pictures and stories of her experiences with converting turf grass lawns to native plant gardens. She will talk about how she has installed rain gardens, boulevard gardens, a backyard prairie garden, and native trees and shrubs to her urban yard and to various community gardens. She will also provide resources and some basic ecological principles that inform landscaping and gardening.

Hannah Texler

Hannah Texler has worked as a plant ecologist for the Minnesota DNR for 32 years, and currently serves as the Plant Survey Supervisor for the Minnesota Biological Survey. She has been gardening her whole life, and for the past 20 years has found joy (and occasional heartbreak) in creating and maintaining native plant gardens in her St. Paul yard and in community gardens.

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Growing Strawberries, Blueberries and Raspberries

Small fruits are arguably the easiest way to start an edible garden, as they are perennial and can easily fit into most home landscapes. In this class we cover the basics of getting started with three common fruits, along with necessary care and maintenance.

Bill Cook

Bill Cook is a Professor of Biological Sciences at St. Cloud State University. He has tried his luck gardening in New Hampshire, Kansas, Arizona and Minnesota, and now works with the Stearns County Master Gardeners. He currently has particular interests in cacti and succulents, wild food-bearing plants and little-known perennial vegetables.

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Low Care, No Care Vegetables

Do you like fresh garden vegetables, but don't have the time or space for a large garden. Come learn some handy tips for selecting delicious, easy-to-grow vegetables: carrots, tomatoes, cucumbers, leafy green vegetables and more. Become familiar with the fundamentals of square foot gardening to reduce time spent on basic garden maintenance.

Robin Trott

Robin Trott is an experienced environmental educator, market gardener and flower farmer, and has worked in various positions in the floriculture/education industry for over 15 years. She is currently the Consumer Horticulture Educator for Douglas County Extension, answering questions ranging from insects and disease to landscape design. Robin has a passion for all aspects of horticulture, and especially loves the challenging questions that lead to research and revelation.

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Really Cool Plants for Northern Gardens

Sometimes stalwart northern Zone 3-4 gardeners can't help but feel a twinge of remorse for having to pursue their passion in the colder regions of the United States. Take heart-the North is not the Forbidden Zone! The US and Canadian nursery industries are constantly introducing great new, hardy plants that give northern gardeners all we need to create gardens and landscapes as gracious and beautiful as gardens in any part of the country.

The presentation will explore new perennials, shrubs, and trees with which Northern gardeners may not be aware, in addition to the inclusion of some standard, tried-and-true selections that should not be overlooked.

Don Engebretsen

Don, aka The Renegade Gardener, is a University of Minnesota Master Gardener, an award-winning garden writer, the author of five books on gardening and a well known landscape designer.

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Rock Gardens: Bring the Mountains Home

An introduction to my love of rock gardens, their plants and information on creating them. This talk will cover directions for proper soil and site preparation and starting from seed outdoors in January. A list of plant species I've grown with a list of plant societies and local and mail order nurseries will be provided.

Karen Schellinger

Thirty + years of plant addiction resulted in a wish to grow plants from the mountains of North America and Europe. I belong to the North American Rock Garden Society and its Minnesota chapter as well as other plant societies, making use of their bulletin information and seed exchanges.

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Selecting and Caring For Hardy Shrub Roses

Participants in this session will learn how to select the correct size hardy shrub rose for their yard. They will learn about many shrub rose varieties that Deb has grown at home or at Clemens Gardens, and has found to be reliably winter hardy to zone 3b/4a. Participants will learn how to plant and care for hardy shrub roses from early summer until late fall winter preparation.

Debra Keiser

Debra Keiser has been a Rose Specialist at Munsinger & Clemens Gardens for 14 years. She is an American Rose Society Consulting Rosarian, and a Stearns County Extension Master Gardener. Deb has 32 years of experience growing roses personally and professionally. She is a member of all four rose societies in Minnesota, and a member of the St Cloud Flower and Garden Club.

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Soil: A Gardener's Perspective

Understanding your soil is the first step to creating a productive garden. This presentation will help you to understand the key components of different soil types and the challenges that each type present. Information will be provided on improving your soil quality by means of soil conditioning, incorporating compost, and fertilizing for the best result.

JoAnn Weaver

JoAnn Weaver, a graduate of the University of Nebraska, has a degree in education and is a retired registered nurse. She has been a UMN Extension Master Gardener in Crow Wing County since 2006. She has served several terms as an elected official for a local municipality, is active on numerous boards and committees, and participates in a number of community organizations. She's spent a lifetime learning how to grow, cook, and preserve vegetables, fruits, herbs, and flowers from the family kitchen garden. In addition, she is a hobby beekeeper and keeps a small flock of chickens.

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