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September 2009 Archives

Boy_Scouts_of_AmericaCalling all former Scouts! Master Gardener volunteers are needed at the MN Landscape Arboretum on Saturday, November 7, 2009, to assist the Boy Scouts of America toward earning the Plant Science and Gardening merit badges. If you are a former scout, or have an interest in teaching local boys scouts from the western metro suburbs, this would be an especially great volunteer opportunity for you. Eight volunteer spaces are available, to work in four teams of two people and with Arboretum volunteers. Teams one and two will volunteer from 9:00-11:00 AM, and teams three and four will volunteer from 1:00-4:15 PM. Registration is now open on the Master Gardener website . There will be a small amount of preparation to be done before the event including meeting with Extension and Arboretum staff. Click Boy Scouts of America to review the teaching plan and schedule.

MSHS Classes

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The Minnesota State Horticulutural Society class schedules for November and December 2009 are no longer online.

Twin Cities Get Growing Power - STrib article

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Check out Will Allen's program GROWING POWER and its work in the Twin Cities area! Allen, a former pro-basketball player and Milwaukee resident, is a recent recipient of a MacArthur Genius Award and believes Growing Power is a way to organize people and activate communities. Read more ...

Tasting Apples is Like Tasting Wine

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Watch this video clip from the Star Tribune website, Tasting Apples is Like Tasting Wine. (Makes me want a Honeycrisp right now!)

New Book by Jeff Hahn

Hahn coverInsects of the North Woods by Jeff Hahn, UMN Entomologist A Review By Jeff Gillman, Associate Professor Dept. of Horticultural Science, University of Minnesota Different people collect different things. Some like baseball cards, some like shoes, and some like coins. I like books about insects. No, really, I do. Just glancing up from my desk I can count something like 5 field guides, 10 general entomology texts, and a slew of others that fit into categories like insect control, insect taxonomy and insect physiology (I have a lot more at home). If you were to spend some time with these books you would discover rather quickly that, all in all, entomologists are boring writers. No zip, little spark. And that, in a nutshell, is why I like Jeff Hahn's new book Insects of the North Woods so much. Just looking at the cover of Insects of the North Woods you might be convinced that this is just a typical Insect field guide. It's got some pretty pictures and, on the back, the obligatory author photo. But when you open the pages of this book you quickly discover that it is not only as informative as you would expect from a University of Minnesota Entomologist, it's also entertaining. This book literally drips with Hahn's personality and sense of humor. Between talking about receiving a gift of a dead insect being every woman's dream when referring to scorpion fly mating rituals, and the mini scuba tanks that predaceous diving beetles use, you soon come to realize that this isn't just an entomologist reciting dry facts. Instead, this is an author who loves his subjects and who wants the reader to love them too. Like most people, I don't read field guides cover to cover, but with this book I have often found myself going through the book page by page because I don't want to miss one of Hahn's insightful comments (or one of his amusing analogies). Besides the writing, this field guide has everything else that you'd expect a field guide to have including great pictures (mostly by the author), a nice index system for finding the insect you're looking for, and a good, but not overly-done introduction. Though this guide concentrates on insects of the North Woods and so is, at least in theory, intended for use in northern Wisconsin, Michigan, and Minnesota, it is also the best book available for identifying insects in forests around the Twin Cities area and is a great first field guide for any budding entomologist. If you enjoy insects, or if you're just interested in knowing what some of the insects that flit about your trees are, then you shouldn't miss this book.
The Minnesota Landscape Arboretum is pleased to present “Youth Voices,” an opportunity for youth from around the nation present their stories, in their own words, and describe the impact garden-based youth programming has had on their lives. The stellar lineup of presenters includes teams of youth from Chicago, Cleveland, New York and the Twin Cities. “Youth Voices” is grounded in garden-based programming, but many of the topics addressed by the youth will have wider-ranging implications for anyone interested in youth programming, children in nature, education and enrichment activities for children and youth. “Youth Voices” will be an opportunity for adults to better understand the viewpoints of those who are often served by youth programming, but rarely have a voice in that program design and management. Thanks to Best Buy, we are able to offer a Student & Teacher/Practitioner Rate of $30 per day. Plus a $15 Saturday only rate if you bring your own lunch. These discounted prices are only available by phone, so please call 952-443-1422 to get registered. Scholarships are also available, please call for details. For more information please check our website. Or click  flyer to link directly to the flyer with full conference agenda:

MG Weekly Update Sept 21 2009

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From the SULIS Website: A Quick, Handy Lawn Care Calendar Talk about personification! The SweeTango apple has joined the crowd of social networkers and is currently looking for friends. Click HERE for a tongue-in-cheek video about this new addition from Apple Breeding Program.  Reminder: Apple tastings at the Arb on weekends through October 11. Acer saccharum form1 120The Beltrami County Master Gardeners invite Northern Minnesota Master Gardeners and Extension Educators to a Fall Fiesta of Learning, Laughter & Appreciation on Saturday, October 10, 2009 at the First Lutheran Church, 9th Street & Bemidji Avenue, Bemidji, MN. Time: 8:30 a.m. - 3 p.m. Click HERE for an agenda, registration and details! Aster Yellows - Argh! Extension educators, Michelle Grabowski and Jeff Hahn, recently responded to an email received in Olmsted County from a gardener frustrated with the prolific nature of aster yellows and the opinion that the nursery industry wasn't doing enough to help control the problem.  Here is their response (Note: be sure to click on the live links to learn more). Thank you for your email about aster yellows. There are a few things that you should know about this pathogen. It is carried by leaf hoppers. These leaf hoppers overwinter in states south of Minnesota and the amount of AY we see each year varies greatly depending on wind patterns (that the leaf hoppers move on), the amount of infected plants in southern states, how hard the winter was south of us and many other factors. AY infects a wide variety of plants including garden annuals, perennials, vegetables, and weeds. Lack of weed control in parks is highly unlikely to increase AY in your garden because a leaf hopper only needs to feed on one infected plant and it can then transmit the disease for the rest of its adult life. Therefore any small amount of infected plants (even those in states south of MN) can be the original source of infection.  Because of the unpredictability of knowing when (or even if) these leafhoppers will appear and where, it is usually impractical to spray for these insects.  Sanitation is typically the best control once plants are found to be infected. As for infected plants in MN nurseries, the MN dept of Agriculture has nursery inspectors that visit all nurseries in the state. They take complaints of infected plants very seriously and since they may have visited a nursery when the plants were young and not yet showing symptoms they welcome reports from consumers later in the season.  The nursery inspectors are highly professional and take their job seriously. If you wish to file a complaint, contact Steve Shimek at the MDA his info is Tel: 651-201-6619

MG Weekly Update Sept. 14 2009

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P1050606From the Star Tribune: Noerenberg Gardens - A Garden for All Seasons Watch this nice video interview of Arla Carmichael, curator of Noerenberg Gardens, by STrib Home+Garden editor, Connie Nelson. Click here to reach the website and then click on "A Garden For All Seasons" in the video clip listing on this page. P1020551 Master Gardeners receive FREE admission to the Arboretum - ANYTIME! From Mary Meyer, Interim Director and Professor: Effective September 1, 2009, we are pleased to offer University of Minnesota Extension Master Gardeners FREE, complimentary admission to the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum. You need only to show your badge at the Gatehouse as you enter. Others in the car with you will be required to pay admission as usual unless they are Arboretum members and show their membership card. There is no expiration date on this offer. We hope you as Master Gardeners will enjoy the Arboretum and visit it often. We appreciate the work you do here and around the state in answering horticulture questions and working for the University of Minnesota Extension.  We welcome you to enjoy and learn at the Arboretum. RSS Feed Now available for this site. See the box called "Over the Backyard Fence" at the bottom of this page.  In it are feeds for Posts and for Comments. Bookmark or copy / paste the URL into your homepage. You can see the URL by right-clicking on the feed. Then copy it and paste it into you homepage like IGoogle. You'll get a notification when I have posted to the blog or when someone has made a comment. REMINDER: Yard & Garden News Whether prepping for your next MG volunteer activity or just looking for answers to your own questions, remember to read the latest (and earlier issues of) the Yard & Garden News. This online, free publication is written by our own Consumer Horticulture Extension Educators and contains current information on plants, pests, diseases, and research at the U of MN.  A valuable resource - anytime of the year! Youth Voices Conference Price Drops Thanks to! Due to a last minute financial sponsorship, the price has dropped significantly, and we have added youth gardening teams from around the country to present at the October 3rd Youth Voices Conference here at the Arboretum. The stellar lineup of youth presenters includes teams from Chicago, Cleveland, New York and the Twin Cities.  Thanks to Best Buy, we are able to offer a Student & Teacher/Practitioner Rate of $30 per day. Plus a $15 Saturday only rate if you bring your own lunch. These discounted prices are only available by phone, so please call 952-443-1422 to get registered.  For more information please check our website and don’t miss the link for our new flyer! New Website from Missouri: A Garden for Every Body is a website on garden design for people with physical limitations. Arboretum Yard & Garden Desk and Phone Line: Still Sign Ups Available! Need to get a few more hours in before the end of the year? We can always use help answering the public's questions at the Arboretum Yard & Garden Desk or by taking calls off the Arboretum Phone Line. Click here to sign up for a time slot - or two! Thanks for volunteering! Two MSHS Sessions Added due to Popular Demand: Emerald Ash Borer—What You Need to Know Tuesday, October 22, 6:30 to 8 p.m. Tuesday October 29, 6:30 to 8 p.m. Cost: Free, but registration is required. Please call 651-643-3601/800-676-6747 to hold your spot. Location: Minnesota State Horticultural Society classroom, 1755 Prior Avenue North, Falcon Heights, MN  55113.

2009 H1N1 Influenza Basics

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(Last updated September 3, 2009) 2009 H1N1 Influenza is causing illness in infected people around the world. It is highly likely to impact faculty, staff and students and the University of Minnesota. Below is some basic information to help you stay informed and stay healthy. To find out about prevention, symptoms, and what to do if you become ill, click here: University's Emergency Preparedness.

MG Weekly Update Sept. 10 2009

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here.Thank you for all your volunteering and efforts to bring horticulture to Minnesotans. A special thank you to those of you who contact me with ideas, proposals, and suggestions for just about everything under the sun.  I try to respond to every one of your phone calls and emails, but sometimes I miss a few.  You can be assured that I read them all! MG Intern Susane Moua on Extension Urban Ag Tour SusaneI had the good fortune to attend the MISA Urban Agriculture Tour on September 1 as part of Extension programs.  One of the stops was Master Gardener (Ramsey Cty) intern, Susane Moua's community supported agriculture farm in the West end / West 7th Street area of St. Paul. The farm was concealed behind recycled fencing draped with a variety of vining vegetables and flowers. Once inside, I - like many of our colleagues - was totally amazed at the raised beds that stretched across the large space. The space is owned by a couple who were delighted to have Susane take over their once empty yard and create an incredibly productive farm in the middle of urban St. Paul.  Thank you, Susane for sharing!  Autumn: Time for Planning Maybe it's because the students are all on campus now, but Fall has always been a time when I turn my attention from the outdoors and look to planning for the upcoming year. Planning for the Master Gardener Core Course is written all over my calendar!  We met with the online Registration folks yesterday - online registration will be active in late Sept. / early October.  Click here for the class schedules for St. Paul, Pine City, Mankato and online. If you have filled your intern slots, please encourage people to take the class as ProHort students.  The MNLA (MN Nursery and Landscape Association) just approved the core course for 3 MNLA-CP recertification points, so I hope to have more industry folks taking the class along with our interns. Educational sessions like the core course are important to the state program as a revenue stream for the Master Gardener Program. Dave Moen and I are paid by Extension, but the rest is up to us. Revenue from core course, along with giving to the program from individuals and sponsors, product sales, educational sessions, conferences and events, etc.  pay for our state program's administrative position (Bridget) and to cover operating expenses. I feel strongly about generating this revenue via participation by public and the industry, not volunteers, so it's likely you'll see promotion directed at the public and industry. PumpkinOctober is Conference Month Three hundred twenty (320) of you attended the Master Gardener State Conference in August. I will be spending much of October with my counterparts and colleagues at the U of MN Annual Extension Conference, Oct. 5-7, here in St. Paul, and at the national Extension Conference in St. Louis, MO, Oct. 20-23.  I am also attending the Youth Voices Conference at the UMN Landscape Arboretum Oct. 2-3.  The unique and intriguing feature about this conference is that youth from all over the nation will be making the presentations and telling us, as educators, what they learned and like about horticulture education. Should most interesting indeed! Master Gardeners are welcome to attend at the Arboretum member rate - hope to see you there! PatrickWeicherdingMemorial: Patrick Weicherding I attended Patrick Weicherding's memorial on Tuesday as many of us did from Extension.  It was nice to see Dean Durgan there as well as Master Gardeners and a commissioner from Anoka County. What a legacy Patrick leaves behind - teaching, writing, speaking, sharing his knowledge! I did not have the opportunity to work with Pat directly, but like many of you, I sure knew his work in urban forestry and refer to it often. Much of his writing can be found in the lists of Gardening Information publications. Bob Mugaas, Gary Johnson, Darren Lochner and Skip Rither offered some really nice remembrances at the memorial, talking about Patrick as a colleague, a teacher, a U of MN alumni president, a friend and a fellow fisherman (Bob).  You can read Patrick's obituary online here. ye Please keep his wife Becky and family in your hearts during this difficult time.

Got a Bee Question?

BumbleBeeWebThe Bzzzzz - Bee Calls! I just got a call from a homeowner in Chaska who has two HONEYbee hives right around her backdoor (OK, the picture is not a honeybee ...). She was good enough to ask if there was a safe way to move the hives without harming these important pollinators. Not being a bee expert, I referred her to our Bee Lab folks in the Dept. of Entomology (Program coordinator, Marla Spivak, was our keynote at the 2008 state conference). Now the group also employs Hort Dept. grad, Eric Mader, as an adjunct Ext professor and National Pollinator Outreach Coordinator for the Xerces Society. The Xerces Society is an international, nonprofit organization that protects wildlife through the conservation of invertebrates and their habitat. So .... if you get a bee question, visit for contacts and resources.
Hi everyone: Click HERE to listen to this great radio interview with our Dean of Extension, Bev Durgan, on Cathy Wurzer's "Morning Edition" on MPR. The Master Gardener Program is mentioned several times. Way to go Master Gardeners!

Yard & Garden News

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The White House Garden 2009 - Video

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Every Master Gardener needs to watch this video! You'll find renewed strength,  spirit and pride in your volunteering!

MN Turf & Grounds Foundation Field Day - Sept. 10

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2009 University of Minnesota Field Day, Thursday, September 10

University of Minnesota Field Day = it’s NOT just turf...The Grounds Track of the 2009 University of Minnesota Field Day features a tour of the University of Minnesota’s TRE Nursery (conducted by Gary Johnson, Jeff Gillman, and Chad Giblin) followed by demonstrations of primary Emerald Ash Borer treatment options by the three leading suppliers in the state – Rainbow Treecare, Bayer, and JRK Seed.  The demonstrations will take place on the St. Paul Campus in cooperation with the University of Minnesota.  In addition, the exhibition features several providers of tree care products and equipment. All those with an interest in the care of trees and the scientific advancements in turfgrass are encouraged to attend!   Parking is FREE and lunch is included. Register by September 3 to help us plan.

For more info / details and registration form, visit:

LOCATION/WEATHER/ATTIRE University of Minnesota - St. Paul Campus - Corner of Cleveland and Larpenteur Field Day is an outdoor event that involves walking. Casual attire and walking shoes are recommended. Field Day occurs rain or shine.

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