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February 2011 Archives

Our state's economic shortfall is all over the news these days. The impact of state budget cuts on the University of Minnesota, Extension and our program will be tremendous and felt by all. The University is not just a school, but has significant impact on the economy of Minnesota. Today, UMN President Robert Bruininks released the following statement to faculty, staff and students about a new Economic Impact Study that measures the pivotal role the University plays in the economic health of the state and region. Read on ....

In this time of significant budget challenges, the University is increasingly asked to demonstrate the value it brings to the state and its taxpayers. An economic impact study, the results of which are being released today, now provides hard data to substantiate the pivotal role that the University plays in the economic health of the state and region. The study's findings are significant:
  • The U of M creates $8.6 billion in total economic impact in Minnesota annually.
  • Every dollar invested in the U of M by the state generates $13.20 in the statewide economy.
  • A total of 79,497 jobs are supported by the U of M: 42,319 jobs on our campuses--including 19,157 faculty and staff positions; 8,866 fellows and student employees; 8,017 positions through the University of Minnesota Medical Center, Fairview,
  • and University of Minnesota Physicians; and 6,279 graduate assistants,
  • postdocs, and residents--as well as another 37,178 in communities across
  • the state through U of M spending.
  • One out of every 43 jobs in the state of Minnesota is attributable to the U of M.
  • Research expenditures from competitively awarded funds generate $1.5 billion in total annual economic impact in Minnesota and support 16,193 total jobs, both inside
  • and outside the U of M.
Other study findings are available at our new Economic Impact web page. The findings from this economic impact study provide additional proof points to make the case to our state leaders for strong support for the University. The stakes are high and the risks to our state's economic well-being are clear: A vibrant University of Minnesota has never been more relevant to the short- and long-term future of Minnesota.
Located at the Grand Palace in Brussels,
Belgium, BrusBiBloom.jpgsels in Bloom is an event focuses around the creation fabulous designs made entirely of flowers. This year it was begonias. Alomost 1 million begonias were used to create the 300 sq meter carpet (about 105,000 sq yards if my math is correct).

I have always loved begonias - now I have a new appreciation!

Take a few minutes, fellow gardeners, and see images here: Brussels in Bloom images
For more of the story on this amazing feat: Brussels Flower Carpet

(A good thing to look at during this immensely snowy winter here!)

Great Hall of Orchids - WOW!

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Thumbnail image for Pendulous Cymbidium Hybrid-15.JPG
I had a chance to visit the fantastic orchids on display in the Great Hall at the MN Landscape Arboretum and .... well, WOW is the only word that fits! Courtesy of Orchids Limited (Plymouth, MN), the exhibit is on through March 13th, so if you are in the Twin Cities and interested in orchids as a beginner or expert grower, take a trip out to the Arb and relish in the beauty of these exotic and diverse species!

I've added an Orchids image set to my Flickr account. Get inspired!


The last session of the 2011 Master Gardener Core Course will be held at the West Central Research and Outreach Center in Morris, MN. Twenty-four Master Gardener interns will be in attendance. Active Master Gardeners are welcomed to attend for CE. Here is the schedule of classes: 2011 MG Core Course - Morris schedule.pdf

Looking forward to seeing you in Morris!
Stay up-to-date with the College of Food, Ag and NR (our academic home!)

There are some good educational sessions available including "Classes Without Quizzes" offered through the Alumni Association.

Feel like you need to brush up on your diagnostic skills? There are quite a few ways you can do this and you can find links and details on the Volunteer page of the state MG website - "Essentials: Continuing Education Opportunties"

1) Review the online Master Gardener Core Course Diagnostics module

2) Review Michelle Grabowski's online disease trainings see Essentials: Continuing Education Opportunities on Volunteer page of the state MG website

3) Register and take eXtension's online Diagnostics tool for $10

4) Attend the Morris core course class on Diagnostics scheduled for Saturday, April 2 from 1-4pm. Active MGs attend for free.

5) Attend 2011 Master Gardener Summer School in Mankato, Andover or Brainerd.
Master Gardener 2011 'Summer school' will FEATURE: 4 'hot topic' presentations in the AM on: EAB, potential invasive tree diseases, latest on lawn care and replacement trees for EAB. The afternoon is hands on sessions--including a Diagnostics Training taught by Jeff Hahn & Michelle Grabowski
Hey Master Gardeners!

Have you had a chance to visit the new Master Gardener Program website? Make it your homepage, bookmark it, make it a favorite. You're going to want to go this site anytime you are looking for information or make contact!

NOTE: The URL is the same - - but you will have to click your "refresh" button on your toolbar to get rid of the old site cookie.

The new site is remarkably easy to navigate. It THE site for all the links and information for people interested in the Master Gardener Program, for UMN Ext Master Gardener volunteers and for program coordinators an volunteer leaders.

Some key features:
  • For the general public: The homepage is designed for the general public and includes news and links to dontate to the program, for contacting Master Gardeners and to Extension horticulture resources.
  • For Master Gardener Volunteers: Click on the "For Volunteers" link, sign in with your name and password (same as you have done to enter hours) and reach the volunteer page - your one-stop shop for continuing education opportunities, teaching tools, tutorials, policies and procedures, our volunteer manual, State Advisory Board info, and more.
  • For the Program Coordinators and Volunteer Leaders: Click on the "For Coordinators" link, sign in with your ID and password, and find a wealth of information helpful to you as staff and as a volunteer leader for your local group.
About the homepage:
  • Link to other areas of Extension including the Garden webpage
  • Social media and communication tools - icons for Facebook, Twitter,to email a page or print it (located right above the "For Volunteers" link)
  • Fast Feedback Form - give us your input about the website
  • Donate button - a BIG one!
  • The Super Footer at the bottom of each page - find anything in Extension right here including the staff directory, offices, the FarmLine, and more!
A BIG thank you to the EFANS Communications staff, to Extension IT and Web staff, to Dave and Bridget, the Master Gardener State Advisory Board, and to the Program Coordinators who have given us feedback! THANK YOU EVERYONE!
The room has been changed for the Bed Bugs Presentation to 495 Hodson Hall on the St. Paul campus of the University. (fomerly 490 Hodson)
I am totally thrilled to announce the new state Master Gardener  website scheduled for release Monday, Feb. 14!

The address will remain the same:

The site will feature:
  • a public homepage that includes news about MGs, how to contact their local MG program, links to resources including Ask A Master Gardener, images, etc.

  • A MG Volunteer only page including, downloadable teaching materials hours reporting tool, CE opportunities, tutorials, links to resources, etc.

  • A MG Coordinator section including management materials, marketing materials, recruitment materials, etc.
The new site is directly linked to the Extension site, so you will have access to all the web resources from the University through this site. It will be your #1 site as a starting point!

Look forward the new website!

Calling all Master Gardeners: Mark your calendars for the following Master Gardener Summer School dates. Details to follow soon!

June 11, 2011
Bunker Hills Center
Andover, MN

July 30, 2011
Mankato, MN

August 20, 2011
Central Lakes College
Brainerd, MN
Just a reminder about the new eXtension online Diagnostics module. Funded by a grant from the North Central Consumer Horticulture working group (Jeff Hahn, Dean Herzfeld, Michelle Grabowski, Mary Meyer and I are 5 of 12 contributing members), this module provides important continuing education for all Master Gardeners. One hundred Master Gardeners around the nation have already signed up for this great new resource!

To read more about the module and sign up, visit the national Extension Master Gardener blog:

Good luck and have fun learning!
What: Certification Course in Permaculture Design
When: April 8-15, 2011
Where: Clearwater Forest Retreat Center, Deerwood, MN
Cost: $1300 including food and lodging for a week
MG CE hrs: 50 hrs

Permaculture is one of the most Eye-Opening concepts alive today. This class is offered for you to grasp the Permaculture concept and apply it to your life. From farmers to architects, psychologists to executives, health care providers to homemakers, energy workers to veterinarians, all walks of life can benefit from this class. We will study the application of Permaculture principles focusing on external and internal energy systems. We will eat organic local foods, have interactive classroom sessions, and engage in on-site designing and hands-on implementation.
Click HERE to read more details and contact information .....
Update your resources!

Save 60% on the 2010 Master Gardener Core Course packets

Regular price: $75 + S&H

Special price: $30 + S&H  while supplies last

To buy:

- Item #08525
The state staff and our EFANS Communications Team have been working for the past 9 months on a new Master Gardener state website. It has more visual appeal, is easier to navigate, and will be the first place everyone will go - MGs, staff, the public - for information on the program and links to local MG programs.

Some of the great new features:
  • Dedicated volunteer section - a section just for MG volunteers where you can download teaching materials, enter hours, view CE opps, sign up to volunteer, find answers on youth gardening, diversity and other specialized audiences, tutorials, feeds from my blog and Y&G News, etc.
  • Dedicated coordinator section - tools and documents for coordinators
  • A news section in a blog format - right on the homepage for all to read, blog format for easy upload by coordinators
  • Donating made easy
  • Feedback response tool so we can get your comments and input.
  • Overall look of the site - more UMN connection, more pictures, clean layout
This has been a 9-month project and a collaboration of state staff - Dave, me and Bridget - and our EFANS Communications Team. It is a HUGE improvement and I am excited to get it online for you all.

Release date is by the end of February 2011.

Your library needing a little updating? Purchase the 2011 Master Gardener Core Course booklets individually or as a complete packet from the online Extension Store.

Here's how:
  1. Visit
  2. Type "Master Gardener" into the search box and you get the list of booklets including the complete packet.
  3. Select the booklets you would like to purchase, and follow the instructions for payment.

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