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August 2011 Archives

Lots of questions about pollinators over P1150643.JPGthis past summer. I am cautiously hopeful that our gardening public are paying more attention to the results of their actions (translation: not spraying needlessly or carelessly). I took this photo of my honey bear sunflowers this morning as I was leaving for my commute to the U. I saw these sunflowers in the Robert Mondavi Sustainable Garden at UC-Davis, CA, last  year when i was there for a conference. Loved them - bought them - planted them.

Hello Master Gardeners!

 Oriental bittersweet is an invasive vine that can be extremely damaging to forest and other ecosystems.  However, many are unfamiliar with this species because it is not broadly distributed (in Minnesota) yet.  It is ideal to find and control infestations while they are a manageable size and before they spread.

In order to do this, there is a need for education on Oriental bittersweet identification and management. 

In partnership with the University of Minnesota Forest Resources Extension, we recently made a presentation on Oriental bittersweet available at the My Minnesota Woods website at  You are welcome to download and use the presentation for educational purposes.  Please share this link with others that may be interested.

Thank you!

Monika Chandler
Biological control and terrestrial invasive plant early detection
Minnesota Department of Agriculture, 625 Robert Street North, St. Paul, MN  55155
651-201-6537 (office), 612-327-3857 (cell),

Biological control webpage
, Invasive plant early detection webpage

CoCoRaHS.pngIntroducing the Community Collaborative Rain, Hail and Snow Network (CoCoRaHS)? 

CoCoRaHS istarted in 1998 at Colorado State University after communities experienced an extreme and devastating local flash flood. CoCoRaHS now has nearly 15,000 active volunteers, and has grown to become the largest source of reliable daily precipitation data in the U.S.  The data are used every day by National Weather Service, media, USDA, teachers and researchers and many other organizations.

Last year, CoCoRaHS started a project to develop instructional resources for Master Gardeners to improve their understanding of climate -- climate controls, seasonal cycles, averages, extreme events, storm tracks and much more. 

CoCoRaHS recently completed these materials and field tested them via Webinars and face to face presentations to several county Master Gardener groups here in Colorado. Climate Resources Guide for Master Gardeners is available in the form of an on-line slide show. It introduces elements of large scale and local climate important to gardeners. An overview of climate patterns and differences are shown.

Links to many regional and local weather and climate resources are provided. Topics include: Climate & Gardening, Sunshine, Temperature, Humidity and Dew Point, Precipitation, Wind, Evapotranspiration, Climate Resources, Climate Change and CoCoRaHS. This climate resource guide is generalized so that it can be used anywhere in the country.

Viewing this guide counts as 1 hour of continuing education for UMN Ext Master Gardeners.

CoCoRaHS is also looking for more rain gauge volunteers, too.  If you would like to consider being rain gauge reporters, please contact CoCoRaHS. There is also a rain gauge program for schools.

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