$30 – $35

Stearns County Extension Master Gardener's Gardening Education Day

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Gorecki Center at the College of Saint Benedict

37 College Avenue South

Saint Joseph, MN 56374

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Refunds up to 7 days before event

Event description


Each year the Stearns County Master Gardeners host a Gardening Education Day designed to provide learning opportunities for gardeners of all experience levels.

General Session

“University of Minnesota Top Performing Annuals” by Steve Poppe

Each year the West Central Research and Outreach Center (WCROC) Display/Trial Garden evaluates over 400 different cultivars of annual flowers. Only the highest rated cultivars earn the distinction of a top ten. This talk will highlight these top performers and some other honorable mentions.

The WCROC Display/Trial Garden also serves as an All-America Selections (AAS) Display Garden. This talk will also highlight these superior varieties that will add a new dimension to your annual flower bed.

Steve Poppe is the Horticulture Scientist at the University of Minnesota, West Central Research and Outreach Center (WCROC), Morris, MN. Steve has been employed by the WCROC for 43 years. Steve’s program provides scientific evaluations of annual flowers, herbaceous perennials, high tunnel vegetables, low tunnel day-neutral strawberries, June bearing strawberries, apricots, woody plants, windbreaks and shelterbelts, ornamental grasses, and hardy shrub roses.


A1: Avoiding Mistakes Even the Professionals Make – Session A1

Most designed landscapes are destined for failure and do not withstand the test of time. Any landscape can look great on paper, but what determines success or failure? Sustainability is the key and requires site awareness, an understanding of the basic principles of design, a focus on spaces and spatial relationships, proper planting bed design and plant selection.

Research Information Director and Regulatory Affairs Manager for the Minnesota Nursery and Landscape Association, Jim Calkins is a production and landscape horticulturist with extensive experience in plant identification, culture, and use.

A2: Daylilies: The Perfect Perennials – Session A2

Are your daylilies diploid or tetraploid? Are they rebloomers? Come and learn about the best daylilies for your garden! The following topics will be covered during this presentation - general information, basic anatomy, selecting, planting, dividing, landscaping, diseases, pests and resources.

As part of the State Leadership Team of the U of M Extension Master Gardener Volunteer Program, Jackie Froemming develops resources for the more than 2,300 Master Gardeners across the state. Jackie creates tools that Master Gardener groups use to convey public value, and systems for marketing programs and supplies.

A3: Tomato Mania – Session A3

Come and learn about the history, diversity and incredible joy of tomatoes, including their health benefits and various culinary uses.

Dr. David Kroska is a busy OB/GYN who has a passion for tomatoes. He and his wife Susan have been experimenting with tomato varieties for over 20 years and have been producing an amazing variety of ready-to-plant transplants for spring sale as ACME Tomatoes.

A4: Busting Common Soil & Garden Myths – Session A4

Gardeners are always looking for tips and advice to keep their gardens healthy. Is all the advice you hear really based on good science? How do we know which advice is good and which does nothing at all? Learn the fact or fiction behind many common soil & gardening myths.

Dr. Joe Storlien received his Ph.D. in Soil Science from Texas A&M University and is currently a Professor of Environmental Studies at St. John’s University and a U of M Extension Master Gardener.

A5: Make and Take-Build Your Own Kokedama – Session A5 (+$5 supply fee)

You will learn about this popular technique to grow and display a plant. You will make your very own beautiful kokedama to take home.

Mardi Knudson and Jean Januschka Ebnet are U of M Extension Master Gardeners in Stearns County who are excited to share this fun planting activity with those who attend.

B1: Common Garden Insects – Sessions B1 and C1

We will talk about common insect pests found in home gardens, discussing how to identify them, the kind of damage they cause, and how to protect your plants from these pests giving both non-chemical and insecticide options. We will also look at some of the more common beneficial insects you might encounter.

Jeff Hahn has a master’s degree in entomology. He has worked for the University of Minnesota Extension since 1984, specializing in urban insects, including those found in gardens and landscapes.

B2: Get Growing: A Beginner's Guide to Growing Vegetables – Session B2

This presentation will cover most of the considerations you should make when growing vegetables. Best for audiences with little to no experience growing vegetables or gardening.

Jackie Froemming bio—See A2

B3: A Complete Lawn Care Calendar – Session B3

This talk will include the best management practices for establishing and maintaining a lawn based on optimum timing throughout the calendar year in Minnesota. Topics to be discussed include: establishment via seeding, mowing, fertilization, watering, weed control, and disease and insect pest management.

Jon Trappe is a Postdoctoral Research Associate in the Department of Horticultural Science at the University of Minnesota. Jon received his Ph.D. in Turfgrass Science from Purdue University in 2015, where he conducted research on weed control, shade and traffic tolerance, fertilization, best management practices, cultivar and species evaluation, and is currently conducting research on low input turfgrass.

B4: Beautiful Containers All Summer! – Session B4

Learn how to grow plants in containers that look good for the entire season. Choose the right pots, soil and container-friendly plants – both flowers and vegetables

Joan Andersen has been a U of M Extension Master Gardener since 2000 and loves to talk about plants. She grows flowers and vegetables and is always on the lookout for a new perennial, annual or vegetable variety.

B5: Make and Take-Succulent Book Planter – Session B5 (+$5 supply fee)

Growing succulents indoors can be tricky. Come learn how to grow succulents successfully indoors. We will discuss basic care, watering, and planting methods all while making a Succulent Book Planter to take home.

Carol Groth has been a U of M Extension Master Gardener since 2001. She is also an avid crafter and enjoys finding ways to combine gardening and crafting.

C1: Common Garden Insects—please see description for B1

C2: Gardening in Minnesota’s Changing Climate – Session C2

Gardening is risky business, as Mother Nature always seems to throw plenty of obstacles at gardeners each year. As Minnesota’s climate changes, some challenges will be amplified and new challenges may arise. We will discuss some of the basics of Minnesota’s changing climate, how it relates to our gardens, and focus on how to make our gardens resilient against these future challenges.

Dr. Joe Storlien bio—see A4

C3: Growing Lilies, There’s Always Room for One More – Session C3

This presentation will discuss the different classes of lilium which grow in the upper Midwest. It will also cover growing conditions, culture, companion plants and more. In addition, there will be a hands-on demonstration of how to scale a lily bulb.

Barbara Sautner is co-owner of Hartle/Gilman Gardens, current president of the Daylily Society of Minnesota, past president of the Iris Society of Minnesota and the American Society of Siberian Iris. Her personal garden has been featured on Rebecca’s Garden and as host garden for several national, regional and local tours.

C4: Make & Take-Make Your Own Wild Bee Houses – Session C4 (+$5 supply fee)

Want to do your part to help the pollinator crisis happening in the U.S.? You don't have to be a honey bee keeper to help increase the pollinators. There are almost 400 species of wild bees in MN and some are better pollinators than honey bees! In this class you will learn about our wild bees and construct a simple and affordable wild bee house.

Linda Shay is a semi-retired school teacher, a U of M Master Gardener since 1988, a Master Naturalist since 2011, and a member of the Minnesota Mycological Society since 2015.

The Sauk River Watershed will be doing FREE water testing for nitrates at their vendor booth - bring a water sample for testing.

To collect the water sample:

  • Let tap run for 5-10 minutes

  • Collect 1 cup of tap water in a clean plastic or glass container

  • Keep cool

  • Samples should be collected less than 24 hours prior to test.

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Gorecki Center at the College of Saint Benedict

37 College Avenue South

Saint Joseph, MN 56374

View Map

Refund Policy

Refunds up to 7 days before event

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