After a testy winter that seemed never-ending, the 2018 growing season is upon us with gusto! This year, we’ll be testing the same 30 annual flower varieties as in 2017 and at the same locations – Morris horticulture display garden, the St. Paul display garden, Rechelbachaer Farm (the HMR) – with the addition of a second site at the Rechelbacher farm and at the new Bell Museum (grand opening July 13-15) located at Cleveland and Larpenteur avenues just west of the UMN St. Paul campus. Extension Master Gardeners planted with me in Morris and will be taking data there as well. Other MGs will be assisting with the St. Paul and Bell Museum plantings.
And then we have F4P “Minis” – snapshots of the full study – at various locations. One showcasing eight of the flower varieties can be seen in raised beds on the 3rd floor Mayo building patio, East Bank of the UMN. This planting was developed in partnership with Carrie Miller of the UMN Center for Spirituality and Healing. A second F4P Mini – actually two of them – is at Lake Minnetonka Shores, Spring Park, MN, one of the Presbyterian Homes senior living communities. Citizen science surveys will be available to engage visitors in reporting their observations of pollinator on these flowers.
A third mini (25 more minis to be exact) will be planted by the 4-H Engineering Club of Lyon and Lincoln counties, lead by Stephanie DeJaeghere, 4-H leader and Extension Master Gardener. Club members have planted six of the varieties in their own gardens and will do their own pollinator observations. Five other 4H groups from Redwood county and another in Lincoln county will also participate. Even the 4-H program leader for Lyon County, Sam Jens, got in on the fun: he and DeJaeghere will be planting a couple of the minis at the Lyon County fairgrounds.
Planted to date: the 4-H minis and at the Center for Spirituality and Healing as well as the Morris full study of 30 varieties. Next week, we’ll be planting at the Bell Museum, St. Paul campus, the Rechelbacher farm, and at Lake Minnetonka Shores. Good thing the weather has settled into nice summer temps and little rain – it’s going to be a busy week!