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Sessions & Speakers
Friday, June 23 
NEW FOR 2017:
Simply show up to any sessions you desire! It couldn't get any easier.
1:45 p.m. - 3 p.m.
Gardening in a Post-Wild World

Thomas Rainer
Author, Gardening in a Post-Wild World and a horticultural futurist fascinated by the intersection of wild plants and human culture. A landscape architect by profession and a gardener by obsession, Thomas has worked on projects such as the U.S. Capitol grounds, the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial, and The New York Botanical Garden, but is happiest puttering in his small garden in Washington, D.C.

Thomas thinks you should use more natives, plant more daringly, and loosen up that landscape, for crying out loud.

3:30 - 4:20 p.m.

Fruit Trees for Sustenance and Sustainability

Fact Sheets: Apple   Apricot   Cherry   Peach   Pear   Plum

Emily Hoover, University of Minnesota Professor, Morse Distinguished Teaching Professor of Horticulture;  Head of the Department of Horticultural Sciences, overseeing diverse research, extension, and teaching programs. Additionally she teaches courses in fruit production and teaching pedegogy. Her research has focused primarily on evaluation of winter hardiness and winter protection/adaptation to enhance profitability, efficiency, and sustainability of fruit cropping systems.

Growing a fruit tree in your yard can seem like a daunting task at first, but diversity can be good for both you and your garden. Fruit trees provide early spring flowers for pollinators, delicious locally-grown food for you, and are a great way to add beauty to your yard. Thanks to advances in fruit varieties and growing practices, fruit trees can be grown even in small spaces. Learn all about fruit trees and how to grow them sustainably with expert tips on variety selection, planting, maintenance, harvesting, pest management, and more. Whether your garden is large or small, there’s a fruit tree that’s just right for you!

Native Plants of the Midwest

Alan Branhagen is the new Director of Operations at the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum where he supervises capital improvements, horticulture, plant curation, facilities, and information technology. For over 20 years, he was Director of Horticulture at Powell Gardens, Kansas City's Botanical Garden and prior to that he had a nearly decade-long duty as Deputy Director of Resource Development for the Winnebago County Forest Preserve District in Rockford, Illinois. Alan Branhagen received his Bachelor of Landscape Architecture from Iowa State University and a Master of Landscape Architecture from Louisana State University with emphasis on planning, plants and design with nature. He wrote "The Gardener's Butterfly Book" in 2001 published by the National Home Gardener Club and has written articlees for Fine Gardening, Missouri Gardener, Missouri Prairie Jounral, Landscape Maintenance and Restoration and Management Notes. In November 2016, Timber Press published his book "Native Plants of the Midwest". Mr. Branhagen is an all-around plantsman and naturalist (specializing in botany, birds and butterflies) and travels throughout the Midwest and the country visiting gardens and natural areas. He grew over 1,500 taxa of plants at his Missouri garden "Luna Ridge" nestled on 6 acres of woodland and meadow. He is starting a new garden on 2.4 acres in Chaska, Minnesota.

The Midwest offers a rich and unique flora that has incredible value to gardeners and landscapers.  The movement to cultivate America’s native flora had its roots in the Midwest (Eloise Butler was a local icon) and gardening with native plants has experienced a recent increase in popularity tied to being green, buying local and living sustainably.  There still remain widespread misunderstandings about what native plants are and why they are so valuable to a healthy environment.  Homeowners, gardeners and landscapers want to do the right thing so I wrote the book as a practical resource that helps them be successful in selecting, growing and maintaining Midwestern native plants.


Public Engagement as a Master Gardener:
Answering Questions and Using Technology/Apps
Theresa RooneyHennepin County Master Gardener Volunteer since 2000, has presented talks on ‘The Dirt' Stage at the MN State Fair. She is also on WCCO Smart Gardening about 1x a month 830AM with Denny Long. A lifelong gardener, avid learner and devoted ‘nature nut,' Theresa writes a column for the "Minnesota Gardener" magazine and does presentations to various groups on gardening.
Beth BeckBeth's "day job" involves training others on technology products. She will use her tech-savvy knowledge to tame the fear of working at a busy plant sale or farmers market: How to prepare, what books to take, and how to search for the right answer!

Answering Questions - Theresa Rooney
How does a MG know what the real question when someone asks a gardening question? Often the real question is not the first one asked and sometimes the person asking the question does not even know what to ask. Our job as Master Gardeners is to delve into the situation and find out what knowledge is really needed from us to help the person asking the question. Learn tips and tricks that Theresa uses when dealing with questions from the public, and key places to get information.
Learning outcomes: 
     * Listening! That is the most important skill we can learn as Master Gardener Volunteers
     * Asking open ended questions to get more info from the person than they may even know.
     * What to do if you don't know. Where can you find information?
Please bring your questions and we will do some ‘hands on' step by step demonstrations, of how we can answer questions as Master Gardeners -- to give the public the knowledge they need to garden successfully.

Using Technology - Beth Beck HANDOUT
This session will provide highlights of some useful sites and apps that are mobile ready and easy to use on-site. Many Master Gardeners have accumulated website bookmarks over the years that provide rich resources at their fingertips. While lists continue to grow - some of the sites are not quite as useful when you are at a site such as a Farmers Market where mobile technology is the only possibility for quick research.
Learning outcomes:
     * Tips on how to best prepare for the market, both seasonally and organizing what sites or apps to use.
     * Some new ways to organize and use mobile technology
     * Guidance on how much technology is useful and when its use can be distracting to the person looking for help. 
    * A knowledge base of solid research based websites and apps that are useful for research in an onsite situation.
     * Guidance on the use of technology in a responsible fashion when working with public and onsite.
     * Technology tips, tricks and shortcuts to both prepare for, and for use onsite.

Train the Trainer: Low Maintenance Lawn Care 
(runs through 5:30 p.m.)

Sam Bauer
, Extension Educator, University of Minnesota. Sam's research and extension objectives revolve around environmentally sound management strategies to improve the performance of turfgrass on golf courses, sports fields, general grounds, and home lawns. He has extensive working experience in turfgrass management in the United States, including degrees from the University of Minnesota emphasizing in turfgrass science.

Growing a healthy lawn in Minnesota can be a challenging task. In this session you will gain a better understanding of how to create a healthy, environmentally friendly lawn. Content will include: turfgrass species selection, soil types and preparation, fertility and watering practices, and pest management. This session focuses on the creation of sustainable lawns that require less fertilizer and water, along with reducing the use of pesticides. This is a train-the-trainer session and participants will leave with a module that they can teach on Low Maintenance Lawn Care.
Learning outcomes:
* Learn about low maintenance lawn grasses
* Be able to describe soil improvement strategies
* Understand the environmental benefits of lawns and the negative consequences of bad management

 4:30 p.m. - 5:30 p.m.

Endangered Minnesota Plants and Pollinators

Adam Regn Arvidson, FASLA
, Published author and practicing landscape architect. He has won awards for both his writing and design and has published widely in design magazines. He currently works at the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board.
Elaine Evans, University of Minnesota Extension Educator, Captain of the UMN Bee Squad's Wild Bee Team since 2013. Research in landscape effects on native bee abundance and diversity. She is the co-author of "Befriending Bumblebees: A practical guide to raising local bumble bees." From 2007 to 2010, she worked for the Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation, in their bumble bee conservation program.

Explore and understand endangered species in Minnesota, what their "endangered" status means to you. Presentations will address on species like the Rusty Patch Bumblebee and others of which you may not yet be aware.

Climate Change and Phenology - The Garden Effect

Rebecca Montgomery
, (Invited) Assistant Professor, Forest Resources, University of Minnesota, specializing in plant ecophysiology and forest ecology focusing on mechanisms of plant response to global change, ecology of the forest understory and evolutionary ecology of functional traits. Research spans temperate and tropical forests, managed and unmanaged ecosystems.

Changes in phenology mean important changes in our yards and gardens. There is dramatic potential for climate change to alter plant species and composition! Explore what all this means and how to adapt your growing practices in your backyard.

Public Engagement as a Master Gardener: Hands-On Activities & More!

Ariel Dressler
, Ariel is the coordinator of informal education activities at the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum. She designs activities for visitors to create art, grow, connect, and make discoveries with plants. She holds a degree in Outdoor Education and Interpretation from Western Washington University in Bellingham, Washington. 
Ariel's previous experience includes the United States Botanic Garden at the U.S. Capitol Building and has also worked as a park ranger for the National Park Service and the U.S. Forest Service. In her spare time, Ariel enjoys gardening in her Saint Paul yard with her husband and two young daughters.

Boost your "booth power" by engaging the public in fun, hands-on activities that teach important principles in science and conservation! Ariel will share her years of experience in this area, with tips and tricks on ways to get the public engaged and active. Hear celebrated successes as well as frustrating challenges that were transformed into valuable learning opportunities. Get ideas and insights that will inspire you and make you want to sign up for the next public booth'll be amazed at the crowds that will flock to your activities!

Bees: Give them a Home!
Bees need shelter and food for shelter. You're invited to create a stem nest bundle to house native bees. Find out how to hang your bee house and clues to recognize when a bee has moved in. Take part in a citizen science flower survey and discover the best blooms in our pollinator garden to nourish hungry bees.


Master Gardener State Conference Main Page



Call 612-301-1210

Cancellation Policy: Registration cancellations must be made two weeks prior to class date in order to receive refund. A $5 processing fee will apply.

Preferred Conference Accommodations
Special rate for conference attendees!
$129.00 plus tax, 1-bedroom King Suite (regular rate $165!)
Use Promotional Code UMNMGC
Country Inn & Suites - Chanhassen
591 West 78th Street, Chanhassen, MN 55317 area map

Achieve your CE Goal!
Continuing Education


Certificates of attendance will be available for:

  • Extension Master Gardeners
  • Extension Master Naturalists
  • Tree Care Advisors
  • Others, by request