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Sessions & Speakers
Saturday, June 24 
NEW FOR 2017:
Simply show up to any sessions you desire! It couldn't get any easier.
9 a.m. - 10 a.m.

Making Sense of the Soil Food Web 
Jeff Lowenfels, author of "Teaming with Microbes, The Organic Gardener's Guide to the Soil Food Web", and "Teaming with Nutrients, The Organic Gardener's Guide to Optimizing Plant Nutrition" Jeff is the Cal Ripken of North American Garden columnists -- His weekly column has run in the Anchorage Daily News for over 36 years, never missing a single week even for vacations. One of the most humorous and entertaining lecturers on the circuit, Jeff is also a lawyer and the combination of garden writing and law have earned him the moniker of "America's Dirtiest Lawyer."Jeff is former president of the Garden Writers of America, was made a GWA Fellow in 1999 and was inducted into the GWA Hall of Fame, the highest honor a garden writer can achieve. Most important, Jeff is the founder of a now national program that started as "Plant a Row for Bean's," the soup kitchen in Anchorage, and is now "Plant A Row for The Hungry." The program is active in 48 states and resulted in over a million pounds of produce being donated to feed the hungry every year.  

Smart gardeners know that soil is anything but an inert substance. Healthy soil is teeming with life - not just earthworms and insects, but a staggering multitude of bacteria, fungi, and other microorganisms. When we use chemical fertilizers, we injure the microbial life that sustains healthy plants, and thus become increasingly dependent on an arsenal of artificial substances, many of them toxic to humans as well as other forms of life. But there is an alternative to this vicious circle: to garden in a way that strengthens, rather than destroys, the soil food web - the complex world of soil-dwelling organisms whose interactions create a nurturing environment for plants.

10 a.m. - 11 a.m.

Pollinate Minnesota- Erin Rupp, Adam Regn Ardvidson, Master Gardener Program- Jackie Froemming and Moderated by Beth Beck

Experts share perspectives to develop and utilize partnerships with organizations to facilitate action for pollinators in Minnesota. This discussion allow the audience to ask questions and will:
Provide Awareness
Learn who should be on your team in order to leverage active stakeholders to engage community. 
Take Action
Hear examples of unique partnerships that are helping pollinators in Minnesota. People and organizations *can* work together for mutual benefit.
Promote Action
Discover ways that Master Gardeners we work effectively with the public to help them better understand pollinator habitat and how citizens and organizations can do their part to support pollinators.

11:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.

From Seed to Table: Heirloom and Heritage Vegetables
Christy Marsden Extension Educator and Education Manager, University of Minnesota. Christy comes from the University of Wisconsin Extension, where she served as a county-based Horticulture Educator in Rock County for three years. Prior to that, she worked at Seed Savers Exchange in Decorah, Iowa. Originally from California, Christy discovered her love of plants while volunteering at the arboretum on the University of California Davis campus. She has a bachelors of science in Human Development and Masters in Horticulture and Agronomy from the University of California, Davis. Christy has a passion for connecting people with plants through what we eat and grow, and is excited to continue this work at the Minnesota Arboretum with the UMN MG program.

Get the lastest 'intel' from Seed Savers Exchange! Christy will share insider knowledge from her time on staff, and "spill the beans" (pun intended!) on her favorite heritage and heirloom vegetables from Seed Savers Exchange: how to grow them...and how to eat them! Learn the "whys" and "hows" of heritage and heirloom varieties, and get inspired by her infectious zeal for the important history behind growing these plants. You'll walk away with some wow-worthy seeds to plant in your backyard, and some cred-boosting knowledge to boot!

Heather Holm
, author of "Pollinators of Native Plants and Bees: An Identification and Native Plant Forage Guide." She is a horticulturist and biologist by training, as well as a writer, designer, and publisher. In addition to taking part in native bee research projects, she informs and educates audiences in the Midwest and Northeast, through her writing and many presentations, about the fascinating world of native bees and the native plants that support them. Her first book, "Pollinators of Native Plants," published in 2014, established her as a knowledgeable resource on the subject of the interactions between pollinating insects and native plants.

There are ways to benefit pollinators beyond herbacious perennials! Learn which trees and shrubs are most beneficial to pollinators AND look beautiful in a yard or garden! 

Research Update
Planting in a Hotter, Drier World
John Erwin, Professor and Extension Floriculture Horticulturist

 1:30 p.m. - 2:20 p.m.
Landscaping with Native Plants: Effective and Acceptable Ways to Use Natives in Gardens and Landscapes

Lynn Steiner
, one of the Upper Midwest's best-known garden writers and a frequent speaker at gardening and environmental events. For 15 years, Lynn was the editor of Northern Gardener magazine, the official publication of the Minnesota State Horticultural Society. She now writes a column titled "Northern Natives. She is the author and photographer of several books advocating the effective use of native plants typical home landscape, including "Grow Native: Bringing Natural Beauty to Your Garden", "Landscaping with Native Plants of Minnesota", " Landscaping with Native Plants of Wisconsin",  "Landscaping with Native Plants of Michigan", "Prairie-Style Gardens: Capturing the Essence of the American Prairie Wherever You Live", and co-author of "RainGardens: Sustainable Landscaping for a Beautiful Yard and a Healthy World."

Explore the diversity and beauty found in our native plant heritage and show how to use natural plant communities as models for landscapes and gardens. Inspirational photos of native-plant landscapes and detailed information on select plants will help you get started in environmentally friendly native-plant gardening that will be attractive to birds, butterflies, and other wildlife. See photos and descriptions of the best native flowers, grasses, groundcovers, ferns, shrubs, and trees for landscape and garden use.

Really Cool Plants for Northern Gardens
Don Engebretson, The Renegade GardenerTM, A nationally recognized authority on landscaping and garden design, he has been a featured speaker at the Home & Garden Shows across the nation and many other consumer, university extension and trade symposia.
Don has published five books on gardening and landscaping. For over a decade he was a field editor and garden scout for Better Homes and Gardens and garden editor and columnist for Mpls.St.Paul Magazine. For four seasons he was the gardening expert on HGTV's TIPical MaryEllen show and served as landscaping consultant and on-camera garden design expert for the PBS Television series HOMETIME. His articles on gardening, landscape design, and the landscaping industry have appeared in many local, regional, and national magazines and newspapers, including Better Homes and Gardens, Midwest Living, Garden, Deck and Landscape, Northern Gardener and the Seattle Times. Don is a six-time winner of the Garden Writers Association Garden Globe Award for excellence in garden writing. 

Sometimes stalwart northern Zone 3-5 gardeners can't help but feel a twinge of remorse for having to pursue their passion in the colder regions of the United States. Take heart-the North is not the Forbidden Zone! The US and Canadian nursery industries are constantly introducing great new, hardy plants that give northern gardeners all we need to create gardens and landscapes as gracious and beautiful as gardens in any part of the country. The presentation will explore new perennials, shrubs, and trees with which Northern gardeners may not be aware, in addition to the inclusion of some standard, tried-and-true selections that should not be overlooked.

Train the Trainer: Flowers for Pollinators 
(runs through 4:30 p.m.)
University of Minnesota Extension Experts

Increase pollinator habitat through community engagement by attending the 2017 Train-the-Trainer workshop, Flowers for Pollinators! University of Minnesota Extension Experts will dive into the science of pollinators, pollination, and pollinator plants. Engaging hands-on activities will teach you how to create pollinator friendly gardens, and you'll gain access to Flowers for Pollinators and Pollinator Cafe educational signs. Become inspired to share what you've learned with the Flowers for Pollinators! presentation and facilitation package, and increase your community outreach with the Help Pollinators Thrive and Plant Zinnias brochures. Leave this workshop feeling empowered to actively engage your community with helpful materials and a deeper knowledge of pollinators and pollinator habitat.

 2:30 p.m. - 3:30 p.m.
Benefits of Native Grasses

Dr. Mary Meyer
, University of Minnesota Horticultural Science faculty, Extension/outreach and research appointment. Her research interests include native and ornamental grasses and sedges, especially Miscanthus, Schizachyrium, Pennisetum and Carex pensylvanica. She has studied the propagation and production of grasses including cold hardiness, and low maintenance sustainable landscaping. Blue Heaven is a patented little bluestem, (Schizachyrium), she released in 2007. She also conducts research on alternative low maintenance turfgrasses. She has studied Miscanthus and where it has escaped in the United States, especially in national parks, and authored the website entitled Miscanthus: Ornamental and Invasive Grass. She is the author of Ornamental Grasses for Cold Climates, which can be purchased from the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum. Dr. Meyer manages the North American Plant Collections Consortium Ornamental Grass Collection at the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum, which was first planted in 1987. In 2012 she initiated the National Grass Trials evaluation with eleven states that evaluate cultivars of native grasses such as little bluestem and switchgrass.

Grasses have many benefits to humans and to our environment, and did you know they are critical food and habitat for native butterflies and moths as well? Learn more about this fun association and which grasses are best for Minnesota gardens and our native butterflies and moths.
Learning outcomes
 * Why grasses help our environment: prevent soil erosion, build organic matter in soil, etc
 * Which native butterflies feed on native grasses and how they can manage these plants in their own garden.


James Wolfin
, graduate student at the University of Minnesota in the Spivak bee lab and the Watkins turfgrass science lab. James' research focuses on the enhancement of turflawns with low-growing flowers to increase forage availability for bees and other pollinators.  Before coming to the University of Minnesota, James received a bachelor's degree in ecology where he studied the foraging patterns of honey bees. 

A weed is generally considered a plant that is undesirable in a lawn for any reason, often due to aesthetics. Many land managers place a premium on maintaining a uniform, green turf, and believe weeds are a disruption or a nuisance. What may go unnoticed, however, is the benefit that weedy flowers can have in terms of supporting biodiversity, especially for pollinators. Weedy flowers often produce nectar and pollen which are collected by pollinators, including honey bees and wild (native) bees. These floral rewards are essential to the diet of bees, as nectar serves as the main source of carbohydrates in a bee's diet, while pollen serves as the main source of protein. While it is impossible to list every weedy flower that may exist in a lawn, specific flowers that are popular in lawns or are especially beneficial to pollinators are important to consider, and will be discussed. Explore the benefits of bee lawns and get the latest research on how to let your turf thrive with pollinator-friendly plants.

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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