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Get your green thumb on: Attend a U Horticulture Day

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Cold, gray weather got you down? Get a jump on spring by attending a University of Minnesota Extension Master Gardener Horticulture Day workshop near you.

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During March and April, nearly 20 Horticulture Day events will take place across the state, each coordinated by the nearest county Master Gardener program. The workshops highlight the latest in gardening and home landscaping research and education from the University of Minnesota.

The 17th annual Let's Get Growing event will be held on March 24 at Alexandria Community & Technical College. The event is sponsored by University of Minnesota Extension Douglas County Master Gardeners. The $ registration fee includes four breakout sessions, refreshments, and lunch. Vendors galore! Door Prizes! This year we are offering TWO full two hour classes - "Turning Twigs to Trees-About Fruit Propagation" and "Garden Design Principles". Two other classes being offered are Part 1 and Part 2 sessions - "Gardening and Landscaping with Iris" and "Bulbs as a Component of the Full Season Garden." There is a class size limit of 20 for the "Turning Twigs to Trees.... It is requested that attendees bring a utility knife and heavy gloves. There is an extra charge of $2.50 for stock. Please pay this fee when registering. Other session choices include: "Dahlias"; Companion Plants: Pretty Plant Pairings"; Sedum-First ya see dem, den ya love dem"; "Frogs of our Area"; "Container Water Gardens"; "Weekend Gardener: Horticulture for Busy People"; "New Perennials for 2012"; "Your Garden Time Table"; "Winter Sowing and Seed Starting"; "Organic Lawn Care"; "Landscaping with Daylilies"; "Blueberries"; "Ornamental Grasses"; "Natural Disasters in the Garden"; "Season Extension for Northern Gardeners"; "Unwanted Invaders-Plants and other Pests"; "Hosta la Vista-The Big World of Little Hosta". Our KEYNOTE speaker is Stan Tekiela. Stan is a naturalist, wildlife photographer and the originator of the popular state specific field guides such as Birds of (state name) Field Guide and others. He has also spent over 20 years studying and photographing loons. A full agenda and registration form will be posted at www.extension.umn.edu/county/douglas. For more information call the Douglas County Extension office at 320-762-3890 or e-mail mnext-douglas@umn.edu.

"The education is fantastic--there are topics to suit just about everyone's curiosity," said Julie Weisenhorn, state director for Extension's Master Gardener program. "But the coolest thing about attending Horticulture Days is being a part of the energy and excitement of Minnesota gardeners at the end of a long Midwest winter."

Master Gardener volunteers and university horticulturists will also be on site to answer questions about new perennials for 2012, container gardening, effective composting techniques, planting with water quality in mind and many other topics. Beginners and seasoned veterans will find answers to their top gardening questions.

The University of Minnesota Extension Master Gardener program is a volunteer program that brings university knowledge and expertise in horticultural science to the public. The program is part of a national system. Educated by university faculty, Master Gardeners teach Minnesotans about consumer horticulture and environmental stewardship. They also assist with research and engage youth through gardening. Master Gardeners are active in all 50 states through the land-grant universities and colleges.

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