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Horticulture Night at WCROC

Get ready to ROC! July 29 is the annual Horticulture Night at the West Central Research and Outreach Center in Morris. These gardens were established in 1920 on the current Morris campus and were moved to their current location in 1973. Today, the gardens have grown to include plantings and research from several locations around the world. If you have never had an opportunity to attend this event, you're in for a treat. If you've attended Horticulture Night in the past, there are many new things to see.

Come early for the ice cream social and dedication and tours of the new administration building at 3:30 p.m.

Tour the annual flower gardens, which feature the 2010 flower trials, with Steve Poppe. Last year's top performing annual flowers included a variety of petunias, coleus, begonias and verbena. Come explore what's new this year. In addition, Ron Branch, Rachel Harstad and Liz Vold will lead a tour of a successful high tunnel planted with raspberries; visit the apple orchard with David Bedford to learn about northern hardy apple varieties; Dennis Drews will help you get acquainted with some Minnesota hardy lilies; and Ron Wienhold takes you on a trip down memory lane with Old Fashioned Flower Names and Legends. Garden walking tours start at 5 p.m. and last about 30 minutes.

Demonstrations encompass a variety of subjects: The Art of Topiary with Randee Hokanson; What's New in Home Food Preservation with Debbie Botzek-Linn; Raised Bed Gardening with Craig Winters; Looking Back-Looking Forward: The Role of WCROC in West Central Minnesota with Greg Cuomo and Dennis Johnson; and Growing Tomatoes with Glen Huebner.

Garden demonstrations run from 5 to 8 p.m. Subjects rotate every 45 minutes throughout the evening, so make a list of those you can't miss.

Hands-on family activities start at 5 p.m. Come to the compost corner where kids can plant their own prairie flower with Sydney Sweep, make salsa with Angie Marohl, learn about pizza gardening with Chryseis Tvedt, and make veggie racers with Kirstin Koch.

Food booths offering a variety of supper and dessert items will be open all evening. A trade show including area nurseries, businesses and educational booths will be on-site to provide you with the latest local products and information, and the Tri-State Band will begin performing at 7 p.m. 

The West Central Research and Outreach center is a "hidden" gem on the edge of the prairie. Come experience all the ROC has to offer. If you've never been to the ROC, just go to Morris and head for the large wind turbine, call Douglas County Extension at (320) 762-3890 for directions, or visit the WCROC website at Hope to see your there!

Until next time, happy gardening!

"Flowers have spoken to me more than I can tell in written words. They are the hieroglyphics of angels, loved by all men for the beauty of their character, though few can decipher even fragments of their meaning."

- Lydia M. Child