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Spring into action: Register for Let's Get Growing workshop

The University of Minnesota Extension Douglas County Master Gardeners invite you to their annual "Let's Get Growing" workshop on Saturday, March 23 at Alexandria Technical College, Office and Information Technology Center. Register between 8 and 8:30 a.m. and also visit vendors and enjoy refreshments before the keynote speaker begins at 8:45 a.m.

Don Engebretson is this year's keynote speaker on "The Renegade Gardener." Engebretson wants to help gardeners severely limit the "staggering failure" part of the equation, and does so in his presentation, "Top 10 Gardening and Landscaping Blunders and How to Avoid Them." Engebretson says, "Gardening is America's number one leisure time activity."

To make Engebretson's list, three important criteria apply: 1.) must be a common mistake; as common as crabgrass 2.) the blunder must impart a truly gruesome effect on one's landscape and 3.) it must be a blunder that Don has made, at least twice, during his 20-plus years as a gardener.

Engebretson is a nationally recognized authority on landscaping and garden design. He has spoken frequently at industry events and many other consumer, university and trade symposiums across the U.S. He has published five books on gardening and landscaping, and is field editor and garden scout for Better Homes and Gardens. His articles have appeared in many local, regional and national magazines and newspapers. He is a six-time winner of the Garden Writers Association Garden Globe Award for Excellence in garden writing. He is the owner of Renegade Gardener Landscaping, a Hennepin County master gardener and belongs to other organizations important to the field of gardening.

Participants customize their day, choosing four sessions of interest in addition to the keynote from the many breakout sessions including: 12 Must Have Vegetables; 2013 New Perennials; Adding Season-Long Color to Your Landscape; All American Vegetable Winners; Annual and Perennial Open Chat; Apples and Other Fruit for Zone 3; Container Gardening Through the Seasons, Part I and II; Ferns, Part I and II; Flower Disease: A Public/Plant Health Perspective; Gardening with Native Plants; Ground Covers: Cooling Your Soils and No Mowing; Grow Nutritious Food Year Round: Microgreens and Sprouts; Growing Herbs in Minnesota; Healthy Lawns; Heirloom Plants from Seed to Harvest; How Plants Get their Names; Lakeshore Landscaping: Using Wildflowers and Shrubs; New Shrubs; Power and Permanence: Using Natural Stone in the Landscape; Summer Bulbs; and The Essential Gardener's Bookshelf.

This workshop has sessions to please all levels of gardeners and exciting vendors to visit and see all the latest and newest in the gardening world. Numerous door prizes will also be given.

Early-bird registration is $30 if received by March 13. Anyone interested in registering after March 13 should do so the day of the event at the door for a $35 cost. Registration includes refreshments, lunch and sessions. To register or to receive more information, contact the University of Minnesota Extension, Douglas County office by phone at (320) 762-3890 or e-mail mnext-douglas For a full brochure with registration material, visit the website and look under hot topics on the homepage. The Extension office is located in the Douglas County Service Center Building (same building as the Douglas County Library and License Bureau) located at 720 Fillmore Street in Alexandria to register in person.