In 1996, the University of Minnesota Extension Master Gardeners in Douglas County started a major garden project surrounding the lower library parking lot at the Douglas County Services Center. They built a three-tiered garden, and filled it with annuals, perennials, shrubs and trees.

Little did they know that 23 years later it would still be thriving, and master gardeners would still be working to plant and maintain a garden that beautifies our county property and informs our residents of best garden practices and plants that thrive in our Minnesota climate.

In 2018, 18 master gardeners recorded 380 hours spent in the Terrace Learning Garden weeding, removing trash, planting and labeling plants, and answering questions from interested passersby. This would not have been a successful endeavor if Douglas County had not stepped up to partner with us for watering and removing yard waste.

I personally want to thank the Douglas County commissioners and county coordinator Heather Schlangen for supporting us and making this partnership easy. I also want to recognize all those master gardeners who have spent countless hours preparing beds, selecting plants and maintaining the garden for 23 years.

If you have not had a chance to visit the garden, make sure to stop by; there's something blooming throughout the growing season. Currently the peonies are in full bloom, and the annual plants have just been put in the ground.

Throughout the season, you will see flowering trees and shrubs, a variety of annual flowers and many, many flowering perennials, including sun loving aster, veronica, liatris, clematis, phlox, salvia, campanula, astilbe, primrose and echinacea; and shade loving hosta, ferns and bleeding heart.

The garden is in front of the Douglas County Library at 720 Fillmore St. in Alexandria. If you come Thursdays from 10 a.m.-noon, you will see master gardeners working in the garden who are eager to answer your questions as they work. Come for a visit, and if you like what you see, thank your county commissioners for supporting University of Minnesota Extension in Douglas County.

If you are interested in becoming a master gardener, our fall recruitment begins in September. Call the office at 320-762-3890 to get on the mailing list, or email me at and I will pass your name onto our membership committee.

It's not too late to complete our horticulture needs survey. Visit to complete the 10-minute survey. Complete the survey before July 4 to be eligible to win an aluminum garden tool set from AM Leonard Company.

If you have yard and garden questions, contact me, or visit our master gardener booth Saturdays from 9 a.m.-noon at the Alexandria Farmers Market at Big Ole Park.

Until next time, happy gardening!