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Master Gardener Sue Morris: Master Gardeners recap their 2022 garden successes, part one

There are currently two dozen certified Extension Master Gardener volunteers in Kandiyohi County. Morris requested information about what went well and what didn’t go as well during the 2022 growing season. For the next two weeks, she will share tidbits from those who responded.

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There are currently two dozen certified Extension Master Gardener volunteers in Kandiyohi County. I thought it would be interesting to get their input as to what they experienced during the 2022 growing year — what went well and what didn’t go as well during this second year of drought in our area. For the next two weeks, I will share tidbits from those who responded to my request.

Becky West from rural New London reported that swamp milkweed “Princess” was her best garden gift this year. She found six monarch larvae. (She had none last year). It had a beautiful long lasting flower show, wonderful fragrance and abundant pod formation that produced seeds she can share.

West reminds us that wild flowers take time to send down roots which help through seasons of drought. Princess is not wild but is still a garden treasure she values. It grows to 4 feet high and needs space. It didn’t need water beyond rain after it was established in 2021. Best of all, deer didn’t eat it — but they do eat the common milkweed. It provided monarch larvae food and a butterfly nectar source. What more can you ask of a milkweed? She gives it a strong endorsement.

Keep reading below the related content for more of this week's column from Master Gardener Sue Morris.

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Jo Holm, who lives on the north side of Green Lake, reported everything was going great for her this year — wonderful tomatoes and green beans were terrific — UNTIL she was visited by a black bear who ate everything in her garden. The bear even lifted up the gate to her garden to get ready access. He/she didn’t bother digging her garlic, though, so Holm was able to harvest a good crop of that.

The shining star in Mary Hagen’s garden this year was Salvia “Rockin Blue Suede Shoes” – a Proven Winners introduction. Mary reported that the bloom color looked like blue suede and the hummingbirds loved it. It tolerated the drought quite well. Mary lives in Belgrade.

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Deb Nelson spread the free Aster seeds from Jung around various corners in the garden. They provided great fall color and bloomed in two shades of pink, along with white and lavender.
Contributed / Deb Nelson

Deb Nelson from rural New London says she doesn’t buy a lot of new plants every year but she bought white and burgundy Wave Petunias and enjoyed them. Her Black Maple is still going strong and has a nice pink blossom. The Bees Knees petunia is a nice yellow and hung on well during the year. It was better than the white Wave which she had in the same pot.

She was pleased with the Imperial Regal Geranium. She said it is somewhat different than regular geraniums and when deadheaded it just kept blooming. She fertilizes her pots every two weeks until August. She has plans to store some of her pots over winter. She received free aster seeds from Jung and they have been great for fall color.

Kate Selseth from Willmar reports her bee balm, Mammoth sunflowers and sedum was beautiful this year. She finished with landscaping and new grass came back beautifully. She moved some sunny hanging plants into shade during the prolonged heat and this prevented sun scald. She did have some poor growth on daylilies due to the hot sun. Selseth split rhubarb in August and it took off growing within a couple weeks.

There will be more reports from area Master Gardeners next week.

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Master Gardener Sue Morris has been writing this column since 1991 for Kandiyohi County newspapers. Morris has been certified through the University of Minnesota as a gardening and horticulture expert since 1983. She lives in Kandiyohi County.

Master Gardener Sue Morris has been writing a column since 1991 for Kandiyohi County newspapers. Morris has been certified through the University of Minnesota as a gardening and horticulture expert since 1983. She lives in Kandiyohi County.
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