July 10, 2003 at 3:29 p.m.
In 2002, the Chisago County Master Gardeners began a 10-year project with the Chisago County Fair Board to design gardens at the Chisago County fairgrounds. Our goal was to be more visible to fairgoers and have a hands-on demonstrations area. The plan is to develop one new demonstration garden each year.
The primary purpose of these gardens is to serve as a hands-on educational resource, providing areas for plant identification and instruction to residents of Chisago County and East Central Minnesota. During the County Fair these gardens will serve as outdoor classrooms where the Master Gardeners can answer questions and present workshops.
Last year we began developing perennial, herb and vegetable gardens at the log building restored by the Chisago County Historical Society. Plant materials for the gardens were provided by donations from Bailey's, Bachmans and the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum, through the Minnesota Green Program (administered by the Minnesota State Horticultural Society), Mannion's Greenhouse, Wayne's Nursery and many Master Gardeners. We presented several outdoor classes, displayed container gardens and examples of raised beds.
In 2003 we are continuing to develop the gardens surrounding the Historical Society log building to include more perennials, focusing on heirloom varieties and installing a split rail fence. We have also added two lily display beds at the entrance to the 4-H building and are in the process of creating a rock garden at the 4-H building.
Plans for future years include handicapped/raised bed gardens, an area demonstrating native grasses, a wildlife/prairie garden, additional perennial and annual gardens, water/wetland gardens, a children's garden, a power line planting, septic mound landscaping, and a rose garden.
The Master Gardeners were successful in obtaining a grant from the ECE Round Up program to assist with the funding of this year's projects. We expect to utilize donations of goods and services from local business, organizations and individuals within the county and East Central Minnesota, in addition to our own fundraising efforts.
Please be sure to stop by our tables and tent at the Historical Society log building during the fair. Workshops that will be presented free of charge during the fair include creating a rock garden (Fri. at 5 p.m. and Sat. at 2 p.m., herb gardening (Sat. 11 a.m.) and Food Preservation (Sat. at 5 p.m. and Sun. at noon). Master Gardeners will be on hand every day to answer other questions or concerns that you may have.