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Landscape

Green Thumb: The Master Gardener Program

Meet North Dakota’s Master Gardener Program. This program puts its heart and soul into beautifying our state and researching just how to do that. Read all about them and how you can turn your own garden into a work of art.

On the corner of 12 Avenue N and 18 Street N is an extensive assemblage of colorful flora, regional plants and cultivars. 

This impressive garden on NDSU’s campus is just one of the many projects upkept by The North Dakota Extension Master Gardener Program. Master Gardner programs are organizations that provide intensive horticulture training to those interested in gardening. This program trains its students to be volunteers in the community; giving lectures, creating and upkeeping gardens, conducting research and more. 

Heading the program at NDSU is Esther McGinnis, NDSU Extension Specialist and Associate Professor. She is encouraging of people of all ages and interests to reach out and learn more about gardening in this region of the country. The Master Gardener program periodically holds events and gardening workshops that the public can attend to learn more. To enjoy their work in person, a number of their projects are open to the public, such as the sensory garden at the Red River Zoo or the NDSU Horticulture Research and Demonstration Gardens on campus. 

This program is involved in a number of different initiatives. A new and exciting program they have been working with is about therapeutic horticulture. McGinnis shared, “I don’t think people understand the health benefits of working with plants. Studies show that gardeners score higher in all major health indicators.” The research community has just begun to understand how plants help our health and are planning ways to implement these studies to help people, whether that be gardening or just surrounding yourself with plants at home. 

This program is incredible for the community and for those involved. Their research and beautification of the community is something we can all benefit from. If you’re not ready to become a Master Gardener, but you still want to be involved, we’ve compiled some information from their research to help you create the brightest garden on the block. 

Plan your Garden

Perennials

What are perennials?

A perennial plant is one that lives for more than two years. Perennials are often are used in troublesome spots in the yard, like areas that are too wet, dry, shady or have infertile soil. These types of plants are great for naturalizing a space or defining a planting bed. Note this North Dakota season’s of bloom schedule to plan your garden to be in full bloom no matter what month it is. 

Seasons of Bloom

May to June
Bleeding heart
Bugleweed
Cranesbill
Fleabane
Gas plant
Iris
Peony
Snow-in-Summer
Violet

June to July
Alumroot
Bellflower
Delphinium
Goatsbeard
Sage

July to August
Achillea “Angels Breath”
Bee Balm
Bigleaf Goldenray
Cardinal Flower
False dragonhead
Prairie coneflower

August to September
Aster
Boltonia
Stonecrop

Extended Season of Bloom
Black-eyed Susan
Blanket Flower
Blazing Star
Common Yarrow
Columbine
Daylily
False sunflower, Oxeye
Garden Pink
Golden Flax 
Goldenrod
Hosta / Plantain lily
Prairie Phlox
Purple coneflower
Speedwell 
Stonecrop
Sundrops/ Primrose
Tickseed

Annuals

What are annuals?

An annual plant is one that completes its life cycle within one growing season and then dies. This means that they must be replanted each season you desire them. Often known as bedding plants, annuals supply beautiful pops of color and can be less expensive than perennials. Below is a guide to annuals for your North Dakota garden. 

Plants for Shade
Begonia
Coleus
Dahlberg Daisy (light shade)
Garden Balsam
Lobelia (light shade)
Forget-Me-Not
Nemesia (light shade)
Nemophila (light shade)
Flowering Tabacco
Nigella
Pansy
Poppy (light shade or east shade)
Torenia (light shade)

Plants for Full Sun/Dry Locations
Blanket Flower
Calendula
California Poppy
Coneflower
Creeping Zinnia
Dusty Miller
Lisianthus
Mexican Sunflower
Moss Rose
Spider Flower
Statice
Verbena
Vinca

Plants for a Striking Flower Show
Alyssum
Cannas
Dianthus
Dahlberg Daisy
Geranium
Marigold
Moss Rose
Petunia
Salvia
Snapdragon
Verbena
Zinnia

Good for Cut Flowers
Dahlias
Dianthus
Fountain Grass
Gladiolus
Gomphrena
Lisianthus
Snapdragons
Statice
Sunflower
Zinnia

Plants that Attract Pollinators
Alyssum
Cosmos
Lantana
Pentas
Spider Flower
Sunflower
Verbena
Zinnia

*Information from Annual and Perennial Flowers for North Dakota, revised by Barb Laschkewitsch and Esther McGinnis. 
Visit ag.ndsu.edu/mastergardener to learn more.

 

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