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Published July 08, 2009, 12:00 AM

July tours inspire local gardeners

July is a very busy month for garden tours. At 11 a.m. on Saturday, July 11, Just Like Grandma’s and the Osakis Area Chamber of Commerce is sponsoring the fourth annual Flower Pots and Garden Stops.

By: By Robin Trott, Extension Educator, Alexandria Echo Press

July is a very busy month for garden tours. At 11 a.m. on Saturday, July 11, Just Like Grandma’s and the Osakis Area Chamber of Commerce is sponsoring the fourth annual Flower Pots and Garden Stops.

This event is a fundraiser for the “Quilts Along the Trail” event, which takes place in September.

A variety of gardens will be featured on this tour, including: a wildflower garden over a septic system, antiques and found objects in the garden, unique hostas, and a lakeshore restoration project incorporating native grasses and flowers.

Master gardeners will be located at each site and a watershed representative will be at the lakeshore to answer any questions. Tickets and tour maps are available at Just Like Grandma’s for $15, and include a “flower pot” lunch. For more information call (320) 859-3618.

Douglas County master gardeners are sponsoring two July garden events. The first is the Tour of Gardens on Sunday, July 12 from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

This is a unique opportunity to observe a variety of horticultural practices, themes and techniques used by local gardeners.

Visit four gardens in Alexandria and one in Farwell that include sun and shade plantings, statuary, fountains, vegetables, a birdhouse garden and a healing garden.

Tickets for the tour are $5 for all five gardens and are available at the first garden you visit. You can check out the specifics by visiting the master gardeners’ website at http://www.dcmg.info/.

Another wonderful opportunity sponsored by our Douglas County master gardeners is the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum bus tour on Thursday, July 16.

The cost for this tour is $30 per person and includes stops at the Norenberg Garden on Lake Minnetonka, Venero Gardens in Shorewood, The Minnesota Landscape Arboretum, and Kelley and Kelly in Long Lake.

The bus will load at 7 a.m. at the Kmart parking lot, and will return at approximately 5:30 to 6 p.m. For questions and to register, call the Douglas County Extension Office at (320) 762-3890.

What is a master gardener? This is a program, sponsored by the University of Minnesota to train volunteers “to work educating people in their communities about horticulture.”

Trainees are enrolled in the master gardener core course, entitled Horticulture for the Home and Garden. This class is usually offered from January through May, and is available online.

After taking the core course, master gardeners are required to work 50 volunteer hours the first year, and 25 hours annually thereafter. Volunteer hours may include:

Teaching classes and workshops.

Answering phone inquiries concerning home horticulture.

Guiding and supervising community plantings and school gardens.

Teaching and judging youth horticulture projects.

Speaking to schools and youth groups on gardening topics.

Representing the program at county and state fair exhibits.

If you’re interested in becoming a master gardener, application forms are available at the Douglas County Extension office.

Applications will be reviewed in September, and you will be notified of acceptance into the program by November. Be sure to visit our master gardener booth at the Douglas County Fair, or for more information, contact me at (320-762-3890).

Until next time, happy gardening!

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