An annual seminar in Rochester meant to teach people how to keep their garden beautiful was underway Tuesday evening.
The "Planting with Natives" seminar highlights what plants you need and what to do to make your garden flourish.
And, there was no need to have a green thumb to attend the 6th Annual "Planting with Natives" seminar, as the class' goal was to turn any and all people into the gardening type.
This annual seminar highlighted the fact that native plants are most effective in gardens, not just here in Minnesota, but anywhere.
The key, however, is to know which plants are native.
First of all, what's meant by “native” plants?
Native plants are plants that were here pre-European settlement that have adapted to the soils and climate of the land, the local wildlife, and sequester carbon in their roots.
Here in Minnesota, the land is mostly prairie, oak savanna, and oak woods, meaning the native plants are those that typically grow best in those type of vegetation.
"Right behind me, you can see there's little blue stem and prairie drop seed, we have milkweed for the monarchs. We're at Cascade Meadow, where they've been working to restore it to native wild plants, completely. There's all sorts of wild stuff back here. I see what looks like some cup plants or some compass plants. And butterfly weed. All sorts of good stuff," said Megan Moeller, the Communications Coordinator for Rochester Public Works Department.
And though Minnesota is known for harsh winters, don't let that scare you from starting a garden.
“Prairie seeds actually need the cold weather to germinate in the spring. The cold weather satisfies. So it's an important part of their life cycle. That's what gets them going when the weather starts to warm up they are ready to start growing,” said Moeller.
Moeller added that if you choose exotic plants over native plants, be warned: Sometimes those plants can be invasive.
When a plant is considered invasive, it means they can grow out of control, change the ground cover, and cause erosion.
Moeller also wanted Rochester residents to know they are able to apply for a grant to install a new rain garden on either residential or a 501c3 non-profit private property.
She said it's a 50% match, up to $750 dollars.
A rain garden is a depression in the landscape that's strategically placed to capture storm water runoff, allowing the water to soak into the ground where it falls, rather than moving it across the landscape, where it can pick up pollutants and carry them all over the vegetation.