For the fifth consecutive year, the Teaching & Display Garden located at the Spooner Agricultural Research Station was recognized for its educational efforts and creative landscape designs and promotion of new proven varieties of flowers and vegetables.  The first place award was given by the All-America Selections (AAS) organization in their sixth annual landscape design contest.

The award winning garden is a joint effort between the Spooner Agricultural Research Station, the Spooner Area UW-Extension Office and UW-Extension North Country Master Gardener Volunteers. The Spooner garden completed against nine other entrants in their category from across the U.S. and in Canada.

This year All-America Selections challenged the AAS Display Gardens to create a design based on the theme “Foodscaping-Interspersing Edibles in the Ornamental Garden.”  According to Kevin Schoessow, UW-Extension Agricultural Development Educator for Burnett, Washburn and Sawyer Counties, “As in the past this award was a direct result of many hours of creative work by UW-Extension Master Gardener Volunteers.” 

Being recognized as one of the top AAS Display Gardens in the nation for five consecutive years should not come as a surprise to those who have visited the Teaching & Display Garden. In addition to 100’s of varieties of annual and perennial flowers and vegetables, the garden is signed with many ‘teachable moments’ to help educate visitors.

Since 1999, Schoessow has been coordinating UW-Extension Master Gardener Volunteers to promote, foster and support horticulture education in local communities.  The Teaching & Display Garden is a center piece in their efforts.  Each year they host multiple workshops, seminars and trainings out in the garden including their annual Twilight Garden Tour in August to inspire gardeners and educate the public about gardening and plants that grow best in the area.  

A portion of this larger garden is an official All-America Selections Display Garden. AAS offer gardeners reliable new varieties of flowers and vegetables that have proved their superior garden performance in trial grounds across North America. For the contest each display garden is responsible for creating and executing the design and generating publicity surrounding the contest. The gardens must then submit proof of publicity for the designed garden and AAS Winners, as well as an overall description of their design.

The first place honor for the Foodscaping theme is the culmination of a multi-year landscape design project headed up by local UW-Extension Master Gardener Volunteers.   This spring 14 newly designed beds replaced 3 long narrow beds.  The result was a beautifully designed new series of gardens highlighting both old and new AAS Winners.   A central pinwheel garden and nearby vertical and container gardens used AAS Winners to show visitors how they could mix edibles and ornamentals in their home gardens. Spooner went one step further in their Monarch and Pollinator Sanctuary Garden and included native versions of many AAS plants.  Not only were the judges impressed with the overall designs in the gardens but also how garden staff and volunteers promoted the contest with their newsletter, workshops, events and multiple media outreach.

Other Category I winners (less than 10,000 annual visitors) were, second place, Master Gardeners Association of Tippecanoe Country, Lafayette, Indiana; third place, Kenosha County Center Display and Demonstration Garden, Bristol, Wisconsin.

Category II winners (between 10,001 and 100,000 annual visitors) were, first place, Purdue Extension Marion County Demonstration Garden, Indianapolis, Indiana; second place, Jardin Daniel A Seguin, Saint-Hyacinthe, Quebec, Canada; third place (tie), Green Bay Botanical Garden, Green Bay Wisconsin; third place (tie), Shell Park, Oakville, Ontario, Canada.

Category III winners (over 100,000 annual visitors) were, first place, Dow Gardens, Midland, Michigan; second place, Norseco at the Botanical Garden of Montreal, Montreal, Quebec, Canada; third place, Boerner Botanic Gardens, Hales Corners, Wisconsin; More information about the contest including color photos of all the contest winners can be found on the AAS website at

The Teaching & Display Garden is located on Orchard Lane one mile east of Spooner off Hwy 70.  The garden is open to the public for self-guided tours from April through October.  Group tours are available upon request.  More information can be provided by Schoessow or the Research Station staff at 715-635-3506 or 1-800-528-1914.

The University of Wisconsin Extension provides equal opportunities in employment and programming.  Requests for reasonable accommodations for disabilities should be made prior to the date of the program or activity for which it is needed.

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