WASHBURN COUNTY -- The Spooner Agricultural Research Station Teaching & Display Garden once again had an award winning season receiving an Honorable Mention for collaboration with local community groups in the All-American Selections Landscape Design Contest.
This is the 6th consecutive year that the garden has been recognized for its educational efforts, creative landscape designs and promotion of new proven varieties of flowers and vegetables. 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 entrants in their category from across the U.S. and in Canada.
This year’s theme was “Get Social in the Garden” and was incorporated in the garden’s annual displays as well as in free educational programs, blogs, Facebook posts, and tours of the garden. To expand social opportunities, community groups were invited to be involved with Master Gardener Volunteers in planning and planting the themed All-American Selections ornamental beds. This year’s new Kids in the Garden workshop series had 50 participants in a 5-part program mid-summer. Area youth organizations were involved in learning and planting that was supervised by Master Gardener Volunteers. Geocaching was another successful social event with over 30 eager guests ranging in age from 6 to 60 using GPS devices to seek the hidden caches in the gardens. These programs were in addition to the well-attended Twilight Tour held in mid-August and the Meet Me in the Garden series held several times during the growing season.
The “Get Social in the Garden” theme expanded the visitor base of the Teaching and Display Gardens by promoting #AASWinners and Facebook websites and blog communications. The North Country Master Gardener Volunteers’ website featured a popular blog that attracted visitors throughout the growing season at www.northcountrymgv.org and Facebook posts were featured on the Spooner Agricultural Research Station’s page at www.facebook.com/spoonerag/ . In addition, community groups such as Girl Scouts, 4H-FFA and MOMS club posted photos and captions of their activities in the garden and promoted opportunities for their members to be engaged in the garden.
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 involving Master Gardener Volunteers from Burnett, Sawyer and Washburn counties.