Gardening in Rochester, MN, doesn't require owning a backyard or hijacking a weedy verge along a public sidewalk. That's right. You don't have to be a green guerrilla to grow the tomatoes and marigolds you treasure.
Nurturing plants indoors and on balconies are excellent ways to indulge your green thumb in an apartment. Living in Rochester means you also can rent a community garden plot through the city. Community gardens are fun for socializing as well as harvesting fresh food.
You'll find plenty of places to get Spring flowers in Rochester along with veggie and herb plants. But if you are new to gardening, where can you find ideas to help you get started? Libraries are always a good starting point. If you are short on time for research, accessing the Rochester Public Library's Ask a Librarian service allows you to ask for research help, such as finding a book or articles about balcony gardening. You can request help by telephone, chat message, text or email.
You can also call, email or fax the Olmsted County Master Gardeners to ask questions, such as what kinds of plants to grow in full sun or shade. The University of Minnesota Extension Service trains the program's volunteers to help gardeners.
Another resource is the Rochester Garden and Flower Club, which holds monthly meetings, fosters networking, organizes educational tours and holds an annual plant swap event.
And don't forget to ask questions when shopping at plant nurseries. Many staff members have formal training along with lots of gardening experience.
Annuals -- the kinds of plants that survive for a single growing season -- are also called "bedding plants." Here are some local sources.
Family Tree Landscape Nursery, 2580 75th Street NW
As its name implies, this is a family-run business. Its focus is on ornamentals, including annuals. If you can't find what you want, the owners will "do our best to order it or find it for you."
Greenwood Plants, 6904 18th Avenue NW
Greenwood carries vegetable bedding plants as well as many annuals. One of their specialty plants is the Mayo Clinic Flower of Hope™, a cold-tolerant yellow Coreopsis that blooms spring through fall.
Jim Whiting Nursery & Garden Center, 3430 19th Street NW
Jim Whiting makes it super easy to create hanging baskets and floral container gardens by offering photo-illustrated combinations and plant "recipes" (lists of plants you need) from Proven Winners.
Sargent's Gardens North, 7955 18th Avenue NW
Sargent's Gardens on 2nd, 1811 2nd Street SW
Whether planting containers for your balcony or purchasing supplies for a community garden plot, Sargent's Garden Centers have what you need along with gardening information in its blog The Buzz. Also, for shoppers with young children, Sargent's offers garden classes for preschoolers at their north location once a month April through December.
Rochester Downtown Farmers Market, 323 4th Street SE
Open on Saturdays, May through October, the Farmers Market is a fun destination for purchasing bedding plants as well as fresh produce, meats, dairy goods and bakery treats.
Menards, 3000 South Broadway
On the south side of town, Menards is a good source of container planting materials, including pots as well as vegetable and ornamental bedding choices.
Walmart Supercenter, 3400 55th Street NW
The North Rochester Walmart Supercenter celebrated Earth Day with the grand opening of its lawn and garden center.
When getting to know your apartment community, you'll likely discover other residents who enjoy gardening and growing houseplants. Look, listen, learn and experiment. Remember that if your growing conditions aren't right for one kind of plant, they may be perfect for another.
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