Master Gardener volunteers dedicate many of their volunteer hours to beautification projects throughout the county. In some cases, several Master Gardeners join together to plant, weed and water at specific sites such as the Northland Arboretum in Brainerd, the Pelican Woods Cemetery and Nature Trail in Breezy Point. Other times, they work individually adding beauty to our surroundings such as the work that was done at the Lions Memorial Gardens at Camp Vanasek by Whipple Beach in Baxter.

Berrywood Park Project in Baxter
Phase One of the Berrywood Park project, was completed May of 2012, and was part of Crow Wing Power’s Greentouch Program. In past years Crow Wing Power partnered with Mille Lacs Electric to clean-up the Cuyana Parks, and also sponsored work at the Crow Wing State Park. Crow Wing Power’s 2012 focus was shifted to landscaping and planting.

During the winter of 2011-2012 Crow Wing Power worked out a partnership with Baxter Parks and Trails Department for potential projects. After a few sites were visited, those involved decided to go with the Berrywood Park site. Cindi Parduhn from Crow Wing Power brought in the Brainerd Area Girl Scouts, which provided a lot of eager helpers to actually carry out the project. Jackie Froemming from the Crow Wing County Extension office worked up a landscaping plan, provided guidance throughout the initial stages of the project and also brought in Crow Wing County Master Gardeners to help the Scouts the day of the planting.

After some rain overnight, the weather on Saturday, May 19 morning was about perfect. 41 people signed in to work and when the dust settled, 50 dwarf bush honeysuckle shrubs and 12 rose bushes were planted, 270 interlocking paver blocks were put in place surrounding the new perennial bed and a mountain of mulch was distributed over the new planted area. To maintain the area, the Girl Scouts visited the site on a regular basis during the growing season.

Beautification of our cities: Crosslake in Bloom and Brainerd in Bloom
Crow Wing County Master Gardeners and other community partners were involved in campaigns that promoted the beautification of our cities through the use of plants. “Crosslake in Bloom” and “Brainerd in Bloom” were developed to promote the beautification of these cities, as well as to encourage environmentally-friendly gardening practices, such as native landscape design and to also recognize our citizens’ efforts to beautify their sites.

Garden at Immaculate Heart of Mary Catholic Church in Crosslake
In late winter of 2010, six women, two of them certified Master Gardeners, began planning a garden for the Immaculate Heart of Mary Catholic Church in Crosslake. The land was behind Our Lady’s Chapel in the back of the Church. It was weedy, hard sand, and very sunny.

The group decided that the funding would come solely from donations. They spoke to church groups and advertized the project in church bulletins spreading the word about what the garden could be.

Then the real work began as a farmer delivered 14 truckloads of enriched soil. Berms were constructed around the edge of the garden. Rocks were hauled and paths were laid out. The women asked for help from husbands and people who could drive bobcats. Holes for fence posts were dug and a fence to thwart the deer was installed. Mulch was donated by Crow Wing Power.

The group planned, worked and requested donations of plants from people’s gardens. The group also joined the Minnesota Green Program and drove to Brooklyn Center for donated plants.

The response from people was wonderful… a birdbath was donated and birdhouses were put up. An arbor gate was put in and bushes, roses and small trees were planted. Two rain barrels were installed. The garden bloomed!

In late fall, 175 bulbs were planted in anticipation of a colorful spring. It is the hope of all who worked on this garden that it will be a destination for anyone who wants to enjoy the beauty of nature and the peace that it brings.

Paul Bunyan Scenic Byway
The Paul Bunyan Scenic Byway is located on 54 miles of stunning scenery through the cities of Pequot Lakes, Breezy Point, Crosslake, Manhattan Beach, Pine River, Jenkins and the Townships of Wilson, Pelican, Mission, Timothy, Barclay, Gail Lake, Jenkins and Ideal.

In 2006, a total of 14 interpretative kiosks were installed along the Paul Bunyan Scenic Byway route. In 2009 the Paul Bunyan Scenic Byway Association contacted the CWC Master Gardeners for assistance with landscaping and maintenance of these kiosks.

Responding to a request in 2007, six Master Gardeners agreed to “take over” three of these kiosks – “Old Grade Road Kiosk” on County Road 1, “Chiarella Forest Management Area Kiosk” on County Road 11 and “Breezy Point City offices Kiosk” on County Road 11. Photos of these three kiosks (prior to any work done by Master Gardeners) are posted below.

Horticulture Building at County Fairgrounds
It all started in 2007 with the construction of a pergola for the booth area used by the Master Gardeners during the county fair. In the summer of 2008 many more additional improvements were made to the entire inside area of the building where the horticulture exhibits are displayed, including making and painting the display tables and shelves, the upgrade of the water feature and the addition of much needed exhaust fans.

Flower Planters at Gregory Park in Brainerd
For the first time in 2007, flower planters at Gregory Park were planted and maintained by several Master Gardeners.

“Weed & Clean Day” at the Brainerd Public Library
Many Master Gardeners participated in the “Weed & Clean Day” at the Brainerd Public Library in 2007 and then again in 2009.

Pelican Woods Cemetery and Nature Trail in Breezy Point
Pelican Woods Cemetery is all about nature. Walking the trail around the perimeter of the property is a good way for visitors to breathe deep and relax. The Trail Stations have been designed to enhance the natural beauty of this unique setting; visitors find familiar and unfamiliar trees, flowers and greenery which grow well in Northern Minnesota’s harsh climate.

The cemetery is owned and managed by the City of Breezy Point, led by a group of volunteers on the Cemetery Commission. Landscape gardens were planned and developed by a team of Crow Wing County Master Gardeners, and had worked together on the project since 1999. While mowing, fertilizing, and “heavy” landscape maintenance work was handled by a contract employee, volunteers were there weekly for maintenance and planting sessions. At least one Master Gardener was on site to guide volunteer activities during the weekly work sessions, and plantings are well cared-for throughout the summer.

Gardens at the Crow Wing County Fairgrounds
Each year thousands of visitors come to the Crow Wing County Fair. Many of the plants for the containers and the Heirloom Vegetable Garden are grown at the Brainerd Community Agriculture Center. Master Gardeners, along with a group of ninth graders, help with the planting in the spring. A Master Gardener coordinates the entire project which includes container plantings outside each of the many buildings on the fairgrounds, a vegetable garden, and a perennial garden with places for visitors to sit and relax while visiting the fair.

“Weekly Weeders” at the Northland Arboretum in Brainerd

For several years now the “Weekly Weeders”, a group of local Master Gardeners and other volunteers, have been meeting one morning each week to volunteer at the Northland Arboretum, a 500-acre site located in the heart of the Brainerd Lakes Area.

Memory Garden at Northland Arboretum in Brainerd
The Memory Garden at the Northland Arboretum is completed thanks to the hard work of several Master Gardeners. The Landscape Technology Class, along with several Master Gardeners, designed and installed a waterfall, bridge, pond, adjoining flower beds, pathways and a paved sitting area to complete the Memory Garden. The garden is composed of three tiers of boulders that expand more than 90 feet. Master Gardeners have been planning, planting, and maintaining the tiered area for several years. Hundreds of visitors stop at the garden, many to relax and reflect on loved ones they have lost. An irrigation system was installed in 2009.

Lions Memorial Gardens at Camp Vanasek in Baxter

The Baxter Lions Memorial Gardens is located at Camp Vanasek on Whipple Lake in Baxter. From 2007 to 2014, a Crow Wing County Master Gardener volunteered many hours at this particular site.

Other Community Beautification Projects – Past and Current:
Gazebo Gardens at Northland Arboretum in Brainerd
Boy Scout’s Secret Garden at Northland Arboretum in Brainerd
Tyron Hills’ Planters in Brainerd
St. Christopher’s Catholic Church in Nisswa
Gardens at American Legion in Nisswa
Pine Grove Cemetery – a pioneer cemetery in St. Mathias Township
Woodland Good Samaritan Village in Brainerd
Bethany Good Samaritan Village Healing Garden in Brainerd