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In the five short years since Minnesota Hardy was first published, University of Minnesota plant breeders have produced an abundance of new cultivars.
With apples, roses, and mums, the good news comes in threes. The newest apples— SnowSweet®, Frostbite™, and SweeTango® apples—vary in taste, texture, and purpose.
The three new hardy shrub roses produce constant bloom throughout the summer, need little winter preparation, and are memorable for their names—“Sven, Ole, and Lena”—as well as their stellar features.
The popular Mammoth™ shrub-sized mums are available in three new colors: dark bronze, lavender, and dark pink.
The first hardy ornamental grass released by the University, Blue Heaven™, is already popular with home gardeners and landscapers. New hardy blueberries and wine grapes will add more locally grown choices to our menus.
Innovations in turfgrass are destined to help expand Minnesota’s important grass seed and turf industries, and to ease maintenance of parks, athletic fields, and golf courses.
The University’s Driven to Discover℠ initiative recognizes that all of us are born with a passion to search, a fundamental need to discover. The University nurtures a thriving community for those with an overwhelming drive to teach and to learn, to research and to serve.
For the first Minnesota Agricultural Experiment Station plant breeders, the drive to discover started back in 1887 with the quest for a hardy apple. Selections came from favorite trees from “back East,” which often suffered severe winter injury or failed to ripen before a killing autumn frost. Crosses with wild Minnesota apples and the subsequent trials were primitive and time-consuming, but led to the enduring favorites, ‘Haralson’ and ‘Beacon’.
Plant breeding has expanded to encompass ornamental trees and shrubs, flowers, berries, and grasses. Now, University plant scientists collect germplasm from far-flung locales, such as native blueberries in the Adirondacks, wild grapes from Manitoba, wild apples from the Tien Shan Mountains in Kazakhstan, and hardy kiwifruit from northern China. Breeding goals go far beyond producing a hardy plant, now evaluating disease resistance, color, taste, growth habit, uses, and other differentiating features. But, the process of growing plants, making selections, and testing remains time-consuming.
“Driven to Discover” describes the University’s mission and communicates the search for knowledge and the drive to share that learning and discovery with students and the larger community. That role is vital to the state’s health, well-being, and economy.
The University began one of the earliest college horticulture programs in the United States and that program is nationally prominent today. The results number well over 400 proven hardy varieties and provide a foundation for Minnesota’s over two- billion-dollar horticultural industry, spanning the borders from Roseau grass seed growers south to Lanesboro vineyards.
Azalea trials at the University’s Minnesota Landscape Arboretum near Chanhassen.
This book divides currently available U of M cultivars into two groups: the “Garden & Landscape”section describes ornamental plants, and “Healthy Foods, Healthy Lives” describes fruits. In addition, environmental research projects demonstrate techniques to restore wetlands and lakeshores, capture urban runoff in rainwater gardens, and prevent the introduction of invasive species.
The University does not sell plant material directly to the public, but provides it to licensed propagators who then distribute it to growers, retailers, and landscapers in northern states and adjacent provinces, with some cultivars available worldwide. No one nursery carries all of the U of M introductions, but potted or bare root plants are sold at thousands of commercial nurseries and garden centers. This resource is meant to help you make informed choices, whether you want to add a few hardy shrubs and flowers to your yard, or plant hundreds of grape plants in a commercial vineyard.
In accordance with the Americans with Disabilities Act, this material is available in alternative formats upon request. Please contact your University of Minnesota Extension office or the Extension Store at (800) 876-8636.