As they prepare for an online version of their annual Horticulture Night, KMRS asked the West Central Research and Outreach Center’s Esther Jordan why it took so long to open the Display Gardens in Morris to the public when social distancing is not much of a problem on the vast grounds?
“We didn’t get the green light to open until the latter part of June and then, once we did, we had to put things in place,” Jordan explained. “There’s certain signage that has to be there, there’s the directional arrows for folks to follow. And we had to carefully think about how we could still protect our employees and staff that are on the farm site, because we still have that closed to the public. So we had to think about where we want to put the barricades to allow people to still turn around but still close off that part of our station to the public.”
Jordan noted that even the Landscape Arboretum was closed for a long time. This year’s Display Gardens have been scaled back about 25 percent, she said, as they did not have the staff to attend to some of the more high maintenance features like the tropical or water gardens. Videos on horticulture education will be dropping 5 p.m. Thursday, July 30 on the WCROC website and will feature a special welcome from U of M President Joan Gabel.