Monday, September 20, 2010

WCROC Flower Garden

Earlier this summer I participated in the 5th Annual Dragonfly Gathering, which is sponsored each year by the Minnesota Odonata Survey Project. This weekend long event brings people who are interested in Minnesota odonates together in one location. The location changes each year and this year it was held in Morris, MN.
Morris is home to the University of Minnesota Morris campus and the West Central Research & Outreach Center, which is also a part of the University of Minnesota. For the event we stayed on the UMM campus so when I arrived a bit early I went exploring and I discovered the WCROC horticulture research gardens.
WCROC and UMM where at one time the same organization. They began as the West Central School of Agriculture back in 1910. This school began to help educate the families of farmers in western Minnesota. Children would live at the facility and attend school during the six months of the year that they were not helping their family on the farm.
In 1960 the broke the West Central School of Agriculture into the UMM, a standard 4 year liberal arts college, and the West Central Experiment Station, where they continued the agricultural research.
Things stayed this way for 30 years but in 1990 the WCES decided to change their name to the West Central Research & Outreach Center. They felt that the new name would better reflect the schools mission which had changed over time. The WCROC was still focusing in the the subjects that had long been the core of the program, horticulture, crop production, and live stock, but they were also looking at new areas such as environmental, economic and social issues.
The garden is a working horticulture laboratory but it is also a show place of the WCROC's work and a great place for the community to come out and share the world that the WCROC has created. There is even a very imaginative children's garden complete with a playground and a teepee made of vegetation which is a tribute to the Native American cultures that form the history of the center.
Since I had driven out to Morris to search for odonates, dragonflies and damselflies, it was only fitting that I found spreadwing damselflies flying around the gardens. Even the damselflies were not immune to the effects of the beautiful gardens. Like many people probably have they fell in love in the gardens. Hint: look at them upside down.
Of course there was also plenty of bees and butterflies flying around also. This pink-edged sulphur took a break from drinking nectar from all of the colorful flowers, and pollinating them at the same time, to look for moisture in the soil on the path.


EG Wow said...

Wonderful photos. Love the bright sulphur drinking moisture and the mating damselflies.

Sylvia K said...

Marvelous post for the day! Love your terrific photos as always and the information/history you've included make it all the more interesting.Hope you have a great week!


KaHolly said...

Sounds like a great place. I wish they did stuff like that around here. It would be so much fun. Great photos, as always, and such an informative post. It was delightful to read through.

ρομπερτ said...

How refreshingly hopeful.

Please have a wonderful Tuesday.

daily athens

J Bar said...

Beautiful shot.
Sydney - City and Suburbs

BraCom (Bram) said...

wonderful world, nice photos

Have a nice week,
Greetings, Bram

My Word Tuesday post

Seen on My World Tuesday

Trish ~ ♥ ~ said...

what beautiful gardens, I love the ♥ dragonflies make when well...