It takes a lot of dedication and commitment to become a Master Gardener in Minnesota. That’s why Twin Cities Habitat for Humanity has partnered with them to design and help plant landscaping in every home we build in the Twin Cities. These gardeners undergo 48 hours of coursework and 12 hours of continuing education, and donate 50 hours of volunteer time their first year to become Certified Master Gardeners.
The gardeners hone their skills by working with Habitat families on the design and installation of landscaping at Habitat homes. Many of them talk about how good it feels to see the excitement of Habitat families as they work together to plan the layout and choose the plants to go in. On installation day, the family is digging in the dirt right along with the gardeners and volunteers, to install the plants that will transform the way the home looks.
A great design is wonderful, but without quality plants, no gardener can be successful. But thanks to our long-time partners at Bailey Nurseries, our gardeners, and the Habitat Homeowners they work with, have a great track record of success. For over 20 years, Bailey Nurseries has donated the plants, shrubs and trees we use to help make a house a home for a family.
The only way we could think of to make the partnerships even better was to arrange a tour of Bailey Nurseries for Lead Master Gardeners in the seven counties Twin Cities Habitat services. The tour took place on Tuesday, March 24th, and judging by the reactions of our gardeners, and the friendly folks at Bailey’s, the tour was a rousing success.
The gardeners arrived at Bailey’s at 10 a.m. and were greeted by tour leader, Production Manager Dave Gross, a 34-year employee of Bailey’s; Terri McEnaney, President of Bailey Nurseries; and her son Ryan, the Public Relations and Communications Specialist for the nursery. (By the way, Terri and Ryan represent the fourth and fifth generations of the Bailey family at the nursery, which Terri’s great-grandfather started in 1905.)
Dave’s enthusiasm was infectious as he led the gardeners through the 22-acres of green houses. Along the way he educated them on how Bailey’s propagates, grows,and prepares for market their signature plants like Endless Summer® Hydrangeas, Easy Elegance® roses, and the First Editions® collection for garden centers. It wasn’t easy to tell who enjoyed the tour more, the gardeners who got a chance to ask lots of questions and learn new tricks to make them more successful, or Dave, who got the chance to talk about his passion for plants!
Along the way, Habitat staff got a chance to talk with Terri and Ryan about the history of Bailey Nurseries and their partnership with Habitat. Both said supporting the community has always been part of Bailey’s mission. “It’s the community that has always made us successful,” Terri said, “and helping organizations like Habitat is our way of giving back. It’s part of our mission.”
Ryan said it beautifully when he said, “Yes, we’re in business, and giving back is important to us, but our real mission, why we do what we do, is to make the world a more beautiful place.” Judging from the beautiful plants, and Bailey’s generosity supporting Twin Cities Habitat, it’s easy to see why Bailey’s has been around for 110 years.
Thank you Master Gardeners for all you do to help Habitat Homeowners transform their houses into homes, and thank you to Bailey Nurseries for being so generous in supplying the homeowners and gardeners with a bounty of beautiful plants!