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Looking ahead to a beautiful year…..

Protect Our Waterways

Grow Beautiful Water Gardens While Keeping Our Waterways Healthy

By Melinda Myers

We’re lucky to be living in Wisconsin, a state filled with beautiful lakes and waterways. Adding water gardens and ponds to our landscape is a way to bring a bit of this natural beauty and the wildlife it attracts to our backyards. Whether planting your own or advising others, it’s important to select the right plants and manage them properly to ensure you grow beautiful water gardens while also protecting our waterways and lakes.

Filling water features with native plants is the first step in growing success and keeping our waterways safe. For tips, lists and information on Wisconsin native water plants read the online brochures What’s in your Water Garden and Great Lakes Water Garden Plants and be sure to watch our video: Avoid Invasive Plants When Growing a Water Garden.

Always purchase plants from a local reliable source. Avoid online sources that sell restricted and invasive plants that should not be grown in our water gardens, ponds and lakes.  

Avoid aggressive plants when adding a few non-natives to extend the bloom time and beauty of a water garden. These plant bullies can crowd out their neighbors and increase time spent on maintenance. 

Invasive and nuisance plants tend to start growing earlier and keep growing later in the season, giving them an advantage over our native plants. These plants reproduce easily and rapidly take over a disturbed area, crowding out native plants and disrupting the natural balance needed to support our pollinators and wildlife.

Help prevent the spread and future infestations. Don’t share plants with others or release them into our waterways and lakes. You may be passing along invasive species or problems for them to manage. Instead remove and destroy any aggressive, invasive and restricted plants from your water features and ponds. Seal these plants in a plastic bag, label as “Invasive, approved for disposal by WDNR,” and throw them in the trash.  

If you discover an invasive species in your pond or nearby waterway let the Wisconsin Department of Natural resources know so they can contain and manage the problem. And if you are interested in volunteering to help control these unwanted plants email

So please join me in protecting our valuable lakes and waterways. Together we can make a difference!

Melinda Myers is the author of numerous books, including Small Space Gardening. She hosts The Great Courses “How to Grow Anything” DVD series” DVD series and the nationally syndicated Melinda’s Garden Moment TV & radio program. Myers web site is

Photo credit Melinda Myers

Fighting the Pandemic

We’re sorry to announce that ALL of our programing must be put on hold for the foreseeable future, per the Wisconsin Master Gardener program and UW Extension, while our state and country work to defeat the coronovirus pandemic. This means we must cancel all monthly general membership meetings, Coffee Talks at the Libraries, Spring Plant Sale in May, Ask a Master Gardener booths at the farmer’s market, AND work at our gardening projects around the county.

This last one is really hard for us. It means that the gardens we design and care for in Rapids, Nekoosa, Port Edwards, Marshfield, Pittsville, Rome, Rudolph, Vesper may look very neglected this year, depending on how long social restrictions are required. This includes gardens at South Wood County Museum, Wildwood Zoo, Wisconsin Rapids Zoo, Pittsville Historical Society, Lester Libraries around the county, Edgewater Haven, Wakely House grounds, Marshfield Fairgrounds, Lowell Center Gardens, Heart of Wisconsin Chamber of Commerce, and more.

We will be exploring ways to offer educational topics through our website and Facebook pages and to staff our Horticultural Hotline. So stay tuned!

We’ll figure out a new way to talk!