Board of Directors
Laura Wagner, chair
Laura earned a BS degree in Education from Drake University and MBA from the University of St. Thomas. She grew up at her family’s business, Wagners Greenhouses in Minneapolis, and is part of the fifth generation of the family working at the greenhouse. Laura has worked at Wagners full time since 2008 and specializes in marketing. She enjoys taking care of flower beds and a large vegetable garden with her husband at their Shakopee, MN home. Her favorite plants are begonias because they are so versatile and easy to care for.
Mary Marrow, secretary
A senior attorney with the Public Health Law Center at Mitchell Hamline School of Law, Mary works on legal and policy initiatives to increase access to healthy food and physical activity nationally. Before joining the Public Health Law Center, she was a public interest practitioner for over 12 years, focusing on poverty law, international human rights and environmental advocacy. In 2010, Mary worked with the Center for Public Interest Law in Accra, Ghana, through a fellowship sponsored by the Environmental Law Alliance Worldwide, conducting a comparative study of mining practices and the effectiveness of environmental regulations in the U.S. and Ghana. She also served in the Peace Corps in Togo, West Africa, and managed a crisis shelter for the homeless in Alaska. Mary is an avid gardener and outdoor enthusiast.
Del Hampton, treasurer
Born in the St. Paul's Rondo neighborhood, Del is now a longtime resident of Prospect Park. An avid gardener and community organizer, he specializes in setting up and operating community and giving gardens. When he was in third grade, his family moved to a five-acre lot in Woodbury, MN, at a time when it was rural and the first model homes were under construction. After a career in financial services, Del pursued his passion for gardening and became a University of Minnesota Extension Master Gardener in Hennepin County. He served two terms as chair of their Community Programs Committee and developed their Community Garden Support practice. He is currently co-founder and coordinator of the multi-site Prospect Park Community Gardens, and was recently appointed to the State Advisory Board of the University of Minnesota Extension Master Gardeners. He is also a member of the American Dahlia Society.
Dr. Mary Meyer
Mary manages the Grass Collection at the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum and was a professor in Horticultural Science at the University of Minnesota for many years where she got her PhD studying grasses. She gardens in Plymouth, MN on a shady 1/3 acre plot and likes to grow vegetables in community gardens and try out local Community Supported Agriculture with local farmers. Although she loves grasses, Magnolia grandiflora and Ginkgo biloba are two of her favorite plants.
As Executive Director of The Good Acre, Rhys develops programs that connect farmers, food makers and communities through good food. He believes the key to strengthening the Twin Cities food system is giving a voice to and creating market opportunities for independent, minority and immigrant farmers. Having worked in nearly every aspect of the food system, he understands what it takes to grow and distribute local food. Growing up in Blind River, Ontario and then the suburbs of Chicago, Rhys earned a degree in Landscape Architecture from Mississippi State University. He served in the Peace Corps in Kenya in the 80’s and relocated to Minnesota in the early 90’s, where he lives with his wife and two daughters.
Mike has worked in both public and private horticulture. He spent the first 15 years of his career at the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum. In 1985, he and his wife Jean opened Ambergate Gardens, a niche perennial nursery. Now retired, Mike spends his time lecturing, writing and consulting on issues related to gardening in northern regions. He is the author of Perennials A to Z, a series of articles originally published in Minnesota Horticulturist, and coauthor of Growing Perennials in Cold Climates, a gardening book written specifically for the colder regions of this country. Mike served as Central Region Director of the Perennial Plant Association from 1988 to 1994, and he remains active in numerous plant societies and trade organizations related to perennial flowers. He received the Quill & Trowel Communication Award from the Garden Writers Association, the Special Service Award from MNLA and a Service Award from the Perennial Plant Association.
Growing up on a farm in southern Minnesota, Judy experienced the joys of gardening at a young age and grew to understand the importance of stewardship of the land. This background has carried forward in her adult life and is manifested in her love of gardening and concern for the environment. She has been a member of MSHS for almost 25 years and is currently a member of the Garden Club of Ramsey County and also the Saint Paul Garden Club. She earned a degree in art at the College of St. Benedict and pursued a career in advertising, marketing and design. Now retired, she has more time to enjoy her passion for gardening.
A fourth-generation farmer, Deb fell in love with plants and soil at a young age. She grew up in a small farming community in northwest Minnesota and learned to garden from her dad and grandparents. After earning an AAS degree in Landscape/Horticulture and a BS in Plant Industry Management from the University of Minnesota in Crookston, she owned a greenhouse and landscaping business and then managed the greenhouse at Rice Creek Gardens. In 2000, she began teaching at Hennepin Technical College, where she currently leads the Horticulture/Greenhouse program. Deb loves teaching the art and science of plant production and has developed curriculum to support growers of all ages and abilities. A hands-on instructor, she believes "people need to get their hands dirty to learn!" Taking her own mantra to heart, she tends a large garden where she can grow what she teaches.
An MSHS member for 20+ years, Renay loves connecting with gardeners. She grew up gardening with her mom and grandma and remembers them taking her swimming in a nearby lake after weeding the vegetable garden on hot summer days. "Not everyone was as fortunate as I was to grow up with an appreciation for and grounding in gardening," Renay says. She believes everyone should have the opportunity to learn about plants and growing. After considering a career as a concert pianist, she chose to go into real estate law, nonprofit work and government land management. When she's not working, Renay enjoys quilting, weeding and walking in nature.