“Gardening has been part of my life since my grandmother had my sisters and I weeding in the heat and humidity on her farm among rows of green beans, carrots, cabbage and peppers that seemed miles long,” says Annette Roth, a Society level member of MSHS. “In summer, she would talk about how good the veggie du jour would be at lunch and in winter she would remind us of the hard work we did over summer.”
Annette has never been far from gardening. She grew up in Victoria, near the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum, where her father worked at the Horticultural Research Center. She worked at the arboretum during college and had the opportunity to meet Arboretum co-founder, Leon Snyder. Working at the arboretum, she realized how challenging growing in cold climates was and the value of education for northern gardeners.
That is one reason she supports MSHS as a member, volunteer and Heirloom Circle member. “Your magazine tells the truth about those challenges,” she says. “I know when I read about a plant in Northern Gardener, it’s going to work in my garden.”
Annette has experience with milder climates. She and her husband lived in California and Arizona before moving back to the Twin Cities in 2006. “California? Ha! You can grow anything there, all year round. They have no idea,” she says. The West Coast also lacked community gardens and an emphasis on sustainable gardening. “The hort society is so good at modeling sustainable gardening and the value of growing together,” she says. “We have to support agencies that are looking out for our children and grandchildren.”
Annette and her husband’s move back to Minnesota coincided with the planting of a garden at her sister’s church, which was supported by Minnesota Green. After joining MSHS, Annette volunteered at the Minnesota State Fair and the Minneapolis Home and Garden Show, which she says gave her a deeper sense of community and an opportunity to share ideas that provide inspiration for her Robbinsdale gardens.
“I’m planting lots of raspberries, dahlias, clematis, roses (the old-fashioned varieties), hostas and as many veggies as I can fit,” she says.
Annette decided to include the society in her estate plan by joining the Heirloom Circle two years ago. As a fundraiser for St. Mary’s University, she understands the value of philanthropy. “Giving back makes communities work,” she says. “We are all in this together.”
This article originally appeared in the November/December 2021 issue of Northern Gardener.