MSHS Members Embrace Winter & Gardening

“Living in Minnesota in winter, it’s so wonderful to pick up the magazine and see some color,” says Jean Mueting, a dedicated MSHS member and reader of Northern Gardener since 1976. She, her husband Don and their 13-year-old rescue dog Bella are also dedicated to staying in the northlands in their retirement. “We are here for the duration,” Jean says. “There are so many advantages to living here—frigid weather and all.”

two older gardeners in hats

Jean and Don are in Minnesota for the long haul.

Jean grew up in Nebraska on a large suburban property, where her parents grew their own food and had lots of farm animals. “That’s just how things were done back then,” she says. She learned a love of gardening from her paternal grandmother, helping harvest her grandmother’s huge potato patch. “When you’re a kid, it’s fun to a point. I sure appreciate those early lessons now, though,” she says.

Jean and Don moved into an old house in St. Paul in 1972, when Don started a new job. The property had a beautiful, established garden. “Lots of peonies and roses—we killed ourselves maintaining those gardens,” she says. Although childhood lessons in gardening helped, Jean and her husband had careers and it was hard to find the time to garden. After 5 years, they moved to their current home in Eagan. Now retired, they were excited to plan their own space, and worked with a designer from Dundee Nursery to establish a pollinator garden. After losing backyard elm trees, Don put in raised vegetable beds. “No chickens, but we are growing food,” says Jean.

Jean, who is the president of the Eagan Garden Club, doesn’t claim to be a gardening expert, but she is frequently asked for planting advice from her neighbors. She was pleased to see the New Gardener bundles offered in the online MSHS store, so she purchased some for her young neighbors. “If you have a new family moving in, they need help to get started,” says Jean. “I thought that the bundles might spur them on!”

Jean and Don became hort society donors in 2021. “We just started talking and there are some places that make a difference,” says Jean. “We’re gardeners and thought the hort is local and needs our support.”

This article originally appeared in the March/April issue of Northern Gardener.

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