The lone voice of horticultural reason

 Jeff Gillman’s Website (and Jeff in General) 

If I had to do it all over again, I’d be Jeff Gillman. OK, Jeff Gillman but with my memories of touring in punk rock bands in the 70s and 80s. Jeff is an Associate Professor in the Department of Horticultural Science at the University of Minnesota, and he has more fun teaching, reading, writing and ranting about gardening than a good ol’ southern boy inexplicably ensconced in the North Star State should be allowed.

He’s a rising star at the University and around the country, and here this young punk is, teaching at the St. Paul horticulture campus of the school I attended about the time he was born. Of course, majoring in Journalism, I hung out on the real campus, Minneapolis, with all the hip students who smoked and read Vonnegut and frequented the Dinkytown bars, where we waxed profound into the wee hours discussing Thoreau, Camus, Ayn Rand and that hotty with the halter-top in our afternoon photography class.

I never set foot on the St. Paul agriculture campus, no cool person did. That was where the future sheep breeders and corn growers went to class. No reason to hang out there, everyone was in bed by eight o’clock, since they had to be up at four-thirty to milk the cows. Years later, I took the Master Gardener training at the U of MN, held on the St. Paul campus, and had my first, “If only I could do it all over” moment (the first of many, I might add).

So I first met Jeff and heard him speak maybe 15 years ago, when he gave a talk on using garden chemicals during my Master Gardener training. I had not yet morphed fully into the Renegade Gardener, but if there’s anyone who impressed me early on with the pleasing combination of plain talk, hard facts, and mirthful enjoyment of gardening, it was Jeff.

So start with his website and take it from there. Most of his work, research and books span all growing zones. Click on “Projects” and “Links” for some fun fall/winter diversion, and be sure to visit Garden Ranter Susan Harris’s blog, Sustainable Gardening, and click on the You Tube video, “A Visit to the Garden Center with Jeff Gillman.” That link is right here.

Don Engebretson
The Renegade Gardener