Garden U, an annual public educational conference on horticultural topics sponsored by the St. Croix Valley Master Gardeners Association, is planned for Saturday, March 21, at the Hudson House Grand Hotel, 1616 Crest View Drive, Hudson.

The 2020 conference, “Wildflowers, Hostas, and Bees,” includes three educational sessions, lunch, door prizes, “Garden Marketplace” vendor fair and the opportunity to purchase the books from the featured speakers.

The first session, “Searching for Minnesota’s Native Wildflowers,” is presented by author Phyllis Root and photographer Kelly Povo. They will share what they have uncovered in Minnesota woods, prairies, hillsides, lakes and bogs during their 10-year search for Minnesota wildflowers. The result is a family-friendly guidebook filled with details, clues, maps and photographs that illustrate Minnesota’s native wildflowers and how to find them.

Root has written more than 50 books for children, all published by the University of Minnesota Press, but “Searching for Minnesota’s Native Wildflowers: A Guide for Beginners, Botanists, and Everyone in Between” is her first book for adults.

Povo has been taking photographs since she was 7 years old and got her first camera by collecting 500 Bazooka bubble gum wrappers. She has been a professional photographer for more than 30 years and has exhibited in galleries and art shows across the country. Her photographs have been published on posters, calendars, note cards and in books.

The second presenter, John Hager, president of the Northern Wisconsin Hosta Society, claims that he is just a guy with a shovel. With more than 3,000 hostas and 1,500 varieties, plus daylilies, Hager’s talk “Hostas and Stuff…(not your ordinary hosta presentation)” will discuss the immense variety of hostas, hosta sports, hybridizing, growing tips, and sources of information, plus “some daylily stuff” and lots of photos.

Hager got serious about hostas 11 years ago and has been hybridizing hostas and daylilies for the last seven years. His garden is constantly evolving with the loss of many oak trees due to oak wilt.

After lunch, award-winning author Heather Holm will present “Attracting Bees and Beneficial Insects to your Fruit and Vegetable Garden.” She will focus on the importance of insect pollination and the genera of bees responsible for pollinating the fruits and vegetables we grow in both home and commercial landscapes. Holm will talk about the additional flowering plants one needs to provide to ensure that the “flower buffet” is always open to pollinators even when the fruit or vegetable plants are not in flower. Also discussed will be the beneficial insects that native flowering plants will attract and how these insects can help reduce insect pest populations in your fruit or vegetable garden.

Holm’s passion for bees started as a child exploring woodlands and prairies. Her expertise includes the interactions between native bees and native plants, and the natural history and biology of native bees occurring in the upper Midwest and Northeast. For the past few years, she has been assisting with native bee research projects.

On-site registration starts at 8 a.m., and the $40 fee includes lunch and speaker handouts. Pre-registration can be done by mail with a check payable to SCVMGA to Barrette-SCVMGA at 1358 County Road V, Houlton, WI 54082.

For more information, call 715-549-6438 or see http://scvmga.weebly.com.