CO-Horts Blog

Friday, February 2, 2018

Super Bowl LII: Minnesota "nice" in so many ways

Posted by: Alison O'Connor, Larimer County Extension

The Super Bowl is Sunday, February 4. Because my beloved Vikings missed playing in the game due to an unfortunate showing in Philadelphia (it still stings), I couldn't care less about the two teams competing for the Vince Lombardi trophy. But since the great state of Minnesota is hosting Super Bowl LII (52), I am super excited for many reasons.
Yes, I'm a proud Minnesotan, now living in Colorado. My roots run deep and am I fierce to defend anyone who remarks about our northern accent, hotdish or how we play Duck, Duck, GRAY DUCK. For those who need a Minnesota primer, read this blog posted by Surly Beer. It's a great state, filled with great people...and mediocre sports teams. But the entire state seems to be a'buzz with excitement over the Super Bowl. Even the Minneapolis mayor, Jacob Frey, has gotten into the action (all in good jest, Eagles fans!).

My family and I have been texting all week about stories and facts about the Big Game. It's supposed to be the coldest Super Bowl on record (Sunday's high is 9 degrees), so it's a good thing it will be a balmy 70 degrees inside the U.S. Bank Stadium. No worries about Tom Brady further injuring his fingers or hand due to frostbite.
U.S. Bank Stadium in downtown Minneapolis
A couple weeks ago, my brother, Jeffrey (the one who works at Bailey Nurseries), casually mentioned that one of Bailey's introduced plants, the Endless Summer BloomStruck hydrangea is the official flower of the Super Bowl. Say whaaaaat!? How cool is that! It's the first year for the "official flower" status.
Endless Summer BloomStruck hydrangea (photo courtesy of Bailey Nurseries)
Bailey's headquarters are in Newport, Minnesota and it's a fifth generation family-owned business. While they have nurseries in Oregon (where Jeffrey works), Washington and Illinois, they have been a stable contributor to Minnesota's horticultural economy for 110 years.

Alas, bigleaf hydrangeas, like BloomStruck and Endless Summer, don't grow very well in dry Colorado, but it is a fantastic plant in its own right, with pink or violet-blue flowers, depending on pH. I love that the Super Bowl is using this plant, because the purple flower color is also a nod to Minnesota's favorite musical son, Prince. (Did you know there are Vegas odds on whether Justin Timberlake will perform a Prince song during the halftime show?)

The Nord Farm crew in Cottage Grove grew 3,500 BloomStruck plants to place around the stadium. There's even a rumor that there will be a living plant wall, stacked high with purple and pink hydrangeas. The plants were delivered earlier this week, after weeks of being babied in the greenhouse to get them to flower perfection. They look great!
BloomStruck hydrangeas at the Nord Farm production greenhouses
So whether or not you cheer for the Eagles or Patriots, or simply watch just for the commercials, pay attention to see if you can spot BloomStruck among the crowds. And if you want to bake a hotdish in addition to your guacamole, I can provide you with recipes. Yay Minnesota!


  1. Right on daughter Alison! I am attending Jeff's Super Bowl Party (in Oregon) and providing Tater-Tot Hotdish and cheese curds in support of his MN theme. It's hard to find cheese curds in Oregon. Bailey's plants are superb; the stadium will look stunning decked with BloomStruck!

  2. Fun article! Thankfully our enormous Minnesota mosquitoes don't like 0 degree temperatures! Ope! :)

  3. NORTH!!
    Cheese curds at King Soopers! We're enjoying them in purple with nettle embroidery

  4. Thanks for that education. Bring on those recipes. And go Patriots. Make Minnesota shine!