Freddie the Gardener: MSHS Legend

This article appeared in the September/October issue of Northern Gardener, the fifth in a series of profiles of individuals who have influenced MSHS over its 150 year history.

Freddie the Gardener (Frederick Glassoe) in 1992.

Freddie the Gardener (Frederick Glassoe) in 1992.

Perhaps you remember him as “Freddie the Gardener,” hosting the Home and Garden Show on KSTP talk radio. Maybe you went with a parent to the Minneapolis Home and Garden Show and heard him entertain—and inspire—Minnesota gardeners in February. If you’re a longtime reader of Northern Gardener, you may remember his column “Garden Tips from Fred.”

Current Northern Gardener columnist Lynn M. Steiner credits Glasoe with inspiring her gardening career and recruiting her into MSHS membership. After his death in 2008, she wrote of Glasoe:

Through his numerous garden presentations, his radio show and his column, he may well be responsible for bringing in more new [MSHS] members than anyone else!

Glasoe served as the MSHS president (1984-85) and also belonged to the Men’s Garden Club of Minneapolis, the Dahlia Society, the Minnesota Orchid Society, 4H and the Hobby Greenhouse Club.

A multi-media presence, in addition to his column and radio show, he appeared on KSTP-TV, the Home and Garden Network and PBS. As Steiner wrote in 2008:

If Fred said it was time to prune rose bushes, gardeners all around the Upper Midwest reached for their pruning shears and attacked the rose bushes. When he advised planting Coreopsis ‘Moonbeam’, sales all around the Twin Cities boomed.

Glasoe was born in 1928 in Minneapolis. He graduated from Breck School and St. Olaf College and received a teaching degree from Macalester College. After beginning his teaching career at Breck School, he taught in Germany, Japan, Faribault and then settled in at the St. Paul Public Schools for 40 years.

After he retired from teaching, Glasoe was a horticultural advisor at Bachman’s Inc. and hosted photographers, tour groups and fellow gardeners at the garden he and his wife of 40 years, Elizabeth, tended. The couple also nurtured two daughters and five foster children.

In Steiner’s 2008 column, she described Glasoe’s appeal:

I don’t think it was so much Fred’s vast pool of garden knowledge that made people love him so much as his folksy, over-the-garden-fence style of giving advice. He was never condescending, and he always took the time to give even the “greenest” new gardeners thorough, well thought-out answers to their questions.

—Julie Jensen

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