Peter Moe, who started as a student gardener at the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum and rose to director in 2016, is retiring after nearly 50 years with the popular West Metro Plant Preserve.
It was a career that allowed her to focus on preserving the state’s rarest native plants, Moe said.
“We have such diversity. We have our prairies in the west, the evergreen forests in the north, the beautiful lakes and forests in the central part of the state, and the trout streams in the northeast,” he said. -he declares. “Each of these areas has unique plants.”
The sprawling 1,200-acre land west of Chanhassen that makes up the Arboretum, or “the Arb”, has gardens, winding paths through restored prairie, and a research center for the College of Science of the Food, Agriculture and Natural Resources (CFANS) from the University of Minnesota. ). Weather permitting, Moe could be seen for many years commuting from his nearby home.
“Pete’s goal has always been to make the Arb a garden for all Minnesotans,” CFANS dean Brian Buhr said in a press release. “His passion, leadership and commitment over decades have made that vision a reality. He has positioned the Arb to provide fun, excitement and education for generations of Minnesotans to come.”
Raised in Richfield, Moe started working at the Arboretum in 1973. While visiting there with his mother, he asked one of the workers if there were any jobs open, he recalls . He also met his wife there – Susan Moe, who worked there as a scientist and later in his library.
Under Moe’s tenure in leadership positions, the Arboretum grew to its current size, and he worked to make its trails—including the Three-Mile-Walk—accessible. Moe has helped cultivate many collections of plants, gardens, buildings and programs over the years. In 2013, he started the University’s Plant Conservation Program to preserve and restore Minnesota’s native plants, including 48 species of orchids.
Each year, the Arboretum welcomes approximately 450,000 visitors. Paid membership is at an all-time high, with over 30,000 household members. Moe credits much of the recent growth to people seeking inspiration for their own yards during the COVID pandemic.
Moe plans to stay until his replacement is found. In retirement, he said he plans to spend more time with his family and continue to learn about native Minnesota plants.
“I have been very fortunate to work in a place that has such a positive impact on the economy of this state,” he said. “One of the goals of the Arb is to inspire people. So when people go out and see the beautiful gardens, the collections of shrubs and wildflowers, people are often inspired to improve their own landscape. “