Chapter Chat - May 2023

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Next Chapter Meeting
Learning Garden Update
Education Garden Update
Community Volunteers
Gardenfest 2023 - Update
Upcoming Events
Volunteer Opportunity
WCMGA DEI (Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion) Committee
Book Review
Tuesday, May 2, 2023
7:00 - 8:00 PM PDT - Free Webinar, Open to All
Registration Required
8:00-9:00 PM PDT - Members Meeting
Conserving Our World, One Plant at a Time

Approved for 1 hour of Master Gardener Education Credit

Dr. Lauri Reinhold will give an overview of the National Clonal Germplasm Repository (NCGR) in Corvallis and the clonally propagated collections conserved there. Dr. Reinhold is the Temperate Fruit and Nut, Hops and Mint curator at the USDA Agricultural Research Service (ARS) NCGR.

Dr. Nahla Bassil will describe what we learn from using the DNA tools her team develops with examples in black raspberry, blackberry, mint, blueberry, strawberry and pear. Dr. Bassil is a Plant Geneticist at the NCGR with a primary focus on DNA marker development and application to genetic resources management.

The ARS is the USDA’s chief scientific in-house research agency. Their mission is to deliver scientific solutions to national and global agricultural challenges.

To register click here
WCMGA Learning Garden at Jenkins Estate
The Learning Garden looks good after the spring pruning and clean up. The vegetable beds received a refresh of new soil, and many beds were planted in April. The Veggie team and others in the garden are participating in a “grow along” event this growing season with thousands of Oregonian households who are participating in the Grow This! Gardening challenge, an initiative of SNAP-Ed and Food Hero. Photos and gardening tips are being sent in for gardeners across the state.

Join us for the Venerable Veggies In-the-Garden series class on Saturday, May 27th, 10 am – noon.

Regular work parties are on Thursday mornings. Come volunteer at a time that is convenient for you between 9 am and 1 pm.

For more information contact Steve Kister or
 Robin Burnham
Rain and cooler than normal temps aside, activities at the Education Garden are on the move as the garden emerges from winter to be used for many activities.  
Thank you to everyone for your contributions to making our presence at PCC Rock Creek a success. 

April 5 ~ 20 students from Jenn Peters Landscape Technology Department Plant Establishment and Maintenance class held a session working with Master Gardeners.  It was a wonderful opportunity to share our garden and knowledge with the very enthusiastic students working side by side.
Saturday work parties have drawn a dedicated group of Master Gardeners.  If you are interested in being added to our email list for information about Saturday work parties, contact Larina Hoffbeck
April 15 Soil School 2023 was held in person once again at PCC Rock Creek with ~ 130 attendees. This event co-sponsored by Tualatin Soil & Water Conservation District and West Multnomah Soil & Water Conservation District always offers a great opportunity to learn ways to protect the soil ecosystem.  The Education Garden served for the outdoor component of Soil School for soil testing and soil texture exercises.  WCMGA offered Education Garden tours sharing information about the various techniques we use to protect the soil, information about each Garden Classroom, highlighting our Silver Level for Backyard Habitat Certification and American Conifer Society Reference Garden certifications and inviting people to attend our free educational events.
April 19 Ron Spendal placed the Mason Bee cocoons in their emergence boxes at the nesting stations,  kicking-off the 2023 cycle!   We always have inquisitive visitors of all ages, particularly as the bees become more active.  Ron has written several very helpful resources on Mason Bees, Pollination and Wasps.  If you would like pdf file for any of these publications, please contact Sue Ryburn
April 22 Lisa Graff led a group of 46 attendees for her presentation Perennials: How to Choose, Plant and Maintain as part of the In the Garden Series.   Lisa’s expert advice is great timing as spring begins to emerge and so many are eager to work in the garden.  
May 6th our large fundraiser
Gardenfest Plant Sale returns in-person and among the educational activities offered will be visits to the Education Garden where the newly developed Hummingbird Fact Kit will be shared with visitors. 
June 3 Mason Bees are featured, along with other bees in our garden in our upcoming Meet the Mason Bees and Friends held at the Education Garden June 3rd 12 Noon- 3 PM.   
It is great fun with activities for all ages. For more information see our website
Meet the Mason Bees and Friends   If you are interested in volunteering to help staff Meet the Mason Bees and Friends, contact Larina Hoffbeck
Our standing Wednesday work parties are from 8 AM-1 PM. Everyone is welcome and there are many ways to contribute and share, both through hands-on gardening projects and projects using the computer and/or doing research.   If you would like to be added to our email list for routine updates or you have any questions, please contact Susan Albright or Sue Ryburn 
Washington County Master Gardeners want to show our appreciation by recognizing four of the community members for their volunteer work at the Learning Garden. Their commitment and contribution of time and effort are the cornerstones of volunteerism.

Margo Ballantyne dedicates herself to working in the Pioneer Herb Garden, providing examples of historical herbs and maintaining the hundred-year-old roses. This enhances the educational and interest experience for the many visitors to the garden.

Suzanne Burnett for many years has worked in the vegetable beds, planting and harvesting throughout the season and then collecting vegetables, herbs and fruit to take to the food pantry each week which is a gift to many people.

Dorothy Erpelding has provided her leadership talents to the Gazebo and Classroom areas and with her quick call to action to paint any building needing refreshing, she has created a beautiful and welcoming space for visitors.

Terri Rottman maintains a cheerful attitude while working in many areas in the garden and in less-than-ideal conditions. Her cheerful attitude becomes a testament to attitude being contagious. With her photographs for Chapter Chat articles, she gives many others the opportunity to enjoy the garden.

All of their contributions help to make the Learning Garden a wonderful experience for visitors to the garden.

There are 1.8 million non-profit organizations in the United States alone, so the opportunity to volunteer is close to never-ending. Americans volunteer 8.8 billion hours annually. The act of humanitarian service is traced back to WWII and the Civil War where women volunteered to care for wounded army soldiers.

Volunteers wear working boots but leave a trail of angel footprints.
                                                                                                Terri Guillemets

It’s finally time!  After many months of planning, our 2023 Gardenfest Plant Sale is Saturday, May 6th and over half of our members have volunteered to help.  Thank you!
Those of you who have signed up to help during the sale or with takedown will be receiving an email with maps, phone numbers, schedules, and orientation information.  If you haven’t received it by April 30, please check your spam folder.
There will also be an email sent to everyone who signed up to help with setup on May 5th containing the rough schedule of the day and other information.  We greatly appreciate your patience as estimated times for different tasks will change depending on how many helpers we have and how quickly we finish each task before moving on to the next. 
We will be having an approximately 30-minute “Test Run” at the end of Gardenfest Setup on May 5th to make sure everything runs smoothly. Expect that to happen around 3pm to 4pm. 
Any Master Gardener volunteer who helps with Setup and/or is signed up to help during the Sale or with Takedown is welcome to buy plants during the Test Run.  A list of plants we plan to offer is available here:
If you haven’t signed up yet but are available for Setup and/or Takedown, we could still use your help! 
Setup starts on Friday, May 5th at 9am Takedown starts on Saturday, May 6th at 1pm.  Both are located near building 4 at PCC Rock Creek. ( )
There will be a follow-up “Pop-Up” sale on Saturday, May 13th in the same location to sell plants leftover from the main sale, and we’ll need some people to help then, too.
If you have any questions or would like to add your name to the volunteer list, please contact Larina Hoffbeck at .
And, finally, don’t forget to invite your friends and neighbors to the sale!  It’s open to the public for shopping from 9am to 1pm on May 6th at PCC’s Rock Creek Campus with free parking and free admission.
Thank you so much to all our wonderful Gardenfest volunteers!
Washington County Master Gardener Association invites you to a free in person class, Gardening for Birds, part of our In The Garden Series.

OSU Extension Master Gardener Volunteer Eric Butler will present an introduction to creating a safe and supportive landscape for birds in your yard. It covers bird biology and behavior, what birds need to survive and raise their young, how best to provide food, water, and shelter; dangers to birds and how to prevent them, and resources for further learning.

Optional Birding Hike: Meet the presenter, Eric Butler, at 8am in the WCMGA Education Garden at PCC Rock Creek (just south of Building 9). Eric will lead a one-hour guided birding hike starting in the Ed Garden and then continuing to the natural area at the north end of the PCC Rock Creek campus (weather permitting). The Ed Garden has gravel paths that are easily navigated but the natural area has dirt pathways that may be a bit muddy. There is a slight downhill area for part of the path. Dress accordingly and bring binoculars if you have them!

For more information, please go to

For more information about getting around the PCC Rock Creek Campus
PCC Campus Accessibility Map
Dwarf Conifers for the Small Garden: Selection, Siting and Care (IGS)

Washington County Master Gardener Association invites you to join Lisa Hansen and Elizabeth Price, OSU Extension MG Volunteers, who will help you explore some of the myriad dwarf conifers for the home garden. You will learn proper siting and planting practices, observe techniques for ‘candling’ pines to control size, and review general care of dwarf conifers.

Elizabeth Price is the author of
Native and Ornamental Conifers in the Pacific Northwest: Identification, Botany, and Natural History, published by Oregon State University Press in 2022.   An avid hiker, researcher, and photographer, she has resided among the conifer forests of the Pacific Northwest for almost twenty- five years.

Lisa Hansen has been gardening and collecting plants in Oregon for nearly 4 decades. Her primary interests are organic vegetable gardening, shade gardens, small conifers, and garden design. Her science background draws her to seek out research-based best practices outdoors in the garden and indoors under the grow lights.

For more information, please go to
Washington County Master Gardener Association invites you to learn how to use raised beds and containers for the kinds of bountiful harvests you see at the Learning Garden at Jenkins Estates. OSU Extension Master Gardener Volunteers Dan McDonald and Jeannine Rychlik will demonstrate innovative ways for watering and a variety of beds and trellising they use for growing the veggies.

Dan and Jeannine are co-leads for the vegetable garden at WCMGA Learning Garden at Jenkins Estate where they grow a large variety of vegetables with varied resources such as raised beds, trugs, lasagna beds, tented beds, key hole beds, cloches, and trellises.

For more information, please go to
OSU Extension Master Gardener volunteers and volunteers from the Oregon Bee Atlas will help you Meet the Mason Bees and Friends!  Children and adults are invited to join the Washington County Master Gardeners as we celebrate the emergence of the mason bees. Learn about the Blue Orchard Mason Bee and other Oregon native bees – their life cycle, habitat needs and more!  Live displays and hands-on activities for all ages.

No registration needed.  Free parking.
Volunteers Needed
2nd Annual ‘Meet the Mason Bees & Friends’ Family Event
June 3 - 12pm to 3pm - WCMGA Education Garden PCC RC
Partner & Program Hours available!!
Last year 145+ adults and children helped us celebrate the Mason Bees and their other native bee friends while taking part in hands-on activities at our booths in the Ed Garden.
Volunteer Openings (* indicates Program Hours)
  • Greeters - Bee the front line for welcoming visitors to our event as you give them our Welcome handout with a survey on the back. As folks exit, collect surveys and give kids a fun bee toy kit to take and make at home. (1 more volunteer needed)
  • Let’s Talk Plants! and Color a Bee* - Answer questions about ways to support bees and other pollinators. Point out great free resources. Help at the coloring table with crayons and native bee coloring sheets for the younger set . (2 more volunteers needed)
  • Be a Bee* - Help visitors make a pair of antennae while they learn an interesting fact or two about the amazing ways bees use their antennae. (1 more volunteer needed)
  • What Kind of Bee are You?* - Share info about interesting bee personalities. Visitors ‘vote’ with stickers for the bee that is most like them. (1 more volunteer needed)
  • Bee, Wasp, or Fly?* - Be a guide on the side as adults and children learn how to determine which is which. Using a magnifying glass, visitors get a close look at these pollinators. A learning experience for all ages. (1 more volunteer needed)
  • All About Mason Bees (Live Action)* - MG Ron Spendal, our mason bee expert, will be on station at the Pollinator Kiosk. Watch MBs in action at all six of our nesting stations. If you want to learn more about these important spring pollinators, working alongside Ron is a great way to do just that! (1 more volunteer needed)
  • Roamers for Break - Help provide breaks for volunteers at the other booths. This is a great position for folks who just can’t stay in one place. (2 volunteers needed).
  • AM Set up (8-10AM) /PM Clean Up (3-4PM) - Need I say more?? (6-7 more needed /shift)
Back by popular demand, Oregon Bee Atlas Master Melittologists will be out in the garden for the ‘Catch, Observe & Release’ activity as well as hosting a booth with information and displays on honey bees & native bees.
Interested in volunteering? No bee expertise required.
Fun and interesting background reading and all materials for activities provided.
Contact Susan Albright
Check out our new page!

The WCMGA DEI Committee now has our own page on the WCMGA website!  We are still adding to it, but we hope it will be a place where Master Gardeners and members of the public can go to find Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion-related resources and upcoming events and projects in which Washington County Master Gardeners are involved.  We’ll be changing the content of the featured “picture buttons” monthly with links to more information on publications available in multiple languages, some of our chapter speakers, opportunities to volunteer with diverse communities, and more.
You can access the new page through the “Master Gardeners in Your Community” button on our website or directly through the link below.
Please give it a click, take a look around, and check back again from time to time for new information.  Thank you!
As Master Gardeners we are astute observers of and practitioners in our natural environment. We are likely to agree that human activity has made profound and irreversible changes in our natural and biological environment. But the news isn’t all bad! I don’t think I would have said that before reading this book written by Chris D. Thomas.

He has convincing credentials to make the case that all is not lost in our environment. He is a professor of conservation biology at the University of York in the U.K. He has written numerous scientific journal articles and popular articles, and has been cited more than 26,000 times, making him one of the world’s most influential ecologists. He is a fellow of the Royal Society and the Royal Entomological Society. He was awarded the Marsh Awards for Climate Change Research in 2011 and Conservation Biology in 2004 and the British Ecological Society President’s Medal in 2001.

It is true that humans have permanently damaged the natural world, causing extinction, deforestation, pollution, and of course climate change. But humans have also helped nature grow and change.

Thomas shows how change has and is creating new places for adaptations by plants and animals and evolutionary change in virtually every population of living species. He agrees that climate change makes for a poor prognosis for survival of species and advocates for humans to take action such as reducing greenhouse emissions. However, he considers it imperative to save species from the anticipated rapid climate change that we move them to new locations more suited to their survival. He uses data to show that species live in places where they survived, not in the places where they originally evolved.
Thomas shows the reader how the four greatest threats to biological diversity:
  1. killing animals for food and other products   
  2. habitat destruction for agriculture and cities
  3. climate change
  4. biological invasions when species are transported to new parts of the world
also brought unexpected opportunities for the world’s terrestrial biodiversity.
In this book Thomas gives example after example of species lost, species gained. Inheritors of the future Earth are already here now, just as they were 66 million years ago when the asteroid struck Earth and wiped out ¾ of the previous existing species.
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