Chapter Chat - Sept 2023

Note from the editor:
I'd like to extend a thank you to the many MGs who provide the content for me to publish each month. I hope you all enjoy the content as much as I do while compiling our newsletter!
Next Chapter Meeting
President's Message
Learning Garden Update
Education Garden Update
An Education Garden Welcome
Upcoming Events
MGs of Note
DEI Committee Update
Book Review
Tuesday, September 5, 2023
7:00 - 8:00 PM PDT - Free Webinar, Open to All
Registration Required
8:00-9:00 PM PDT - Members Meeting

Sustainable Light at Night:
 the Stars is Not Just for the Birds
Mary Coolidge, Portland Audubon, Bird Safe Campaign Coordinator

Click Here To Register

Join Washington County Master Gardeners for an exploration of the night's wondrous mysteries and the impacts of light pollution.  Learn how you can help in the effort to preserve our starry skies and reduce impacts to wildlife while simultaneously maintaining safe and vibrant nighttime cityscapes.
Mary Coolidge has been on Portland Audubon's Conservation team since 2008. Today she serves as Audubon's Bird Safe Campaign Coordinator, working to reduce hazards for birds in the urban environment. She is dedicated to improving efforts to connect people to nature in cities. Mary splits her time between Portland Audubon and the Oregon Zoo's California Condor breeding program.
I’m writing this as summer is winding down. It’s beautiful today – upper 70s, clear sky, the zinnias in full bloom. (I’m planting twice as many next year) I’ve given up weeding; the weeds just break off at ground level. And my yard is full of spider webs. I trust those spiders are eating lots of bugs.

The chapter has had very successful summer events. Both gardens hosted Open Gardens and In the Garden classes, well attended despite the heat. In addition to those volunteer efforts, we have people working in the gardens every week, on the helpline, at the farmers markets, and I am sure, doing things I’m not even aware of.

I hope you are ready to get back to our monthly Chapter meetings. I’m looking forward to our September speaker – we’ll be focusing on the sky rather than the dirt. 

We are still looking for some help with running our chapter:
  • One Board position for next year – Treasurer. The Treasurer job description is on the Member Portal on the website, along with all the Board positions. This is a good position for someone comfortable with computers and Excel and knowledgeable or willing to learn QuickBooks. It’s a job that can be done from home, except for Board meetings, and is an excellent way to become familiar with most of the activities and many of the members of the Chapter. Marilynn Turner is the current Treasurer and would stay on if necessary to train her replacement.
  • Someone to take over administration of our public Facebook page. The Public Facebook administrator is another from-home position. The admin posts our scheduled public events in FB event calendar, shares interesting posts/events from MG and other groups, and checks once or twice a week to see if any messages have been left 1-2/week. It’s not time intensive. Leslie Ray has been covering until the position is filled and can answer any questions. This isn’t a Board position.
And put on your calendar, right now, Saturday October 14 from 1-3 to attend our members Fall Social at the Education Garden. Since we no longer get to socialize monthly at Chapter meetings, it’s important to take advantage of every opportunity to actually see each other and chat! This is our event for us to socialize and catch up with each other. I look forward to seeing you all!
Photo Courtesy of Anna Stubbs
Learning Garden Fair
The garden was beautiful, and 106 visitors enjoyed many activities during this family event. In addition to strolling throughout the garden or visiting the Let’s Talk Plants table with gardening questions, visitors found MGs in each garden area who answered questions specific to the plants in that area. Children planted and harvested vegetables, and learned hands-on about hummingbirds, compost critters, and pollinators.
Some great community partners also participated. The Xerces Society provided extensive information on gardening and invertebrate conservation. Growing Gardens offered visitors the opportunity to sign up for their Home Gardens program that pairs qualifying participants with neighborhood garden advisors who provide education, resources, and three years of peer-to-peer mentorship.
With great appreciation, we thank the following members of the WCMGA MG community for their team effort before and during the Learning Garden Fair on Saturday, August 12th. It was a fun and educational event for families in the community.

Regular work parties are on Thursday mornings. All are welcome! 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
Thanks to all the volunteers who have tended to the Education Garden---It is looking great!

The Education Garden is now 5 years old, and we can see how much things have changed. September is bringing cooler days and great gardening weather. This is also a good time to assess the garden and plan for the future. We’ve started a process to step back and reflect on changes we may want to make.
Upcoming for September includes:
September 6th Backyard Habitat Certification Program (BHCP) staff visit us for a tour and to learn more about what WCMGA does at PCC Rock Creek ---The visit will also be an opportunity to train new BHCP technicians who will also be reviewing the WCMGA Education Garden for certification at the Gold Level. The Ed Garden is currently certified at the Silver level for BHCP.  We think with new additions of native plants and the Meadowscape bed, we may be ready for this advancement.

New Tuff Shed -As we have grown our supplies and materials for education and outreach, we have found we need more dry storage for canopies, chairs, tables, stanchions, signage and more. A new 10’x12’ Tuff Shed will bring welcome relief from our having to unpack the current Tool Shed, like unpacking a suitcase, every time we need to get to the back of the shed.  Funding is from existing grant and gift funds, new funds from the Chapter and generous new donations for a new shed from Master Gardeners.  PCC RC gave us more space to place the shed adjacent to existing sheds.  More to come on this later….

Fall is a great time to plant.  Ed Garden volunteers have begun a process to assess where we have plants that need to be transplanted, removed, replaced, or thinned. Also, to assess where we have opportunities to add new plants that fit with our various Garden Classroom themes. We’ve begun a list of observations and as a group will do a walk-through of the entire garden on 9/20/23 to help make some decisions. Join in if you are interested in helping.

 Other happenings in the garden:
  • Mark your calendar for monthly Garden Team meetings via Zoom on the 3rd Wednesday of the month at 6 PM. The next meeting is September 20th  at 6 PM. A link will be sent to the entire Ed Garden email list before the meeting.  
  • Weekly Work Parties are Wednesday mornings.  If you would like more information to volunteer contact Susan Albright or Sue Ryburn . If you would like to be added to the Ed Garden email list for weekly information, please contact Susan or Sue.
  • Saturday work parties are held for many 1st and 3rd Saturdays of the month.  Interested in being added to that notification list?  Contact Larina Hoffbeck
Education Garden Extends Welcome
to “Yoshi”, “Heart”, and “Spiderman”!
The work crew at the WCMGA Education Garden had a delightful surprise at our August 9th Wednesday morning work party.  Three of the preschool classes from the “Fruit and Flower” childcare center, one of our PCC Rock Creek Campus neighbors, decided to release the Painted Lady butterflies they’d raised from caterpillars into our garden.  After checking to see what flowers in the garden the butterflies might enjoy, we decided to release “Yoshi”, “Heart”, and “Spiderman” onto the Douglas Asters growing in the PNW Native Pollinator Hedgerow.  The 19 children and 3 teachers wished their pollinating friends a fond farewell before walking back to their school.  Those MGs lucky enough to be at the garden Wednesday morning informed the classes that they are always welcome to come visit and we are honored to give their butterflies a home for the next stage of their lives.
Join the Washington County Master Gardeners for a free in person class that will cover methods to remove turf and look at what to do next.   Whether it is installing an eco- lawn, planting drought tolerant plants (both native and non-native) or moving towards all-native planting, we will cover planning, prepping, planting, irrigation and growing.  OSU Extension Master Gardener Volunteers Susan Albright and Lisa Barnhart will lead you through the steps and answer your questions.
Lisa Barnhart became a Master Gardener because of her love of growing and preserving fruits and vegetables. She serves on the board of the Washington County Master Gardener Association. When not gardening, Lisa enjoys sewing, crafting, cooking and spending time in the great Oregon outdoors. Susan Albright has participated in the Xerces’ PNW Bumblebee Atlas, the Oregon Bee Atlas (OBA) and the Oregon Bee Project.  She has led many MG classes on a variety of topics and was honored by the Oregon Master Gardener Association as one of their 2021 Statewide Master Gardeners of the Year.

No registration needed.  Free parking.
For more information:

For information about getting around the PCC Rock Creek Campus
PCC Campus Accessibility Map
Join the Washington County Master Gardeners for one of the Learning Garden’s most popular classes.
The native plant area of the garden at Jenkins Estate provides the ideal setting for learning first-hand about the beautiful native plant communities that you can include in your own landscape. OSU Ext. Master Gardener Volunteer Sandy Japely will lead the class and answer questions about the benefits of native plants.

Sandy Japely became a Master Gardener in 2009. She enjoys teaching others how to beautify their landscapes and grow healthy food.  Sandy loves to cook using culinary herbs from her garden and has a passion for travel and education.

For more information, please go to
Fall is terrific timing for planning and completing tasks to prepare for winter, as well as to set up your garden for success year-round, whether it is landscape plants, fruits or vegetables. Join the Washington County Master Gardeners for tips on planting trees and shrubs in the fall, tasks to prepare the vegetable and fruit garden for winter and techniques to protect the soil.

The session begins in Bldg. 4, Rm. 103, then after the presentation we will take a short 5-minute walk to the WCMGA Education Garden to demonstrate some of these tips.   OSU Extension Master Gardener Volunteers Lisa Hansen and Sue Ryburn
will lead you through the session and answer questions.

Lisa Hansen became a Master Gardener in 2019. She volunteers at the Education Garden at PCC Rock Creek. Her horticultural interests include organic vegetable gardening, dwarf conifers, garden design, and pollinator-friendly habitat. Sue Ryburn has been a Master Gardener since 2012 and is active at our garden at PCC Rock Creek.  She enjoys gardening at home with native and ornamental plants, along with providing habitat for the wonderful creatures found in the home garden.  

For more information, please go to

For more information about getting around the PCC Rock Creek Campus
PCC Campus Accessibility Map
Join Chapter members to celebrate our beautiful fall season at our Chapter’s Fall Social event at the Education Garden at PCC – Rock Creek campus on October 14th from 1-3pm. Bring books with both gardening and other topics to donate to our popular Little Free Library located at the Learning Garden. Blue Bags will be available for you to take home and fill with returnable bottles, cans, etc. which will be credited to the WCMGA account when they are turned in. Collecting and delivering for redemption returnables in the Blue Bags has earned nearly $2,600 for our Chapter’s General Fund!
"Autumn is the mellower season, and what we lose in flowers we more than gain in fruits."                                                                          Samuel Butler
Robin Burnham is recognized as WCMGA Master Gardener of Note for September for her many contributions to our Chapter and our community. Her estimable attributes of leadership and participation are recognized by other members as dependability, patience, and reinforcing for them and the Chapter. Robin has used her management and people skills to successfully adapt not only to her new role of administrative lead at the Learning Garden, but also to support others in the challenges of the organizational changes.  
She encouraged the Learning Garden vegetable leads to participate in the OSU Extension state-wide Food Hero Grow. This program and she composed monthly tips and gathered relevant photographs for OSU’s distribution to families and groups participating across the state. In collaboration with Home Plate Youth Services, she, along with four other MGs, led a three-month pilot project for youth (12-24 years of age). These young people in unstable situations were provided with presentations, demonstrations and coaching on the basics of growing food crops. Robin based her contributions for topics and content for the program by consistently listening to their interests and concerns and collaborating with the administrators of the program.
Robin took on extra sign-making tasks for Gardenfest 2023 and then worked diligently in the set-up and take-down at the site. Her friendly and engaging interaction with children at the Be a Bee activity at the Education Garden Open Garden helped make the activity memorable for the children participants.
She is great at promoting communication between the Learning Garden and the Education Garden and steps up to help with activities at both. Robin is described by those who work with her as a great listener, kind, compassionate, humble, always r
eady to provide thoughtful and insightful ideas to promote our Chapter’s mission.
September 15 through October 15 is National Hispanic Heritage month.  The WCMGA DEI committee would like to highlight some of the Spanish-language resources to which Washington County Master Gardeners have access when interacting with the public. 
From our own series of 17 “How To” documents about gardening in the Pacific Northwest, to OSU’s publication “Growing Your Own/Su Propio Cultivo” and a large collection of articles, recipes, children’s activities and monthly tips on OSU’s “Food Hero” page, Master Gardeners can use and share a wide range of information with the Spanish-speaking public.  All of this information is available in both Spanish and English, so English-speaking MGs who don’t speak Spanish can check over the information before sending on the matching Spanish version.  We also have copies of Xerces Society’s “X-kids” activity booklet in both Spanish and English versions, which are also available online.
You can check out all of these resources at the links below.  Please remember to display provided Spanish-language resources at tabling events, even if you don’t speak Spanish.
Informacion de Jardineria/Essential Gardening Information:
Growing Your Own/Su Propio Cultivo:
Heroe de Alimentos/Food Hero:
“X-kids” from Xerces Society:
One of the main takeaways of this inspirational gardening and designing book is how much pleasure the collaborators must have enjoyed creating it. It takes readers across the United States with sections devoted to the Midwest, the East Coast, the South and the West. The home gardens they show us are those of professional horticulturists and passionate hobby gardeners, some of whom have varied backgrounds not connected to gardening but all of them firmly planted in gardening culture.
While the featured gardens embrace regional cultures, plants and growing conditions, there are many design features which will catch our imaginations wherever we garden. I was taken with many of the features in the gardens and the use of plants to create a personal garden. The photographs are lovely, and the silver border was one which especially caught my eye, giving me incentive to change up an area of my garden. The profiles of gardeners, their gardens and backstories of their gardens are enhanced by the design tips, plant suggestions, and gathered “treasures” on display.
The content and photographs give readers an overall feeling of travelling along to the garden visits. The collaborators for the book, Nick – the curator, Allison – the designer, and Teresa – the writer, and the designers’ gardens they visit, use their travels and collecting knowledge to add special interest for us in this book to expand our horizons of what and how to find and use our own discovered “treasures.”
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