Chapter Chat - February 2024

Next Chapter Meeting
President's Message
Education Garden Update
Learning Garden Update
Upcoming Events
MGs of Note
DEI Update
Bottle Drop
Book Review
Tuesday, February 6, 2024
7:00 - 8:00 PM PDT - Free Webinar, Open to All
Registration Required
8:00-9:00 PM PDT - Members Meeting
The Washington County Master Gardener Association invites you learn more about delivering sustainable gardening information to historically underserved communities. This presentation will identity a framework that the speaker, Dennis Brown, has used successfully to form partnerships with community groups that have an interest in and need for sustainable gardening information.  The talk will describe three local projects undertaken in the past four years that have engaged with community and governmental partners to deliver these programs.
Dennis has been a Master Gardener since 2010. In 2022 he was named Multnomah County’s MG of the year and in 2023 he received the inaugural statewide Growing and Belonging Award from OSU Ext. and the Oregon Master Gardeners’ Assoc. for his work with historically underserved communities. 

This program is approved for one hour of MG Education Credit
I’m sure we’ve all suffered some damage from the hard freeze, snow, and ice. We lost two trees which luckily didn’t destroy anything on their way down. The arborist has already been in.

Daffodil spears are showing and buds on the azaleas.

Our February speaker, Dennis Brown, will present on how to successfully partner with groups we haven’t historically reached. I hope you will all register and tune in for the presentation.

We’ve got three In the Garden workshops this month. If you are volunteering for one, thank you, and if you want to learn more about pruning and blueberries, please attend.

Myrtle Wolf Manzanita – February bloom

After weathering  the low temperatures, ice and snow we’ve had a chance to assess how the Education Garden fared. So far, the garden looks like little to no damage, fortunately. While work in the garden has been on pause, we have launched the 2024 In the Garden Series, and are busy detailing plans  for 2024 and participating in other activities.

Once again, we participated in the annual PCC Rock Creek Landscape Technology Department Open House. Susan Albright and Robin Carpenter represented WCMGA where over 30 industry representatives, 40 students and 10 staff also participated. Susan and Robin had the chance to connect with ~30 students and help direct some inquiries about how to become a Master Gardener among other topics.

In February we return to Wednesday weekly work parties, as weather permits. It is unanimously held that rain, snow and cold temperatures don’t make good gardening weather.  As some winter days cooperate, we can work instead during other days of the week and will send out a notice for anyone who is interested in joining in.

Plans are underway to offer hands-on Workshops to the 2024 trainees. More details to come on this soon.

Plans are also underway for our June 1st
Open Garden: Vertebrates and Invertebrates featuring several community partners and special guests from the PCC Rock Creek Farm, including once again Tootsie, the miniature horse.   If you are interested in volunteering to help, please contact Susan Albright or Sue Ryburn .

Interested in helping with the Set up and Take Down for the In the Garden Series held at PCC Rock Creek? Please contact Larina Hoffbeck for more information. It is easy and a great way to learn while also getting partner volunteer hours and/or MG Education hours.

Our next Education Garden Team meeting, held via Zoom is on February 14 (6PM-7PM). An agenda and invitation goes to everyone on the Ed Garden email list. If you would like to be added to that list for communications about the Ed Garden activities, please contact Susan Albright or Sue Ryburn .
Photos courtesy of Terri Rottman

We were fortunate the Learning Garden did not sustain any serious damage during the recent storms. There was a problem with the roof of the greenhouse that will need to be repaired. Several trees went down throughout Jenkins Estate. In the vegetable garden things are staying well-watered and the kale looks happy as can be despite the recent weather. Overall, the whole garden is looking fine and sleepy as one would expect for this time of year.

Learning Garden regular work parties will resume in February on Thursday mornings. For more information contact Steve Kister or Robin Burnham

In-the-Garden classes also start in February at the Learning Garden with a focus on pruning. Join one of the upcoming sessions:
  • Saturday Feb 10 10AM-Noon, Grape and Blueberry Pruning, by Bob Campbell and Cindy Muir 
  • Saturday Feb 24 10AM-Noon, Pruning Perennials, by Tamara Newton Baker and Steve Kister
More on these classes later in the newsletter
GardenFest 2024
It’s time to volunteer for Gardenfest 2024!

The Gardenfest plant sale team has been hard at work planning for the big event at  the PCC Rock Creek Campus on Saturday, May 4. We’re now starting to schedule volunteers to work all the areas during the sale, setting up and taking down, and the many jobs that will be required before and after Gardenfest. We’ll need as many volunteers as we can get for this fun event and fundraiser, so please fill out the volunteer form on the WCMGA website member-portal page so that we can get everyone on the schedule.

Please check all the areas in which you can help, keeping in mind that there are enough opportunities that each person can do more than one thing. You’ll also find a button at the above link that leads to the different Gardenfest volunteer job descriptions listing duties, accessibility, and other information. We encourage you to invite friends and family members to help out as well!

This is a great opportunity to work with your fellow Washington County Master  Gardeners and earn volunteer hours for 2024. Please contact Larina Hoffbeck at with any questions. Thank you for volunteering, and don’t forget to spread the word! We have a public Gardenfest page with more details here:
Washington County Master Gardeners invite you to learn techniques to improve crop production, plant health, and fruit quality. Learn how to prune your grapes and blueberries to improve air circulation and encourage new fruit producing stems. Better yet, bring your own pruners for a little "hands- on" learning in the grape arbor. Learn when and how to fertilize your well-pruned fruits to assure a bountiful harvest.
This class will be led by OSU Ext. MG Volunteers Bob Campbell and Cindy Muir.

For more information:
Blueberries are easy and fun to grow. Join the Washington County Master Gardener Association to learn about planting, fertilizing, plant selection and care for blueberries, including pruning techniques. Bring your own hand pruners and garden gloves for some hands-on opportunity to prune.

This class will be led by OSU Ext. Master Gardener Volunteers
Sue Ryburn, Helen Dorbolo, Lisa Barnhart, and Susan Albright

For more information:
Join the Washington County Master Gardener Association for discussion and pruning demonstrations of various landscape perennials. We’ll start with general guidelines - when to prune, what to prune, and the proper use of pruning tools. Pruning specifics will be covered for a variety of clematis, hydrangeas, roses, and more, all of which are grown in the Companion Planting Garden within the Learning Garden at Jenkins Estate.

This class will be led by OSU Ext. MG Volunteers, Tamara Newton Baker and Steve Kister

For more information:
As 2024 starts, our Chapter is recognizing and thanking two retiring Board members. Marilynn Turner (left), outgoing WCMGA Board Treasurer, and Karen Graham (right), outgoing WCMGA OMGA Representative are recognized as Master Gardeners of Note. Their dedication to our Chapter is exemplified in the time, energy and ideas they bring to any and all commitments they make. 

Marilynn and Karen may be leaving their positions on our Board but their contributions are a trail of footprints for all volunteers to follow.
Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Vocabulary
February, 2024: Microaggressions
Brief interactions, either conscious or unconscious, that demean and/or discriminate against members of marginalized groups. This could be inappropriate jokes, rolling eyes, blatant disregard of someone while they're speaking, or other, more subtle behaviors.
Dr. Derald Wing Sue defines microaggressions as "the everyday verbal, nonverbal, and environmental slights, snubs, or insults, whether intentional or unintentional, which communicate hostile, derogatory, or negative messages to target persons based solely upon their marginalized group membership. In many cases, these hidden messages may invalidate the group identity or experiential reality of target persons, demean them on a personal or group level, communicate they are lesser human beings, suggest they do not belong with the majority group, threaten and intimidate, or relegate them to inferior status and treatment."

The members of the WCMGA DEI committee recognize that the terms and phrases used when discussing topics related to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion may be unfamiliar or confusing to many people.  Definitions may also change over time.  Since gardening is for everyone, we’d like to help foster understanding of DEI vocabulary with our members and other readers of Chapter Chat and the WCMGA website. 
We're featuring a different phrase or term each month throughout 2024 on our webpage here:
We hope you’ll check back each month for new words and phrases as well as examples of how Master Gardeners can incorporate these concepts into our work with the public and with our own members.
Happy New Year and here’s to more equitable gardening in 2024!
WCMGA is now participating in the Bottledrop Redemption program. If you are already contributing bags to another organization, please consider sharing with WCMGA. You can obtain bags at the office and the two learning gardens. After you fill the bags you can drop them off at the Bottledrop centers or Fred Meyer.

Bottle Drop Blue Bag Instructions

1.    Fill the blue bag with clean, non-crushed aluminum, glass and plastic bottles which have the OR 10c stamped into the top of the aluminum cans or written somewhere on the label of glass and plastic cans. The contents can be mixed glass, plastic, and aluminum. The bag needs to weigh less than 20lb, so if all the contents are glass you will not be able to fill the bag. (max 30 12oz beer bottles).
2.    Take the bag to the bottle drop-off center, or Fred Meyer bag drop. Search for a nearby Bottle Dropoff Location.
3.    Scan the bar code on the bag label at the bar code reader underneath the door. In the office there are cards with barcodes on them for your use to open the door.
4.    When the green light comes on you can open the door.
5.    Put the bag inside.
The barcode reader can be troublesome-the card held further away should be effective. If the door does not open you can take the bag inside the bottle drop redemption center and sometimes a person is at the Fred Meyer location who will take the bag.
Why should kids have all the fun?! This book features 20 nature projects for adults. Before you turn away with disinterest, let me assure you these projects are for adults, and they are a bridge from reading about nature to experiencing it. Kelly Brenner has taken the basis of sophisticated scientific experiments and developed them into easy nature activities with detailed, charming illustrations. She gives us the tools and information to make a deeper connection with much- overlooked nature in places all around us.

The projects have step-by-step instructions and require little or no special equipment. They are suitable for varying levels of experience and expertise. She includes helpful tips along the way, encouraging readers to keep a journal with multiple ideas for memorializing what you, the naturalist, sees. I like that she says the journal is an individual’s expression of nature, an opportunity for reflection, not a scientific study, and to make it fun.

To pique your interest here are the titles of a few of the projects: Create a Wetland in a Jar, Go Sugaring for Moths, Go Bush Beating, Preserve a Spiderweb, Grow a Microbial Garden, and Create a Curiosity Cabinet.

After Kelly Brenner’s first book, Nature Obscura, was published, she received many questions from readers asking how she did …, how to find …and so on. This was her inspiration to write The Naturalist at Home. She wanted readers to have tools to be naturalists, see cycles in nature, and feel the interconnectedness of all things in nature. Besides her two published books, she writes fiction with a natural history angle, draws art and illustrations, photographs her observations in nature, and speaks publicly on this topic.
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