Chapter Chat - May 2024

Note from the editor:
I would like to welcome the 2024 Interns who some of us met at the Volunteer Opportunities Fair and who gave us their email addresses when expressing interest in some of the Master Gardener Volunteer Opportunities in Washington County. This is our monthly newsletter. 
If you decide to join the Washington County Chapter, you will continue to receive the newsletter as we go forward. Hope you enjoy and we look forward to working with all of you!
Next Chapter Meeting
President's Message
Learning Garden Update
Education Garden Update
Gardenfest 2024 - Update
Upcoming Events
MGs of Note
DEI Update
Book Review
Tuesday, May 7, 2024
7:00 - 8:00 PM PDT - Free Webinar, Open to All
Registration Required
8:00-9:00 PM PDT - Members Meeting
Join the Washington County Master Gardener Association and LeAnn Locher, OSU Extension Statewide Master Gardener Outreach Coordinator, to learn more about the innovative social marketing campaign of OSU Extension and OSU's SNAP-Ed program, which brings free seeds, gardening guides and tips, grow calendars, and more to thousands of Oregonians. LeAnn serves as a bridge between OSU Ext. Communications, the Master Gardener program, and Food Hero teams.

At this presentation you'll learn how Food Hero is aligned as a partner for the Master Gardener program to encourage low-income Oregonians to improve their health by increasing consumption of fruits and vegetables, including gardening education and growing their own food. Food Hero is an initiative of SNAP-Ed (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program Education) developed by OSU Ext., Oregon Dept. of Human Services, and the USDA Food and Nutrition Service. We hope you will be inspired to connect to Food Hero in your community.
Pictured is a happy corner of my yard. I would rather not discuss the choisya.

Welcome 2024 Interns! We are so happy to have you join us. I hope many of you can come out to Gardenfest Saturday.

The Volunteer Opportunity Fair April 21 was very successful. Interns expressed an interest in volunteering for all the opportunities we presented. It will be lovely to get to know them in our gardens, at Gardenfest and our other activities. If you see someone helping out at Gardenfest that you don’t know, be sure to introduce yourself and welcome them.

Work is picking up in the gardens, so if your own yard isn’t enough, please consider helping at the Ed Garden or the Learning Garden.
The Learning Garden is in full bloom and looking great after the spring pruning and new mulch.
Espaliered apple trees. Photos courtesy of Anna Stubbs.
Jennifer Legault and Kari Woyak, assisted by many other gardeners, installed a new cedar round pathway to the new bench in the Natives area. Another pathway and more plants will be going in soon. 
The vegetable garden team was busy all month planting and they are already beginning the harvest season. Fresh asparagus and salad greens were delivered to the local food pantry. 
Lorill Hirschberger harvesting asparagus.

We are looking forward to offering our first workshop for the 2024 MG Interns on May 11th covering growing, using, and preserving herbs and a tour of the herb spiral.

All are welcome to join the Learning Garden regular work parties on Thursday mornings, 9 am – 1 pm. For more information contact Steve Kister or Robin Burnham
April 1 PCC LAT Work Party with MGs Lisa Barnhart, Lisa Graff, Shari MacDonald, and Sue Ryburn

April showers did not deter Master Gardeners and students from donning their boots and gloves to tackle the various projects on our Education Garden to-do list. The PCC Landscape and Technology (LAT) students joined the Ed Garden team for work parties on April 1st and 3rd. The students assisted with pruning, weeding, transplanting, and spreading arborist chips. Learning, fun conversation, and hard work were shared by all.
April 3 PCC LAT Work Party with MGs Elizabeth Price, Lisa Hansen, Sue Ryburn

Two PCC LAT students have decided to spend their required 8 hours of community garden service at the Ed Garden! They continue to learn pruning and maintenance techniques while helping to beautify the garden before our upcoming spring events. We also have two 2024 MG Interns who have chosen the Ed Garden for part of their required partner hours.

Soils School 2024
Soil School 2024 was held once again at PCC Rock Creek with ~ 100 attendees.   The Education Garden served as a site for the outdoor session once again, where attendees could learn about soil testing and soil characteristics using the Natural Resources Conservation Service  (NRCS) Soil Trailer.  In addition, MGs Lisa Barnhart, Robin Carpenter, Jack Shorr and Sue Ryburn lead tours of the Education Garden, pointing out various techniques employed to protect the soil and highlighting the pros and cons of overhead and drip irrigation.

Other Happenings
  • All hands are on deck for Gardenfest on Saturday May 4th. Sale hours 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
  • In the Garden Series: Conifers of the PNW: Characteristics and Natural History of Conifers in the Pine Family presented by Elizabeth Price Saturday May 18th 10 a.m. to 12 noon at PCC Rock Creek Building 4, Room 103.
  • Education Garden Open Garden on Saturday June 1st from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. The theme is Invertebrates and Vertebrates
  • If you would like to be added to our Education Garden email list, contact Susan Albright or Sue Ryburn.
The 3rd Saturday of the Month Work Parties resume (weather dependent). Contact Larina Hoffbeck if you would like more details.
There’s still time to volunteer for Gardenfest 2024!
It’s finally time!  After many months of planning, our 2024 Gardenfest Plant Sale is Saturday, May 4th and nearly 100 of our perennial members and new 2024 interns 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 3rd 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 3rd to make sure everything runs smoothly. Expect that to happen around 1:30pm to 3pm, depending on what time we finish setting up. 

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.  We hope to have a list of plants we’re planning on offering on the Gardenfest page of the WCMGA website soon.

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 3rd at 9am. Takedown starts on Saturday, May 4th at 1pm.  Both are located near building 4 at PCC Rock Creek. ( )

There will be a follow-up “Pop-Up” sale on Saturday, May 11th 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 4th at PCC’s Rock Creek Campus with free parking and free admission. And please note, we have a public Gardenfest page with more details here:

Thank you so much to all our wonderful Gardenfest volunteers!
Join Washington County Master Gardeners Elizabeth Price and Lisa Hansen to learn more about conifers of The Pacific Northwest.  The PNW is one of the most diverse regions in the world for conifers. Our climate has much in common with many of the other areas of the planet where conifers are more common than flowering trees, making the PNW an ideal place to include both native and non-native conifers in the home landscape. This talk will focus on the pine family (Pinaceae). We will walk the PCC Rock Creek campus examining the foliage, cone, bud, and bark characteristics that differentiate spruce, true fir, hemlock, Douglas-fir, larch, and true cedar. A bit of natural history on each of these groups of conifers will also be discussed. 

No registration needed.  Free parking.
For more information:


Great prices and large selection!

Join Washington County Master Gardeners for a fun-filled day shopping from a selection of thousands of plants expertly selected for the Pacific Northwest.  You can also get ideas from our Education garden, and ask gardening questions at our “Let’s Talk Plants” booth. The sale will offer Oregon native plants, perennials, shrubs, vegetables, houseplants and more for flower-filled gardens and bountiful harvests.

Our Master Gardeners are delighted to welcome you, inspire you, and help you succeed in your garden by providing practical knowledge on plants, garden care and diagnosing problems. There will be kids’ activities and Gifts for Gardeners, too.

OK to bring wagons – please, no pets.
Free parking

For more information, visit:
Robin Carpenter
Recently the Chapter received grant funding to participate in an important and engaging citizen-scientist project  DarkSky Oregon. Funding provided for Sky Quality Meters (SQM), which measure’s skyglow,  to be located at each of our gardens. 

We had the funding but needed a person to champion this project and get it off the ground. Robin Carpenter stepped up to be our lead and immediately set about the work to research all the details to order the proper equipment; coordinated with others at both gardens to have the monitors installed; learned steps to set up the data reporting procedure, which she is now sharing with other MGs who are interested in helping with the project.
Robin also searched for various informational tables for educational signage about DarkSky Oregon so that garden visitors can learn about the project and consider what they can do to help reduce light pollution.  Robin’s attention to details and problem solving has meant that we are very quickly able to start to participate in DarkSky Oregon. With the addition of the data from our two light monitors, the DarkSky Oregon data from Washington County will have doubled! This would not have happened so quickly were it not for Robin Carpenter’s leadership. 
“Colonialism is a practice of domination, which involves the subjugation of one people to another. (It) usually involves the settlement of citizens from colonial power in the colony.” -

“Neo-colonialism is the continuation or reimposition of imperialist rule by a state (usually, a former colonial power) over another nominally independent state (usually, a former colony). This is the continuation of colonial representations and realities which remain after formal colonization has come to an end.” -

“Decolonization involves actively deconstructing and challenging colonialism and its systems that do not account for the lives of Indigenous peoples.” - 

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.
The author, Vivian Swift, takes you on a gardening travelogue of nine masterpiece gardens around the world and back to her own garden on Long Island. In addition to her garden, you’ll visit gardens in Paris, Key West, Marrakech, New Orleans, Edinburgh, London, Rio de Janeiro, and the John P. Humes Japanese Stroll Garden, also on Long Island. 

Her introduction to the book explains her philosophy about gardens: 

“If all you ask of a garden is What?  Then all you’ll probably get in reply is a planting list. But ask, instead, Why? How? When? and most of all, Who? and then you’re in for a nice, long conversation. This book is a collection of the conversations I’ve had with nine gardens that had a lot to say.”

An example from her book, Le Jardin Majorelle Garden in Marrakech, is the genius of an idea from an eccentric French artist, Jacques Majorelle, and the genius of a point of view of Yves Saint Laurent and his partner, Pierre Bergé. YSL and M. Bergé bought the 10-acre estate which included the neglected 2 ½ acre oasis garden of Jacques Majorelle in 1980. They restored the garden to include three distinct parts: a bamboo grove, a palm tree arboretum, and a cactus xeriscape. Their genius point of view led to more than 300 species of plants from five continents, including plants which are rare and/or endangered. This garden is one of the top attractions in North Africa. 

Vivian describes how M. Majorelle had worked for years to intensify the popular blue color used in much of Morocco’s folk arts and crafts. He achieved a vivid, saturated blue formula for use in his garden. His blue color was named Majorelle Bleu and he kept his formula secret. Since his death, the closest comparable blue paint is Ultramarinblau which sells in Switzerland at a comparable ounce-to-ounce cost of a bottle of Moet & Chandon Dom Perignon.   

Vivian shares her “conversations” with you in engaging and joyful stories filled with whimsy and wit about the gardens’ horticulture, history, and architecture. Her intriguing back stories of each garden personalize the gardens with intimacy and humor. Her watercolor illustrations make her book an “illustrated book for grownups.” The illustrations are charming and add a human dimension to each of the gardens.

There is a kind of magic in her storytelling and illustrations that completely captures her idea that there is always a touchstone to learning about being human from a great garden.

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