By Margaret Bayne, OSU Extension Staff-retired, OSU Master Gardener

February 2018

Gail Langellotto OSU Pollinator Health Website

Got pollinators? Listen to this podcast with Dr. Gail Langellotto, OSU, to learn about ground nesting bees, the potential problems of plant lists, and how to maximize the benefits of urban landscapes for pollinators.(PollilNation podcasts, OSU)

Are Poinsettias poisonous? This question comes up every year, and unfortunately it is often answered by MGs incorrectly.  Here is the scoop: Poinsettias are not poisonous! For nearly eight decades, this rumor has continued to circulate because of one unfounded story in 1919.  Learn what the science says about this myth and also how to care for your Poinsettia. (University of Illinois Extension)

Houseplant problems? “Improper watering, sudden changes in environment, cold drafts, lack of fertilizer, insect or disease attack may cause problems for houseplants.”  Learn more about problems with and the care of houseplants from University of Illinois Extension. (U of Illinois Extension)

Winter is the perfect time to reflect on the successes and disappointments of last year’s garden. Learn how to evaluate what worked and what didn’t work. (Pamela T. Harden, MG, Penn State U)

Sometimes extremely cold weather can be a good thing! “The brutally cold temperatures take a toll on an invasive insect in the Smokies that has killed millions of hemlock trees in the United States.” (Jim Matheny, WBIR)

What happens to bugs in a forest fire? With the recent fires in Oregon and California in the news, here are some answers. (Polistes fuscatus-Administrator of the blog,

Why nature loves hexagons! From Insect eyes to bee hives and more. Watch this Informative video. (Infinite Series, OPB)

Blueberries, Lynn Ketchum, OSU

Blueberries!Organic blueberry growers can go toe-to-toe with commercial growers if they plant in raised beds, use a weed mat mulch and low amounts of nitrogen, according to a 10-uear study from OSU.” (Kym Pokory)

Are you a teacher, or just want to learn more while having some fun? Check out these inquiry based labs to explore the twelve principles of plant biology.  (American Society of Plant Biologists)

Fascinating video- Life in the compost bin.  “Watch this one minute video which spans two weeks in a typical vermicompost bin: two compost earthworm species (Eisenia fetida and Dendrobaena veneta) in a base of aged vermicompost with plenty of fresh organic kitchen waste (used coffee grounds, carrot and potato peels, celery and carrot leaves, egg shells, etc.) on top.” (Wim van Egmond, Vimeo)

Beautiful bugs!  “We typically think of insects as pests or pestilences, carrying disease or gnawing their way through our gardens before we can get a bite. But they are also gorgeous creatures, as photographer Levon Biss explores in his latest book, Microsculpture: Portraits of Insects. The book is a continuation of his Microsculpture exhibit at Oxford’s Museum of Natural History, which displayed bugs from the collection in a larger-than-life way.”  Enjoy! (Mary Beth Griggs, Popular Science)

What happens to plants during an eclipse?Researchers tested plant rhythms during the recent solar eclipse. The varied results have left the researchers with interesting questions.” (Science Daily)

Great insect die-off? “Scientists have identified 2 million species of living things. No one knows how many more are out there, and tens of thousands may be vanishing before we have even had a chance to encounter them in the ‘great insect die-off’. (Jacob Mikanowski, The Guardian)

Mahonia ‘Charity’ is a beauty in the garden. Neil Bell, OSU

Winter interest in the Garden. “One of the coolest things about gardening in the Pacific Northwest is winter gardens,” said Neil Bell, a horticulturist with Oregon State University’s Extension Service.”  Learn more about these plants from an OSU expert. (Kym Pokorny, OSU)

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