Sights of Spring!Cherry blossoms

Crocus are blooming, daffodils are bursting out, cherry blossoms are unfurling and Metro-area Master Gardeners are in gear expanding their garden knowledge and sharing that knowledge with the gardening public.

The sights of spring herald new activity and volunteer opportunities for Master Gardeners. It’s time to reach out and engage in the myriad of clinics, projects and special events.  Look for opportunities on CERVIS and in upcoming newsletters and emails.



Welcome 2018 Master Gardener Trainees!

We are thrilled you are joining our team of committed garden educators.  You are over halfway through your training and soon you will be out in the community actively practicing and sharing your newfound knowledge.

Possibilities will abound with a wide-range of volunteer opportunities.  You will hear about the many OSU approved offerings during week #6 of class.  We hope you will dig in, have fun, and share your passion for gardening with fellow MGs and the gardening public.  This is an opportunity to further your garden education and to gain confidence in teaching others how to sustainably and successfully garden.


Key points for 2017 MG Interns:

  • Complete the quizzes for the three required training modules by March 31, 2018.
  • Complete the online final exam by March 31, 2018. The exam will be available starting the evening of March 9th. Please, allocate three to five hours to complete this online learning experience.  You can stop and start the exam, you can complete the exam in multiple sessions (be sure to save your work).  A score of 70 percent or more is required on the test in order to start volunteering at Master Gardener clinic activities (answering the public’s garden questions). You will receive a grade on the exam upon submission via Canvas.
  • For best selection, be sure to sign-up for your required Workshop before March 9. On that date, the Workshop schedule will open to all Master Gardeners and it will quickly fill.
  • Hear about the many volunteer opportunities during Week #6. This will be your opportunity to meet the volunteer coordinators, sign up for volunteer activities/events, and learn how to use our online volunteer system.

Special message to Veteran Master Gardeners
Vets, please join-in welcoming and guiding our new class of eager Master Gardener trainees by signing up for shifts at the Master Gardener phone clinics, area farmers markets, and other remote clinics.  We hope to have one Veteran per shift scheduled before March 9th – so when trainees sign-up for shifts at the MG training Resource Fair they will have a perennial MG to ease them into their new role as a garden educator.

To sign up for phone, farmer’s markets, and remote clinic shifts go to CERVIS or contact the coordinator.  Note CERVIS will be closed March 10th through March 19th to prepare for the Intern Resource Fair.  Be sure to read the article below about important changes in CERVIS.

Changes to CERVIS Volunteer Registration Service
This year when you sign-up for volunteer events in CERVIS, our online volunteer registration system, you may notice a few changes.

First off, visually it is a bit different in layout, color, and fonts.  This system wide change should make navigating the site easier.

We have added shift slots that are specific to 3 different categories of volunteers.

  • Veteran Only
  • Interns Only
  • Veteran or Intern

When registering on CERVIS please sign-up for the appropriate slot.

This change will assist coordinators in adequately filling shifts for their events. This change also will make it clearer and easier for Interns to serve on shifts with Veteran MGs.

All ‘current’ certified 2018 Veteran Master Gardeners have access to CERVIS.  If you are unable to access CERVIS, please contact Jordis Yost or Marcia McIntyre2018 Trainees, you will have access to CERVIS on March 19th.

2018 MG Training Kicks Off!

Our annual Master Gardener training kicked-off last month with over 140 eager trainees, our knowledgeable instructors, and a committed team of Veteran MG volunteer coordinators.





























Photos courtesy of Beven Peters and Eddie Rosen

Itching to get going in the garden? Check out some great garden tasks to satisfy!

Our Garden Checklist videos are brought to you in partnership with The Oregonian.







Open Garden Days at Cecil and Molly Smith Garden

The Cecil and Molly Smith Garden, world renowned for its collection of species and hybrid rhododendrons, will be open during the blooming season, Saturdays and Sundays, April 7—May 20, 2018, 11:00 a.m. until 4:00 p.m.

This three-acre natural woodland setting also features choice trees, shrubs, wildflowers, and bulbs, including Cyclamen, Trillium, Erythronium and Narcissus, which complement the over 600 rhododendrons and azaleas.

Established in the early 1950’s, the garden contains many rare species grown by Cecil Smith from seeds imported from China and cuttings from England, as well as hybrids he developed. The Portland Chapter of the American Rhododendron Society purchased the garden in 1983 and, along with the Willamette and Tualatin Valley Chapters, now manages and maintains it.

A selection of plants featured in the garden are available for purchase. There is a modest admission fee of $3.00 for the general public. Admission is free for ARS members. Due to the sloping site the garden is not considered handicap accessible.

The garden is located at 5055 Raybell Road, St. Paul, Oregon, 97137 which is 7/10ths of a mile west of Highway 219 between St. Paul and Newberg. Turn west on Champoeg Road and continue straight on to Raybell Road to the garden. For more information, call Dick or Karen Cavender at 503-625-6331 or see

This spring, don’t miss this hidden gem which has been featured in Horticulture magazine and several television programs.

Guided group tours of 10 or more people can be scheduled. Details are on the Garden’s web site.

American Peony Society 2018 Convention and Flower Show

Experience the beauty and fragrance of hundreds of peony flowers on display when the American Peony Society convenes for their 2018 Annual Convention and Flower Show May 23 – 27 at the University Place Hotel and Conference Center, 310 SW Lincoln Street, Portland, Oregon.

Scott Parker, APS President, said the convention is unique because it features the finest peonies in North America, all in one place at the same time. Typically, the blooms would have to been seen over the course of seven weeks in growers’ gardens.

“The smell is intoxicating and the colors are stunning,” Parker said. “That’s the neat thing about it.”

The theme of this year’s Convention, “Portland Peony Prelude,” is designed to highlight the beauty and diversity of peonies, and to remind denizens of the City of Roses, that there’s no need to wait for the roses to bloom, when peonies rival roses in terms of both their beauty and fragrance, making them the ideal  floral “prelude.”

The Flower Show is a free event, and the public is invited to attend from 1:00 to 5:00 pm on Saturday, May 26, and from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm Sunday, May 27.

A series of educational seminars will be conducted by peony experts and are also open to public at no cost on Saturday and Sunday May 26 – 27. A seminar schedule will be posted on the American Peony Society website prior to the Convention.

Attendees are invited to visit the APS book and peony seed sale which will be open throughout the Flower Show.

The American Peony Society was established in 1903 to promote the development and improvement of the genus Paeonia and to foster studies and public interest in cultivated peonies as a garden plant. Membership is $25 per year, and is available during the Flower Show or by visiting the American Peony Society website at

For more information, visit the APS web site at

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

March 2018

Photo: Mason Bee, Ramesh Sagili, OSU

Start thinking bee–mason bee! Watch Brooke Edmunds, OSU, share a little about the amazing native pollinators and how we can help them from early spring to early summer. (KATU-On Your Side)

More on Mason Bees-(Kym Porkorny, OSU; Brooke Edmunds, OSU)

The active ingredient in Roundup does not cause cancer, according to scientists at the National Cancer Institute. Researchers followed over 50,000 people who used pesticides to see if the ones who used Roundup developed any kind of cancer. The results were published Thursday in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute. (Kate Sheridan, Newsweek)

Meet the butterflies from 200 million years ago– Newly discovered fossils show that moths and butterflies have been on the planet for at least 200 million years. (Heidi Ledford, Nature)

Garden myths busted-Part 3 with Dr. Linda Chalker-Scott, WSU. Check out this informative podcast about Biochar, Corn Gluten, worms, ‘starter’ fertilizers, street lights, copper, red mulch with tomatoes and much, much more. (The Joe Gardener Show)

How trees conspire to make us rake leaves year-round. (Howard Garrett, Dallas news)

See how scientists use high-speed videography to investigate and learn from the clumsy flight of the bumblebee. (Spine Films, California Academy of Sciences)

Do Chestnut, lemon or peppermint scents repel spiders?  (Entomology Today)

The lost art of looking at plants- Advances in genomics and imaging are reviving a fading discipline. (Heidi Ledford, Nature)

What is the state of agricultural education? “Once wellsprings of chemical innovation, our nation’s colleges and universities are finally rising to meet student demand for a more sustainable future.” (Brian Barth, Modern Farmer)

Being around natural greenery may cheer up even adolescents- Exposure to trees and other greenery has been shown to stave off depression in adults, and a new U.S. study finds the same may be true for teenagers. (Mary Gillis, Reuters)

While honeybees help Farmers, some believe they don’t help the environment. (Dan Charles, NPR)

Photo: OSU, EESC Photo Archive

Soil Management in Home Gardens and Landscapes– an informative publication that explores the interrelationship of a plant and the soil in which it is rooted. (Jim Sellmer, J. Robert Nuss, Penn State Extension)

The crucial role of microbes-“Just as the micro-organisms in our gut are increasingly recognized as important players in human health and behavior, micro-organisms are critical to the growth and health of plants, a new study by a University of Toronto researcher has found.” (U of Toronto News)

First-Ever Evidence That Mosquitoes Can Be Trained-´”Disease-carrying mosquitoes can learn to associate near-death experiences with scent and will stay away after an attempted swat.”(Michelle Donahue, National Geographic)

Beekeepers are blamed for fueling the decline of wild bees by breeding insects purely for honey and reducing easy access to pollen.(Victoria Allen, Daily Mail)

Beautiful Pollination and Pollinators poster. (University of Wisconsin-Madison)

A chance discovery could tackle the honeybee’s worst enemy: Varroa mite-German scientists from the University of Hohenheim have stumbled on a new method of wiping out this parasitic pest without harming the bees. (IFLScience)

Root discovery may lead to crops that need less fertilizer. (Jeff Mulhollem, Penn State News)

USDA Plant Hardiness Map.

Translating the Language of Seed Packets: Hybrid, Heirloom, non-GMO, and more. (Garden

This Isn’t Even My Final Form! A Pothos Story(In Defense of Plants)

Plants’ Bacterial zoos- The key to healthy plants is healthy microbiomes. (Anthony King, Chemistryworld)

Photo: Black Eyed Susan, Stephen Ward, OSU

Don’t pass up perennials when starting seeds in spring.  “When perusing spring seed catalogs, don’t pass on perennials. These long-lived plants require a bit more commitment than annuals, but provide pleasure year after year.” (Kym Pokorny (OSU)