In early June the world of leaf and blade and flowers explode and every sunset is different.
– John Steinbeck

As the month of June ushers in summer, opportunities for Master Gardeners to guide and educate are flourishing.


Master Gardener Office Hotlines Hopping

The gardening public is calling, emailing and rolling into the metro-area Master Gardener offices with an intriguing assortment of questions.  “What are these white eggs on the underside leaves of my chard plant?”, “How deep do I plant a sweet pepper seedling?”, “I have rust spotting on my pear leaves, should I be worried?”, “Can you recommend a fast-growing plant to serve as a hedge?”

All inquiries bring the opportunities to practice your diagnostic skills, expand your garden knowledge and that of the visiting public.  Join the fun researching and collaborating with your fellow MGs while educating others.  You will be surprised by the wealth of information you will learn!   Sign-up on CERVIS.


MGs at Farmer’s Markets

Join-in amidst the seasonal bustle and bounty at a local-area Farmer’s Market by serving and educating the community at a Master Gardener market clinic table. These are fun events.  In addition to answering gardening questions, you can pick-up some fresh-from-the-field produce, dine on sublime food from market vendors, or go home with a gorgeous bouquet of flowers.

Schedule one or two shifts via CERVIS for a great summer volunteer experience.  Don’t despair if market schedules appear full.  Check back often as schedules change and openings arise throughout the summer.  Let a clinic coordinator know you if you are willing to serve as a substitute for last minute cancellations at your favorite market.

Summer Farmer’s Markets
Beaverton – Gresham – Hillsdale – King – Lake Oswego – Lents – Milwaukie
Oregon City – Sherwood – Tigard


Doing Good and Hands-on Learning in Demo Gardens

Marvelous things are happening at our metro-area Chapter sponsored Demonstration Gardens. Best garden practices are on display, citizen science is taking place, and fresh nutritious fruits and vegetables are being grown and donated to area food banks. Dig-in! Contact a coordinator for volunteer hours and make a significant difference teaching.

Clackamas County has the following hands-on volunteer opportunities:

Master Gardeners hosting visitors at End of the Oregon Trail Garden – Photo courtesy of Sharon Andrews
  • End of the Oregon Trail Interpretive Center – Check in to see how you can join the fun tending the garden and (for those interested) hosting school tours.
    Sharon Andrews 503-577-7493
  • Hopkins Demonstration Forest – Tend native plantscapes – in a beautiful forest setting!
    Frank Wille



  • Grow An Extra Row Volunteers

    ‘Grow-An-Extra-Row and Learning Garden’ Project at Clackamas Community College – Make a difference growing food for those experiencing food insecurity.
    Nancy Muir 503-789-6970




Ravishing Radish Harvest at Multnomah Demo Garden – Photo courtesy of John Jordan


Multnomah County Master Gardeners Community Demonstration Garden in Southeast Portland. There is lots to do and lots to learn in the established edible garden and in the newly expanded annex garden that will include edibles, herbs, and ornamentals!

Heidi Nichols at  or
Nancy Fine at or




MGs at the Learning Garden at Jenkins Estate give “Peas a Chance”!

Washington County Master Gardeners have two wonderful demonstration garden locations and they are breaking ground at their new PCC Rock Creek Education Garden on June 6th!  See details for the special PCC Rock Creek Garden Ground Breaking Ceremony on our Partner Events page.

  • Washington County Fairplex Join in the fun tending this great garden!
    Bill Klug 503-681-0143
  • Learning Garden at Jenkins Estate – Lend a hand in this beautiful landscape.
    Sandy Japely
    at 503-531-8482.
  • PCC Rock Creek – be part of the exciting beginnings of a fabulous community garden partnership!
    Sue Ryburn at



Beautiful, historic gardens.  Consider spending time this summer in a beautiful, garden – dispensing reliable gardening information at the Pittock Mansion or guiding the public on a tour through the beautiful Washington Park International Rose Test Garden.  Sign-up for a shift via CERVIS or contact the clinic coordinator.


Cracked Pots Reuse Art Show

Don’t Miss Out! Special Volunteer Events.  Special volunteer events arise throughout the season so check postings on CERVIS often and MG program emails.  Then you won’t miss out on great volunteer opportunities like MG clinic tables at the Clackamas and Washington County Fairs, Cracked Pots Reuse Art Show at McMenamins Edgefield, or assisting at Metro’s Blue Lake Discovery Garden!  Yep, we aren’t fooling.  Now is a good time to go check CERVIS!

Master Gardener Advisory Meeting July 25th: You’re Invited!

10:00am – 12:00pm at the Food Innovation Center (1207 NW Naito Parkway, Suite   154, Portland).  A light lunch provided following the meeting!  Parking is free.  RSVP required.

Please join the conversation at a metro-wide Master Gardener advisory meeting to provide feedback and suggestions for the OSU Master Gardener program staff.  We value and appreciate your input as we look to the future.

RSVP to no later than Monday, July 16th   to confirm your participation.   Space is limited.

Goal: Gain insight and inspiration from MGs about the Master Gardener program and our public outreach service.


Save the Date!  Saturday, November 10th FALL RECERTIFICATION!

Andony Melathopoulos, Photo: Oregon State University

Our annual Master Gardener Fall Recertification Training is scheduled for Saturday, November 10th, 8:00am to 3:30pm, at Portland Community College – Rock Creek Campus.  This annual event is a daylong continuing education opportunity.  Earn 6 hours of continuing education/recertification credit by attending.

A great line-up of speakers is forming.  We are thrilled to announce that OSU’s Andony Melathopoulos and Heather Stoven will be part of our line-up of guest presenters.  Andony is leading “OSU Extension’s efforts to design, develop, implement and evaluate a state-wide pollinator health program” and Heather is OSU Extension’s Community and Small Farms Horticulturist for Yamhill County. Look for more updates in our July/August newsletter.

Our Fall Recertification also gives us the opportunity to congratulate the new class of Master Gardener interns as they step-up to Veteran status after completing their volunteer requirements.  We will present 2018 Interns with their OSU Extension Service Master Gardener badges and a big-shout out for successfully completing the program.  2018 Interns are welcome to attend the full day of training – which will count toward your continuing education/recertification hours for 2019.


Advanced Training Webinars Continue
This summer brings 3 more informative online Advanced Training Webinars from Brooke Edmunds, Oregon State Extension and the OSU Master Gardener Program.

These webinars each count for 1 hour continuing garden education/recertification credit.  A wonderful way to expand your gardening knowledge in the comfort of your own home or sitting in a lovely garden watching on the electronic device of your choice.

Can’t make the webinar date?  No worries!  A recording of each webinar is posted a few days after the live webinar.  See the link below.

Upcoming Live Webinars

6/28 at 11am PST Practical Food Safety in the Garden presented by Sara Runkel





7/26 at 11am PST Meet the New Neighbors: Emerging Pest Issues in Oregon presented by Robin Rosetta

8/30 at 11am PST The Latest Research on Bees in the Garden: Results from the OSU Garden Ecology Lab presented by Dr. Gail Langellotto

For more information or to watch recordings of past webinars:


Natter’s Notes

Pear Trees: Rust, times 2

Jean R. Natter, OSU Master Gardener

Pear trees are having a rough time of it this spring. It seems that this year supplied  the perfect conditions for rust on pears. So, let’s compare and contrast  the two important rust diseases of pears in Oregon. Recall that cedar-apple rust is not an issue in our region.

Seven different Gymnosporangium species cause rusts on members of the rose family in Oregon. For this discussion, let’s differentiate between Pacific Coast Pear Rust (G. libocedri) and Trellis Pear Rust (G. sabinae).

Most rust fungi have two different hosts: the primary host  — in this case, pear– on which growth and yield may be severely affected and a secondary host which typically displays subtle effects. With both diseases, pear trees exhibit brilliant orange spores on affected tissues, spores which readily rub off.

Numerous powdery, bright orange spores are present on leaves, twigs, blossoms, and fruites in Pacific Coast Pear Rust.
Numerous powdery, bright orange spores are present on leaves, twigs, blossoms, and fruits in Pacific Coast Pear Rust, as shown here and in Trellis Pear Rust. (Client image; Lincoln County; 2012-05)

Pacific Coast Pear Rust is a well-established disease in the northwest and, this spring, is on a spree infecting leaves, twigs, blossoms, and newly set fruit. All ages of trees are affected, from venerable specimens to newly planted saplings. Incense cedar is the alternate host.

Trellis rust, aka European Pear Rust, was found in western Oregon in 2016. It’s considered well -established in western Washington, coastal British Columbia and Contra Costa County, CA. Known infections in Oregon are in Benton, Marion, and Clackamas Counties. Junipers are the alternate hosts.

Trellis Pear Rust, also called European Pear Rust, on back surface of leaf.
Trellis Pear Rust, also called European Pear Rust, on back surface of leaf. (Client image; Multnomah County; 2017-09)

Differentiating between these two rust diseases of pear relies on careful examination of symptoms on submitted sample(s) and images. Both rusts sport bright orange, powdery spores on pears. A diagnostic symptom for the trellis variety is an “acorn-like” eruption on the backs of leaves later in the season.

Be certain to ask about potential alternate hosts nearby.  Both alternate hosts of these pear rusts ooze orange gel during wet spring weather. Off-season, affected junipers have subtle, elongated galls while incense cedars may develop  a more obvious symptom, witches’ broom(s). (

Management choices are limited for home gardeners who fear for their fruit crop.

– Sanitation –The common advice to collect and discard affected parts is unlikely to limit rust unless alternate hosts are removed.

– Resistant varieties – Growing resistant varieties is commonly suggested for disease management for backyard trees. In pear rust, both Asian and European kinds are affected. ‘Bartlett’ is usually less affected while ‘Winter Nellis’ is severely affected. Resistant varieties aren’t listed for trellis rust.

The PNW Disease Handbook states “Eliminating either host [primary or secondary] is the only practical cultural control.” For Pacific Coast Rust the PNW says “Remove alternate hosts around the orchard.” (It also states that, spores from the gel on incense cedar can be blown 6 for 10 miles.) The advice is more specific for trellis rust: “Remove all junipers within 1000 feet.”

No home-use chemicals are listed for either rust. So, the gardener’s next predicament is to locate a company which sprays fruit trees. Clients will need to research local companies that spray landscape trees. (I found that company websites usually offer a link to “contact us” while some list a phone number. You’ve heard it before: Let your fingers do the walking.)


Pear Trellis Rust

–  Pear, primary host –

– Juniper, secondary (alternate) host-

Pacific Coast Pear Rust

–  Pear, primary host –

– Incense cedar, secondary (alternate) host-

(Click the link below for PDF containing the above text and all the images.

Pear Trees: Rust, times 2 – PDF

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

June 2018

Photo credit: Chris Branam OSU

Grow your own strawberries to sweet perfection.  (Kym Pokorny, OSU)

Gut microbes can help insects beat pesticides.   Probiotic products now line store shelves, promising to improve human health by replenishing the gut microbiome, or the collection of bacteria and other microbes that live in the digestive system. Insects have a gut microbiome too, and it not only benefits their general well-being but may also help them adapt to and overcome pesticides.” (Leslie Mertz, Ph.D., Entomology Today)

Moss that removes arsenic from contaminated water so it’s safe to drink discovered. “From plastic-eating bacteria to oil-devouring bacterium, it seems Mother Nature keeps surprising us with new ways to protect the environment. Now, scientists have discovered a type of moss capable of purifying water contaminated with arsenic, making it once again safe for human consumption.” (

5 things that make you attractive to mosquitoes. Although there is lots of anecdotal evidence from people about what influences the little critters to bite, from eating garlic to having “sweet” blood, there are some aspects that have been proven by science to genuinely increase your chances.” (Josh Davis, Iflscience)

A partnership between Bluebells and Fungi. (Indefense of Plants)

What is it about snowdrops that earns them such a devoted following? Do you have Galanthomania too? (Andy Biefield, The Guardian)

The secret of a long life–“Usually the rule in the animal kingdom is: a lot of progeny means a short life – if you are less fertile, you live longer. However, it seems that social insects – that is, insects that live in societies – can escape this fate.” (Daniel Elsner/Karen Meusemann/Judith Korb UNIVERSITY OF FREIBURG, via

How do butterflies survive storms? C. Claiborne Ray,

Mowing down the myth of high-maintenance lawns. (Carol Reese,

Plants get a brace to precisely shed flowers and leaves. Biologists … have just reported …how plants regulate the detachment process and protect themselves. As shedding is closely associated with a plants’ life cycle, this is a topic of substantial interest to improve crop and fruit production. (Institute for Basic Science,

So you think you have bark beetles.  While it is from Florida, it is a very informative video. (Jiri Hulcr, Youtube)

Plant story – 200 year old seeds spring to life. Against all expectations, seed scientists from Kew’s Millennium Seed Bank at Wakehurst, germinated 200 year old seeds discovered in The National Archives. Some of these have now grown into healthy plants.” (

Blue flowers! Cool blue hues can help your garden become a calming and tranquil place. Of course, there aren’t many “true blue” flowering plants to be found, but we’ve come up with a few that could help you bring on the blue.” (Gardening Solutions, University of Florida,)

Best practices for container gardening. Andrea Laine, EMGV, Durham Extension Master Gardener)

Photo credit: Joan – Flickr – CC

Grow Kiwi!  “If you have a good strong trellis, are a bit of a gambler and have a love of kiwifruit, there’s no reason not to grow your own crop.” (Kym Pokorny, OSU)

10 Ideas to steal from the world’s biggest botanical garden. (Clare Coulson,

Butterfly wings inspire light-manipulating surface for medical implants. (Vinayak Narasimhan et al, California Institute of Technology, via

Scientist rediscovers insect lost for 105 years. (Sarah Nightingale, ucrtoday, University of California, Riverside)

Learn how to keep cats out of your garden. (Brooke Edmunds, OSU, via

The gelatinous looking tongues on the seeds of “Dicentra cucullaria, Dutchman’s Breeches, … are the elaiosomes. “They are rich in fatty lipids and proteins and meant for ants. Ants carry the seeds off into the ground, eat the fatty package and then leave the seed planted and ready to sprout when the time comes. This relationship is called myrmecochory. myrmeco=ant, chory=dispersal. Fun fact: Anthropochory is human dispersal of seeds, like when seeds stick to your pant leg. Many different plants, including Wild Ginger, trilliums and other Dicentra species like the more common Bleeding Heart, Dicentra formosa, have this relationship and produce elaiosomes. Ants are gardeners too.” (Humblerootsnursery, Instagram)

Genetic secrets of the rose revealed. (Helen Briggs, BBC New)

Grassland plants react unexpectedly to high levels of carbon dioxide. (University of Minnesota)

Watch the informative video—“Illnesses on the rise from Mosquito, Tick and Flea Bits. Disease from Mosquitoes, Tick and Flea bites have more than tripled in the US from 2004 to 2016.”(Centers for Disease

Ants navigate with the sixth sense. “Researchers…have now made the surprising discovery that the desert ant uses the Earth’s magnetic field as orientation cue during these calibration trips. This ability had been previously unknown for desert ants.” (University of Wurzburg, via

Celebrating Robber flies – big, beautiful venomous assassins! (Erica McAlister, Natural History Museum, London)

A new Spider family tree tries to untangle the Evolution of Webs. Scientists have fiercely debated the origins of the orb-style web. A new study challenges the idea that all spiders who make this web had a common ancestor.” (Veronique Greenwood, New York Times)

Fruit DNA in invasive Flies’ (SWD) guts could help track their dispersal. (Laura Kraft,

New apple disease spoils even pasteurized foods. (Krishna Ramanujan, Cornell University)

Learn how to make your own Codling Moth traps, from an OSU expert:  You can make your own apple, pear and Asian pear codling moth pheromone traps. Get a 2 liter pop bottle. 3/4 inch up from the base, cut a 2×2 inch square. Add a good jam, like strawberry; mixed with water so it is sticky and place in the bottom of the pop bottle. Place the pop bottle in the upper 1/3 of the fruit tree. Check each night. They tend to be most active in the evening.” (Ross Penhalagen. OSU farm forum, Facebook)

With more than 4,000 cultivars, Hostas are emperors of the shade. (Linda Geist, University of Missouri Extension)

Can Dirt Save the Earth?  “Agriculture could pull carbon out of the air and into the soil — but it would mean a whole new way of thinking about how to tend the land.” (Moises Velasquez-Manof,

A passion for purple foliage plants. (Cindy Haynes, Iowa State University Extension)

A Chinese factory is using AI to breed 6 billion cockroaches each year. (

It turns out that trees have a “heartbeat” too. (

Science and Twitter join forces to uncover a globally imperiled plant species of Heuchera. (Schuette S, Folk RA, Cantley JT, Martine CT, via Pensoft Publishers,

Menu/recipe themed gardens.  Specialists have made it easy for you! Check out the different types of gardens, from Pizza, Salsa, Tea, French Fries and more! “Juicy, plump red tomatoes. Crisp onions. Aromatic green basil. Fresh-cut lettuce.  These sound enticing on the pages of seed catalogs, but many people may feel intimidated by the idea of their own garden and the tilling, weeding and work that comes with it.  The key ingredient to a menu/recipe garden? Plant the most-used produce and herbs from your most-used recipes.  (Insights, Ohio State University)

Photo credit: OSU EESC photo archive

THIS MYTH BUSTED! Sometimes concepts that are spread via social media and web pages that are just too juicy to pass by such as this “Easy at Home Soil Test”: “… Soil, Plant Pest Center tested several acidic soils and several alkaline soils submitted to the center and testing was complete. They followed the directions for this test using vinegar (weak acetic acid) or baking soda (sodium bicarbonate). Each soil was mixed with either vinegar or baking soda + water.

The results were as follows: 1. None of the acidic soils bubbled when baking soda + water was added; 2. Most of the neutral to alkaline soils did not bubble when vinegar was added. There were a few exceptions. Debbie pulled two soils with pH readings of over 8.1. One bubbled vigorously when vinegar was added; the other, also with an 8.1 pH did not bubble. In general, the test did not work as advertised. To be honest, if it had worked, it still would have yielded very little information. If it had worked, it would not have given the degree of alkalinity or acidity.

If you want reliable information about soils, use a professional soils laboratory that’s certified by meeting industry standards”… (Extension Master Gardener, Facebook)

Rip Van Winkle’ plants hide underground for up to 20 years (University of Sussex, via

While not a local list, here are brief descriptions of many Apple, Crabapple, Pear, Plum and Cherry  varieties. (

How a common beetle (Rove Beetle) may offer deep insights into evolution. (James Gorman,

What you learn when you put smelly socks in front of Mosquitoes. (Rina Shaikh-Lesko, American University-Washington, via NPR)

Why do your teeth feel weird after eating spinach? (Laura Geggel,

Beyond the Honey Bee: How pesticides affect solitary, cavity-nesting Bees (Meredith Swett Walker,

Lizards, mice, bats and other vertebrates are important pollinators too. (Fabrizia Ratto et al, via Ecological Society of America &

Variegated Tulips: Beauty from a Virus (Olivia Tracy, Master Gardener, Colorado State University via

5 plants and animals utterly confused by climate change. Global warming is causing spring to arrive early and autumn to come late in many places, and not all species are adapting at the same rate.” (Livia Albeck-Ripka & Brad Plumer,

Need help in finding pollinator attracting plants? Use a search engine: Search by zip code and pollinator type and other characteristics. (Rutgers University, protecting bees, Rutgers University)

Listen to the sick beats of Rhubarb growing in the darksnap, crackle, produce! (Eric Grundhauser,

Let’s be rational about roots- the myth about root pruning. (Linda Chalker-Scott, WSU via

Gnome management in the garden! (Utah State Extension, youtube)

Summer flower recommendations. (Chris Rusch, OSU Master Gardener, Douglas Co. Oregon, via New Times Review)

Having one eye better than the other may explain ants’ left bias. (University of Bristol via

Colorful moth wings date back to the dinosaur era-New fossils reveal the structure of the ancient insects’ light-scattering scales. (Laurel Hamers,

How big spiders use nanoscale physics to fly New study reveals the complex strategies crab spiders use to soar on streamers of silk. (Nala Rogers,

Online garden tour-a contemporary English garden offers a reflection of the past.  Traditional influences and materials create a garden in harmony with its history. (Anne Balogh, (Note : Master Gardeners do not endorse any commercial products. Mention of products in this article does not indicate endorsement.)