Natter’s Notes

Helpful Books & Websites

Jean R. Natter, OSU Master Gardener

Research-based information underlies everything Master Gardeners do. But it’s challenging to keep up with all that when you’re scrambling to know where the information is. When you’re searching online for data, adding “site:edu” (without the quote marks) will limit the results list to information from educational institutions. Unfortunately, “site:edu” doesn’t guarantee accuracy, because people aren’t perfect. (Believe it or not, mistakes happen.)

Right now, you may be wondering who, or what, can you believe? Well, to increase the likelihood of passing on accurate information, always review and compare at least 3 of the search responses. If disparities exist, continue searching and/or ask someone who may be able to provide additional insights. Your goal is a “Teachable Moment” during which you accurately inform the public. No home remedies, even if one was suggested in a university publication.

To begin your research, realize that each metro MG Office has a list of pre-approved resources in the “Master Gardener Office Information” binder under Tab L, Helpful Books and Websites. Begin with the list’s Table of contents. Each section generally lists books first, then websites. Most cited books are in each MG Office.

Following is a brief sample from the final page: Five very common, annoyingly weedy plants that tend to run rampant in the northwest. Some have been declared invasive, others are on a watch list.

Arum, or Lords and Ladies (Arum italicum) Herbaceous perennial; green leaves marked w/ white; deep fleshy root w/ offsets; prolific seeder

Lesser Celandine (Fig buttercup; Ranunculus ficaria; formerly Ficaria vicaria; Ficaria verna)

Pokeweed (Phytolacca americana) An escaped shrubby herbaceous perennial with poisonous berries

Spurge laurel (Daphne laureola) A woody Daphne escapee; seeds freely in northwest woodlands

Tree of Heaven (Ailanthus altissima) Large, rapid-growing, a profuse seeder, with many root sprouts

Tree of Heaven

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