“The broadest and maybe the most meaningful definition of volunteering:  Doing more than you have to because you want to, in a cause you consider good.” –  Ivan Scheier.

Thank You for Your Generous Contributions!

Metro-area Master Gardeners thank you for your dedicated commitment to the OSU Master Gardener program!  Your volunteer logs and coordinator reports have been rolling in and your contributions are amazing! Over 40,000 hours of service has been reported! Including over 15,000 pounds of produce donated to area food banks!

Your generous service and its collective impact is making a meaningful difference to the communities that we serve!  Thank you for educating and guiding home gardeners…answering questions at Farmers Markets and MG helpline offices, sharing proven, sustainable gardening knowledge by presenting at community events, and digging deep, educating fellow Master Gardeners and community members at Chapter demonstration and education gardens.  Thank you for contributing your time, passion and knowledge to the cause you consider good… educating the gardening public in successful and sustainable gardening practices!

Display Your 2020 MG Sticker!

Those who have fulfilled the requirements to maintain their status as an active and “current” Master Gardener will receive a 2020 Recertification sticker to proudly display on your MG badge. 

The sticker is a designation that you are current and up-to-date, having completed all required volunteer service hours, continuing education opportunities, and completed forms.  Stickers will be distributed at Fall Recertification and mailed (by year’s end) to those who do not attend Fall Recertification. For MGs still needing information about how to remain current, please refer to the Volunteer Portal’s How to Maintain Active OSU Master Gardener Status page.

If you have yet to send in the annual required forms, please send them in as soon as possible, so you too can receive your 2020 Recertification sticker and remain on our ‘active’ Master Gardener roll.

  1. 2018_2019 Volunteer log sheet
  2. 2019_2020 Conditions of Volunteer Service form
  3. Youth Safety and Compliance training. To take the training read the Basic Training (2 pages) and sign the Certification Form. Return the form to the MG program office by December 31,2019.

Spread the Word! 
2020 MG Training Registration Open!

How do the majority of people learn about Master Gardener training?  From Master Gardeners of course! Now is your chance to let others know about the rewarding opportunities available serving as a Master Gardener volunteer.  Registration is now open for the 2020 Master Gardener Training!

Share the word with your gardening friends, wanna-be gardeners, and fellow community members.  Direct those interested to our Metro-area Master Gardener website for easy online registration.

Reduced-priced application options are available on a limited basis.  If you know someone who would be interested in serving the community as a garden-educator and would qualify for a reduced-price option, please direct them to our MG Training registration page for an application and qualifications.  The MG Training Fellowships and Scholarships are offered thanks to the generosity and guidance of the metro-area Chapters.

Be Our Brand Advocate!

If social media is a favorite communication avenue for you, please consider sharing about the Master Gardener training registration on the social media sites on which you participate.  Share posts from our Facebook and Twitter accounts or direct those interested to our website.  We would love to cover all Nextdoor neighborhoods in the metro-area.  If you need more information or would like a promotional photo to post – please contact Marcia McIntyre: marcia.mcintyre@oregonstate.edu

Fall Recertification Fills. More Continuing Education Opportunities!

Anticipating high interest in our Saturday, November 9th, annual Fall Recertification email invitations were sent to all Master Gardeners requesting RSVPs. 

We are currently at full capacity for the event venue. Those still interested can submit their name to a waiting list.  As space becomes available, those on the waiting list will be notified.

If you RSVP’d you will be attending and are no longer able to join us, please notify Marcia McIntyre to allow the next person on the waiting list to attend.

To allow more Master Gardeners the opportunity for continuing education, an additional Recertification event will be scheduled in the Spring of 2020. 

Future Training Dates

Note: Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion training will be offered four additional dates in 2020

Tuesday, February 18 – 9am to 12noon, Hillsboro MG training site

Thursday, February 20 – 9am to 12noon, Oregon City MG training site

Friday, February 21 – 9am to 12noon, Portland MG training site

Spring Recertification 2020, date TBA

Watch for additional details in upcoming newsletters and emails from Program staff.


With Fond and Grateful Remembrance

Noreen Thompson

It is with deep sadness we report the passing of Norrene Thompson who is fondly remembered, along with her husband Gray, as the “First Couple of the Master Gardener Program” in Oregon.  Read more about Norrene’s dedicated contributions to the Master Gardener program.


OSU Master Gardener Advanced Training Webinars

What Can a Leaf Bud Tell Us About Environmental Change? Citizen Science, Master Gardeners and Nature’s Notebook.
November 8, 10am PT
Presented by Erin Posthumus (USA National Phenology Network)
Register here: https://learn.extension.org/events/3687

Each MG Advanced Training Webinars counts as 1-hour continuing education credit.  Recordings of the webinars are posted a couple of days following the live webinar.

More Advanced Training Webinars
The OSU Advanced Training Webinars are a great way to stay up-to-date on the latest in horticultural science.   This series features University experts who offer a wealth of research-based information on home gardening topics, which support you in your role as a garden educator.   Check out the great library of webinar recordings.

2019 Advanced Training Webinars

2018 Advanced Training Webinars

2017 Advanced Training Webinars

*MG Advanced Training Webinars count as 1-hour continuing education credit.  You may count any webinar, from any year, that you watch for the first time. List any Advanced Training Webinars that you view on your Volunteer Log Sheet. 

MG HelplinesGuide home gardeners through the fall and winter season!   

As the days shorten and the temperatures cool, a new host of gardening conundrums perplex the home gardener.

You can assist and expand your own knowledge, collaborating with other MGs as you research and advise gardeners.  Sign-up on CERVIS or contact a phone coordinator.

Noreen Thompson

With sadness, we report the passing of Norrene Thompson, an important figure in the history of the Oregon Master Gardener Program and the Clackamas County Master Gardener Association.

Gray and Norreen Thompson, 2005
Gray and Norreen Thompson, 2005

In 1975, Norrene’s husband Gray Thompson established the Master Gardener program in Clackamas County. From that time forward, the Thompson’s served as the “First Couple” of the Master Gardener program in Oregon.

Upon retiring in 1985, Norrene took the Master Gardener volunteer training and was an active Master Gardener volunteer for over 30 years. With a background as a home economics teacher, Norrene chaired the food committee for the Spring Garden Fair, a big job. She served as a liaison between the Clackamas Master Gardener Association and the Milwaukie Center, the long-time home for the chapter. Norrene served as chapter secretary and treasurer and also helped to establish a chapter mentoring program.

In 1995, Norrene and Gray were acknowledged as “An Honored Pair” and in 2005 the pair were recognized as State Master Gardeners of the year.

Gray Thompson passed away in 2012. The Thompson’s are survived by their daughter Noel Sullivan (herself a Master Gardener), son Linn; son-in-law Tom; daughter-in-law, Terrie; grandchildren, Jonn and Marco; and great-grandchildren, Jackson, Mylo and Connor.

A fitting tribute to Gray and Norrene Thompson

The Clackamas County Chapter of the Oregon Master Gardeners Association made an initial gift to the Extension Education Center fundraising program ($50,000).

The chapter has requested the naming rights for the Master Gardener Clinic in the new building—to be called the Gray and Norrene Thompson Master Gardener Clinic.

The Clackamas Extension Education Center will be located in Oregon City near our current office. Construction begins in 2020.

Memorial service for Norrene

Norrene’s memorial service will be held Saturday, November 9 at 2:00pm at the Moreland Presbyterian Church (1814 SE Bybee, Portland).

In lieu of flowers, the family suggests donations to the Clackamas County Master Gardeners or Moreland Church.

See Norrene’s Obituary.

Noreen Thompson
Noreen Thompson, 1995

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

Lady beetles sometimes overwinter in structures, OSU

Five insect pests that overwinter in structures. (Nicole Sanchez, OSU Extension) https://bit.ly/2oAm5uS

Professional credentials and gardening expertise: Arborists. (Colby Moorburg, gardenprofessors.com) https://bit.ly/2VAVESc

Organic Fungicides for the Home Gardener. (FS128E; Dr. Linda Chalker-Scott, WSU; FS128E) https://bit.ly/2B3jX1T

Why do some oak trees produce more acorns than others do? (Todd Oder, mnn.com) https://bit.ly/2q6yJ5P

Spiders fly using electricity, not wind. “A surprising finding potentially solves the enduring mystery of how and when baby spiders become airborne.” (Andrew Patterson, cosmosmagazine.com) https://bit.ly/2mM19QH

Strawbale vegetable garden
Straw bale vegetable garden, Ohio State University

Using cereal straw bales in home gardens. (Dr. Linda Chalker-Scott, WSU) https://bit.ly/324KdEW

Did you know that earwigs have wings?  “An ode to earwig wings, which break standard laws of origami.”  Watch the video and see their beautiful wings! (Douglas Main, nationalgeographic.com) https://on.natgeo.com/2VBNqt3

Fertilizers — a cautionary tale.  “Gardeners are assaulted with marketing campaigns nowhere better than in the fertilizer aisle of a garden center. There are so many choices and the labels suggest that fertilizing garden plants is a complicated process that requires specialized products.” (Jim Downer, gardenprofessors.com) https://bit.ly/2lKLDVi

The Amazon’s tallest tree just got 50 percent taller – and scientists don’t know how. (Iflscience.com) https://bit.ly/328aClr

Late summer pruning: what happens, what won’t work, and why. (Dr. Linda Chalker-Scott, WSU; gardenprofessors.com) https://bit.ly/35tr3e8

By Jean R. Natter

Group and water containers

In an emergency, as in you were caught off guard, realize that container-grown plants are more sensitive to cold than the same kind of plants in the ground. It’s because roots are more sensitive to cold than top growth. Root are essentially exposed when in pots but are protected by the large soil mass in the ground.

The first things that need attention are container-grown plants. Set them pot-to-pot tight, in a sheltered place, then throw frost-blanket or an old blanket over the group. You can protect hanging baskets similarly, by setting each one on an up-turned pot or bucket. Then, too, a large cardboard box will shelter an individual specimen nicely. Such emergency covers can protect against several degrees of cold.

But don’t use plastic sheeting unless you prop it above the plants. The reason? When the freeze arrives, any plant tissue touching the plastic will die.

If you have sufficient time to think ahead, make certain all the containers are well-watered, even those you’re unable to move because of their size or weight. Even though it may be hard to believe, moist growing media is less likely to freeze than if it’s dry. (That’s true for all plants, whether in a container or the ground.)

And if you forget to set the plants in a sheltered site, you may still be able to protect them if you act just before dawn, the time when the lowest temperature occurs

The effects of a freeze

Frozen plant tissue turns dark and becomes soft to mushy. The reason, in most cases, is that ice crystals form inside the plant cells during a freeze and, then, perforated the cell walls. If you see minor freeze damage on a treasured plant early in the day, you may be able to limit potentially serious damage by shading the damaged area from direct sunlight. With shade, the intracellular ice crystals thaw slowly and will be less likely to rupture cell walls than if they thawed rapidly.

Camellia flower with frost damage

Camellia sasanqua, a winter-flowering shrub with flower damage from freezing temperatures several days prior. The damaged tissue is somewhat brown and appears moist; the petals flop. (J.R. Natter; Dec 6, 2009)

Some generalizations

  • Get ahead of the game by adding several inches of mulch on the soil around cold-sensitive plants.
  • In general, recently installed plants, even if a kind that’s normally hardy, are more likely to be frost-damaged than those planted a year or more previously.
  • If a shrub or tree is seriously damaged during a freeze event, wait to remove damaged wood until after new growth begins in the spring. Then, cut at least an inch below the dead section. In the meantime, the damaged parts will provide a small amount of frost protection to the plant.
  • If a hard frost, extended or not, is predicted, move sensitive plants into a shed or garage for the duration. Water, if needed, during their stay. (One year, several of my plants were still in good condition after 10 days in an attached garage with only one small window.)
  • If a hard frost, extended or not, is predicted, move sensitive plants into a shed or garage for the duration. Water, if needed, during their stay. (One year, several of my plants were still in good condition after 10 days in an attached garage with only one small window.)


Winter Injury of Landscape Plants in the Pacific Northwest: (PNW Plant Disease Handbook; https://pnwhandbooks.org/plantdisease/pathogen-articles/nonpathogenic-phenomena/winter-injury-landscape-plants-pacific)

Abiotic Disorders of Landscape Plants (A copy of this book is in each metro MG office; pages 133-138 and 175-176.)

The following two Natter’s Notes have many images of cold damage but, unfortunately, are old enough that some of the listed references no longer exist:

Natter’s Notes: “Cold Damage – Lessons from the Garden” (In metro Mg Newsletter, January 2011. pages 4-5) http://www.metromastergardeners.org/files/news/January2011.pdf

Natter’s Notes: “December’s Cold Damage to Plants” (In metro Mg Newsletter, February 2010, pages 8-9) http://www.metromastergardeners.org/files/news/February2010.pdf

Freezing winter weather takes toll on home landscape plants: OSU eNews, (Reprinted in metro Mg Newsletter, February 2010, page 10) http://www.metromastergardeners.org/files/news/February2010.pdf