Garden Clippings

McMinnville Garden Club PO Box 386, McMinnville, OR  503-434-4344  February 2011

February21, 2011 – MEETING

Hillside Retirement Community “Activity Room” at the Manor

900 N. Hill Road McMinnville, OR  97128


9:30a.m. - 10:00a.m.  - Social time

10:00 a.m. - 11:00 a.m. - Business Meeting and FUN
11:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m. -  Jan Main - Soil Science 101


With the nice weather we have had recently, it's time to start  thinking about getting our soil ready for planting.  To help you along, the February speaker will help us learn how to prepare the perfect soil and some ssustainable practices for improving our soil and how to maintain it will be presented.  She will also cover topics such as basic soil chemistry, life in the soil, improving soil with compost, mulches, cover crops and fertilizers.


February 8 - Application Deadline for County Master Recycler Class
Learn how to reduce your waste, conserve natural resources and motivate others to change with you.  This eight week class is sponsored by Yamhill County Solid Waste.  Classes start March 3rd  in Newberg.  Contact Sherrie Mathison at 503-434-7445,   Cost is $35 plus 35 hours of community service.

Feb. 24 - Sudden Oak Death - 7 p.m.
Carnegie Room, McMinnville Public Library
225 N.W. Adams Street, McMinnville
Dr. Nancy K. Osterbauer, a plant health program manager for the Oregon Department of Agriculture, will give a presentation to update us on Sudden Oak Death, which affects our local Oregon white oak. The disease, Phytophthora ramorum, has killed hundreds of otherwise healthy oaks in Oregon. Is the disease still spreading? Is there anything we can do to prevent it?
Sponsored by Master Gardeners - Native Plant Society of Oregon, Cheahmill Chapter - Information: 503-835-1042

February 26,  - Oregon Garden- Speaker, Paul Freed - 1pm   Education Center
Garden University presents  Madagascar: The Real Treasure Island 
for more information:  

February 28th - Fabric Kites - Garden Club Craft


Supply List

v  Foam core board (available at Walmart)

v  Fabric scraps big enough to cover foam core kite

v  Any embellishments or trims to jazz up your kite (beads, sequins, yarns, etc.)

v  Glue stick

v  Sewing machine if you plan to sew your fabric together.  You can also use glue. I will have my sewing machine available for people to use.


February President’s Message

February is upon us and I’m thrilled.  That means March is close behind with the promise of spring flowers.  I’ve already noticed that some hydrangeas are beginning to send up new growth, bulbs are starting to pop out of the ground and I’ve seen lots of folks pruning.  Most noticeably, our club is starting up field trips and arts and crafts activities again.  Now, as long as no late season snow storm keeps us housebound, we are off to the growing season. 

And in that case, we need to get motivated.  What better way than to join us on our field trip to the Yard, Garden and Patio Show, Feb. 18th.  In order to get there in time for some of the workshops, we will be leaving the Bethel Baptist Church parking lot at 9 AM.  Bring a lunch or plan to buy one there.  We’ll hope to be home in the late afternoon with new treasures and great ideas!

Next we need to start preparing the most important element to all gardens’ success, in my experience, SOIL.  Our February speaker will help us do just that!  Hope to see you at our meeting on Feb. 21st!

And just for fun, we’ll end February with a fabric kite sewing project on the 28th. See the article in this newsletter.  I’m looking forward to a fun morning of designing, sewing, and friends.  Of course, there may just be some snacks too!  If you don’t plan to sew a kite, you can drop by and enjoy the process!!!  We’ll be at our usual location at Hillside 9:30-noon.

All this brings another set of planning thoughts to my mind, what survived this winter and what surprises does Mother Nature have in store for this year!?  Oh, by the way, Mother Nature sounds like a great secret phrase.  Did you get to the end of this article to read that?                                 Patty


Wildlife Habitat

June Benson

Garden Jewel: Anna’s Hummingbird

                 One cold December morning an Anna’s Hummingbird hovered outside our kitchen window. He spotted the Christmas greenery I set on the window sill inside, and I am sure he hoped to check out one of those shiny red plastic berries. Poor bird—below freezing, no flowers in bloom, and no feeder. My husband and I felt guilty and within a week we set up a feeder on our deck.

                Several hummingbirds now visit regularly, and it’s easy to see why they are often described as “garden jewels”. The male Anna’s Hummingbird has an iridescent green body and in direct sunlight, the dark head shines a deep rose red. The throat of the female reflects some red spots. Before the 1950’s the Anna’s Hummingbird was unknown in Oregon. Now this little bird is a year-round resident west of the Cascades.   These tiny birds weigh 1/10 of an ounce (less than a nickel) and are only 4” long. They beat their wings 70-80 times or more per second and reach speeds of 60 mph! They are the only birds that can truly hover and fly backwards; they can do this because their wings rotate at the shoulder. Hummingbirds can live up to 5 years in the wild.

They need to eat about half their body weight daily in nectar and insects. They feed on nectar, our sugary-solution feeders, and tree sap (and the insects attracted to the sap.) Hummingbirds use water for bathing but meet most of their drinking needs from nectar.

                Attracting hummingbirds to your garden is easy. First grow flowers that produce nectar. Clumps of red, orange, and pink flowers are more visible to them than other colors. In fact our January speaker, Deborah Topp, talked about the red “hummingbird superhighway” in her own garden. Fragrance is not important.  Add a hummingbird feeder. Check the OSU Extension Service for plant and feeder recommendations at

These birds are beautiful and fun to watch, but they also play an important role in our gardens as pollinators and insect predators.

Our cold weather is certainly a threat to hummingbirds. How do they survive? Nests are used only by the female and young in the spring. So during the winter are they perched in a tree? Inside a shrub? Would they use a birdhouse? This is the question I can’t answer. If you know, drop me a note at

Meet Joan Friese

Interviewed by Rosemary Vertregt

            Joan is a native of this area, having been raised in Forest Grove, progressing through the same schools her children and grand-children later attended. During her childhood she loved spending time with her grandparents on their McMinnville farm. Her grandmother, Blanche Thurston, was an active member of the McMinnville Garden Club, and Joan often accompanied her to club events, including the Christmas wreath-making work parties, where she remembers working alongside long-time member Blanche Wold. Joan credits her grandmother’s influence for her love of plants and flowers. Joan’s mother, who had worked for a florist, insisted that plants just would not grow for her unless planted and tended by Joan! 

After graduating from Forest Grove High School, and an early marriage and motherhood, Joan worked as a dental receptionist, and at a shop, where Bob Friese, the friendly manager of J.C. Penney befriended Joan and attempted to date her, though he had been told that she was divorced and did not date, as she had children to raise. However, he was persistent; she relented, and they became a happy pair -- enjoying dancing, golf, and travel, especially to smaller, back roads places. For several years, they spent winter months in Yuma, Arizona, exploring and making new friends, with whom they later exchanged visits in each other’s homes.                                              


Joan and Bob had moved to Albany when Bob was transferred there, so when he decided to take an early retirement after 37 years with Penney’s, they settled on McMinnville as the perfect choice -- not too far from family, and not too close! Joan joined Newcomers and Garden Club, and they golfed, they danced at the Grange on Friday nights (Joan still goes there nearly every week!) Sadly, Bob became ill and passed away eight years ago, and after some lonely, difficult times, Joan says that she is so happy for all the wonderful memories they created together, and she keeps involved and interested, in Garden Club, Senior Center activities, and, of course, in family!  She has a daughter in Los Angeles, two daughters in Beaverton, and one in Cornelius, six grandchildren, and l6 great-grandchildren. She also has something else--neighbors who fish--and generously share their catch with her!         But it is Joan herself who shows generosity with her time and efforts on behalf of our club members who are coping with a death or serious illness or injury in their close family. For four years, Joan has gladly assumed the duties of “SUNSHINE” Chairman, contacting members needing warmth and some caring attention from friends. She sends cards, makes calls, and visits, often bringing plants to a home or hospital, and she alerts members to the situation. Joan feels that it is especially helpful to give a plant which will re-bloom at the same time each year, reminding our member not of her loss, but of our caring feelings. Thank you, Joan.  What you do is important to us, and we all can use every drop of “SUNSHINE” we can get here in Oregon!



Horticulture - Marilyn Coats

CRYPTOMERIA japonica ‘Elegans

This is a graceful conifer tree that grows slowly into a dense pyramid 20-60 feet tall, 20 feet wide.  The ‘Elegans Aurea’ is similar but turns yellow in winter.

At one of our gardens on the Garden Tour, I saw a tall, feathery, grayish green tree.  Of course, I had to feel the branches (kind of like being in a material store and feeling all the materials!).  They looked like stiff needles, but were so soft and elegant.  Evelyn was with me and she wasn’t sure what kind of tree it was.  But she pursued it until she came up with the name.  If you can’t identify a plant, especially trees, Evelyn is great at finding the answer. 

That tree was much too big for my yard, but I found out there was a dwarf that only got to 4 feet high and wide called ‘Nana’.  It had dark green foliage that turned coppery red or purplish in winter. 

I bought one as soon as I found it and planted it in front of the house in a limited space.  It was such a pretty and graceful tree.  However, after 4-5 years, it was over 5 feet high and wide, outgrowing the space.  So, sadly, I had to get rid of it before it got any bigger and harder to dig up.  (You can’t always believe the plant markers.)

If you have a larger space, you might consider the Cryptomeria tree as it is such a very attractive, feathery tree.  According to the garden book, there are some smaller species, but finding them around our area is not so easy! 


Garden Tour/Faire 2011

A big thanks to those folks who signed up at the January meeting for some of the tasks needed for our upcoming Garden Tour/Faire on June 26.  We need everyone to participate as we say:  many hands makes less work.  AND this isn’t all work.  It is a great way to get to know garden members and donate some of your time to the fundraiser that allows us to give back to our community AND have an impact on the horticultural beautification of the area.

Job Descriptions:


Internet Links:  
Pioneer District

State website 


Club Calendar of Events  (new spring dates added)

Winter Issue of Pioneer Press Online

How to Improve Clay Soil:

Dormant sprays can help reduce pests & disease in home orchards