Garden Clippings

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

 June 20, 2011 – POTLUCK/MEETING

Yamhill County Historical Museum

Highway 18


9:30 a.m. – 10:00 a.m. – Setup Time

10a.m.  - 10:30a.m.  - Social time

10:30 a.m. - 11:00 a.m. – Flower Arranging Activity
11:00 a.m. - 11:30 am.
– Business Meeting/Quilt Drawing/Installation

11:30 a.m. -12:30?  Potluck Luncheon

12:30-1:30?  Tour of Museum

1:30-?  Garden Visitation


NOTE: This month’s meeting is a POTLUCK at the Yamhill County Historical Museum.  Members are asked to bring their favorite potluck item – hot dishes, salad, desserts, etc.  There is electricity to keep dishes warm but no oven/stove.  Please be sure to bring the utensil needed.  Drinks, plates, silverware will be provided.  DRESS WARM and wear COMFORTABLE SHOES as we will be walking on gravel during the tour.  For our program we are asking that members bring freshly picked flowers/greens from your yards!  Gaye will instruct us in a flower arranging activity.  At the close of our business meeting, installation of our 2011-12 officers will be conducted by Karen Brown, current OSFGC, Inc. President.  We will be given a special tour of the museum and grounds by Gloria Lutz.  Items that were purchased with our donation will be noted and additional plans for our funds will be discussed.

After our yummy potluck, members are invited to tour Patty Sorensen’s four year old yard at 1666 NW Medinah, off Cottonwood.  Merle’s yard will be on tour at a later date.



President’s Message

Hard to believe that we have moved into June.  Our train journey for the 2010-11 year is almost at its last station.  Remarkable!  That means it is also almost time for our annual tour/faire.   I can’t wait!  I enjoy seeing what the homeowners have done in their yards. On June 26 all of your hard work will be greatly appreciated by those who attend.

At the same time, June means the end of the line for your current board.  What a fun group this has been to serve you with!  Cindy Flake has been the perfect secretary.  Her questions and suggestions have encouraged us to remember that all members do not have a historical perspective.  Stephanie Janik as treasurer knows how to efficiently use a computer program to keep us abreast of our expenditures, but also has picked up various tasks needed to be accomplished.  And then there is Beryl Anderson as Vice President.  Didn’t she do a fabulous job of bringing us incredible speakers? She also used her energies to help us get ready for each meeting and filled in wherever needed.  What can I do to help? was often heard at our board meetings.  It has been a pleasure to work with these great ladies.  I know that each of us will work closely with your new board to bring you a fun filled new year on their leadership journeys.







Post Office Landscape Renewal



Be sure to check out the new landscaping at the Post Office.  A big thanks goes to Judy Wilkerson, her husband and crew for digging out the overgrown plants, hauling in gravel, boulders, plants and planting the new more water-wise plants.  We are proud of your work.


Way to go, members!



Wildlife Habitat by June Benson


            I recently saw two Jays perform what looked like a courtship display. They followed one another between the shrubs and trees and would stop from time to time to touch their bills. They could have been passing worms back and forth although it looked like kissing to me! These Jays were blue, but they were not Blue Jays who have a blue crest and only live east of the Rocky Mountains. Instead, they were Western Scrub-Jays who are year-round residents in Western Oregon.  Steller’s Jays, with an all black heads and pointed black crests, live here too, but I have never seen Steller’s Jays at my home in McMinnville. They used to come to my bird feeders in Portland (although the Scrub-Jays did not always allow them to stay long).   They live in well forested areas. Scrub-Jays may have been so named because they live in “scrub,” open woodlands, as well as our suburban yards.

            You know when a Scrub-Jay is at your bird feeder because your songbirds will fly away in fright. Scrub-Jays are very territorial and extremely vocal. One naturalist said that they have a call that “curdles the blood, as it is meant to do.” This jay has 20 different calls. Both the male and female build nests in a fairly low tree or shrub that is well hidden amid foliage. They produce one brood a year, laying about 3-6 eggs, and both sexes feed the young. Mated pairs stay together for the long term. You might even think of Scrub-Jays as living as families since the young remain close by for up to a couple of years, helping the parents raise subsequent brothers and sisters.

They are not picky about food and eat almost anything edible. Scrub-Jays love peanuts although I often wonder if they bury more peanuts than they eat. They are probably a major distributor of oak and pine seeds simply because they forget where their stashes are located. Scrub-Jays have been caught stealing acorns from woodpeckers and robbing pine cones from nutcrackers. Some are so devious they have been seen stealing acorns they have watched other Jays hide. However, deer must appreciate their help. There are reports that Scrub-Jays will stand on the back of a deer and pick off and eat ticks and other parasites. Deer will sometimes stand still and hold up their ears to give the birds access. Now that is something I would like to see!



IRISES by Marilyn Coats

There are so many gorgeous kinds of irises nowadays.  I remember when I was very young; my grandparents had a little patch of bearded irises in their front yard.  They weren’t very tall and were all the same color of purple.  I thought they were ugly and remember I didn’t like their odor.  They still don’t have the best smell, but there are so many fantastic colors that it makes it hard to pick and choose! 

The bearded irises seem to be the most popular and come in tall, medium and miniature varieties.  They should be planted in July, August or September.  The roots of newly planted iris should be well established before the growing season ends.  They need at least a half day of sun and in most climates do best in full sun.  Very good drainage is important which can be obtained by planting on a slope or in raised beds.  Gypsum is an excellent soil conditioner that can improve most clay soils.  Plant them so the tops of the rhizomes are exposed and the roots are spread out facing downward in the soil.  Water until well established and then very little water is needed.  Overwatering is a common error. 

Siberian irises have graceful beardless flowers that seem to float atop mounds of narrow grass-like foliage that stays attractive all summer.  They are easily grown in full sun or light shade.  Deep root systems make them tolerant of both dry and boggy conditions. 

Japanese irises have a flower shape that is essentially flat and come in colors of purple, violet, pink, rose, red and white.  They can be veined or edged in contrasting shades.  The leaves are narrow and upright with distinct raised midribs.  Much moisture is needed during the growing and flowering periods. 

There are irises that grow from bulbs such as Dutch irises.  They will flower for years and are best planted in groups.  The Dutch irises do well in containers and are superb cut flowers. 

There are many more species that vary in flower color and form.  I enjoy all irises as they bring such gorgeous colors into the garden.  I’m guilty of buying the different irises and if I had a bigger yard, I would probably buy more! 



Meet Myrna Cuscaden by our Roving Reporter, Jacci Reed


Ringing the doorbell at Myrna’s home told me in no uncertain terms that the “security system” was engaged and functioning!  Gathering “Finnigan”, the Welsh Corgi, into his arms,  Myrna’s husband Art opened the door and offered a calmer welcome. I learned that Finnigan is a sweetheart, and once he is convinced by his people that the visitor loves to pet pets, he’s more than willing to put up with her. 

            Myrna was born and raised in Portland, and graduated from Jefferson High School.  She was working for “Ma Bell” when she took a vacation to visit her older brother in California.  But this was no ordinary vacation; yes, she enjoyed the lovely weather and the time off work, but mainly she really liked a tall good-looking friend of her brother’s named Art Cuscaden!  Overriding all the mature, rational, well-meaning  opinions offered by their families,  Myrna and Art were married within two months, and have been so, quite happily, for 47 years!  They have two sons, one in Minnesota, with two boys of his own, and one in Portland, with one son.

            We’re fortunate that Myrna found us here in Oregon, as it wasn’t a sure thing that she would end up where she started (nearly), since there were many stops along the way!   She and Art lived in San Mateo and Camarillo, California before being transferred to Minnesota, where they lived from 1974 - 1990. During this time Myrna worked in banking as a loan processor.  Next was Huntsville, Alabama, for three years, then back to Minnesota, where Myrna worked at an assisted living facility, then as manager of an independent living facility, including the Human Relation Department.  When she talks about her work there, one can tell that she was in exactly the place her heart needed her to be, and where I’m sure the residents knew how very lucky they were to have her.

             When Art retired in 2002, the next move was way out West to McMinnville, where they moved into their brand new house in 2003.  Attempting to landscape the yard, they found slick, hard, unyielding clay! Jokingly, Art suggested a jackhammer might help, and that’s what they eventually used--a jackhammer with a spade at the “business end”!  Who knew??  It worked, but with much yanking, twisting, and wrestling by both!  The two of them constructed their own waterfall with fishpond, heavy rocks and all.  It’s beautiful and full of goldfish, and it’s only been raided once---by a blue heron.  Around this time,  on the encouragement of their neighbor, Rosie Green, Myrna joined us.  Her yard is now flourishing, with a variety of plants and trees.

            Myrna enjoys her “Gentle Yoga” class twice a week, and says it definitely helps keep one in shape for gardening.  [ Note: The Senior Center will have a Gardening Yoga class this Summer at the Community Center.]  Also, she enjoys being a Peer Counselor for NW Seniors and Disability Services.  She meets with people who are in crisis and having difficulty coping with what to do next.  Some are recently widowed, some just leaving the hospital, some struggling as caretakers to a spouse with multiple illnesses.  Counselors listen to the clients to find out what their goals and needs may be, and give them information about services that may be available and appropriate.  A Peer Counselor is there to empower the person and let them know that there is hope and help for them.

            Myrna loves her friendly neighborhood, where she and Art join others for Friday evening meet-and-greets.  Sounds great, doesn’t it?  A nice friendly glass of wine with the “Porch People”.  Is that what makes Myrna such a warm and easy person to know?

            A special thank you to her for sharing her energy this year as Raffle Prizes Chair, Yard of the Month Committee, and Chair for the Al’s Garden Club Day.


A huge thank you to Beryl Anderson for donating her beautiful quilt for our raffle this year.  We are looking forward to seeing whose name is drawn as the winner of the king sized quilt at the June potluck!

GARDEN PARTY  - Summer Garden Tour/Faire
June 26, 2011

It is great to begin to see posters, banners, rack cards, and street signs appearing for our annual Garden Tour/Faire.  AND it is great to begin to see the sun even though it isn’t as often as we’d all like.  Be sure to let Beverly Mulkey know if you need more tickets.  Our goal is 700 sold and we’ll only get there with a lot of work on everyone’s part.  We are hoping to be able to continue all of our community projects/scholarships next year.

I’m sure we are all looking forward to our sneak preview on Saturday, June 25.  Hope to see you then at the Bethel Baptist Church parking lot at 9:30.  This pretour is for those members, homeowners, etc. that are busy during the tour/faire working. We’ll try to carpool. AND everyone has their fingers crossed that we won’t have rain nor repeat our 105 degree tour weather.  Think positive.  Clear, sunny with a slight breeze and LOTS of attendees.  We know our garden homeowners have worked hard to share their yards and the vendors are hoping for a great day of sales.  What a fabulous event we are able to offer to the public.  Pat yourselves on the back.  Our co-chairs for both events have done a fabulous job with your support and smiles.



Beverly M. announced the winners of our four $1,000 scholarships this year.  A hearty thanks to the selection committee for their dedication.  Sounds like we had several great candidates and I’m sure we are all proud that we are able to support their horticultural goals.  Three of the recipients are available to help us at the Garden Tour/Faire this year.  Be sure to congratulate them when you see them working as parking attendants!


Final Excursions (Field Trips)


July 25  Dancing Oaks Nursery Visit,  Their nursery is known for its unusual collection of plants from throughout the world. Leave Bethel Baptist Church at 9:30 am for the location between Monmouth and Corvallis.  Bring a friend!   Pack a lunch and we’ll enjoy it in their incredible demonstration garden. 


August 21, Oregon Garden Trip,  Leave Bethel Baptist Church at 9:30 am for Silverton.  You can pack a lunch or purchase one at their small café.  Bring a friend!


Mark your calendars for September 19th for our FIRST meeting of the new season.  Same place, same time!

Internet Links:  

Pioneer District Newsletter

State website 


Club Calendar of Events


Yard of the month


Gardens Online


Garden Sales/Events Throughout Oregon