March Garden Clippings     

McMinnville Garden Club

PO Box 386, McMinnville, OR


March 15, 2010 – 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. - Speaker: Becky Wright Sell

Sedum Chicks, LLC, was originally started by Becky and her mother 10 years ago. She now works the nursery full time, with her mother, husband and other family members helping at shows and on other occasions. Sedum Chicks  won awards in the 2009 "Yard and Garden Show"  and has participated in the McMinnville Garden Faire for the last few years. 

Becky will do a demonstration on how to make a living succulent wreath, also, how to plant a container of succulents. She will give a brief description of the plants she will bring. She will also have a variety of plants available for purchase. Payment by check will be the easiest. 

Flowers to Share

Don't forget to bring your yard cuttings!  This can include flowers, branches, bulbs, etc.  There will be a flower container for you to add your finds to and help arrange.  During the meeting, we’ll select someone to take home the great bouquet all ready for their house.

*Remember:   “The Making a Difference Campaign” is a national garden club project.   Our Pioneer District is collecting inkjet, laser printer cartridges and cell phones that will be recycled.  If you have any that you wish to contribute to the project please bring them to a meeting and we will forward them to the Pioneer District.  They take clean bottle caps, the plastic ones that DON’T bend. No medicine bottle caps.  *Also bring your magazines to share with others.


March President’s message

“Dig In”

Develop Skills, Increase Civic Service, and Grow Friendships


 Involvement & Nurturing 

Here it comes!  The parade of activities (Nursery tours, garden field trips, plant sales and of course, YARD WORK) to enjoy as the Earth awakens and our senses take in the rebirth occurring all around us.  Speaking of rebirth, don’t be in too big of a hurry to whack back plants you think have died during the cold this past winter.  I made that mistake last year to my fig tree.  It is recovering but is only two feet tall now instead of five!  As our plants stretch to reawaken their “limbs”, it is time for us to also get ready for those bending, stretching, and squatting moves that are a necessary part of any gardener’s repertoire.  To help prepare us for all this activity, a couple of garden members have volunteered to provide an additional program on Gardening Yoga after our March meeting.  If you are interested in staying for this bonus program, make plans to stay until 1:00 on March 15th.  (Bring a sack lunch or snacks)  Hope to see you there!

March 13th Saturday, 9:00AM to 3:00PM

The Washington County Small Woodlands Association has scheduled its ninth annual Native Plant and Tree Sale

Bales Thriftway Store at 17675 SW Farmington Rd., Aloha.
Native plants require less water and fertilizer, and attract wildlife.  They are a perfect fit for those interested in both cost saving and “green” landscaping. 
ADDED FEATURE:  Pre-order selected plants online at    
 For further information, contact Bonnie Shumaker (503)324-7825


March 20-21 Lovely Spring Ohara Ikebana Exhibition at Portland Japanese Garden
To learn more about these and other upcoming events at the Portland Japanese Garden, visit or call 503-542-0280.According to Diane Durston, the Garden’s Curator of Culture, Art, and Education, “Just as the Japanese Garden itself, the traditional art of Ikebana has so much to teach contemporary artists and designers about simplicity, asymmetry, and balance. Anyone interested in learning more about the Japanese sense of beauty will really enjoy this exhibition.”   Separate Ikebana exhibitions by four ikebana schools and one by the International Ikebana Society occur throughout the year at the Portland Japanese Garden. All ikebana exhibitions are free with paid Garden admission.


April 3rd through May 23rd  - Saturdays and Sundays, 11:00 a.m. until 4:00 p.m 5065 Raybell Road, St.Paul, Oregon, 7/10ths of a mile west of Highway 219 between St. Paul and Newberg

Cecil and Molly Smith Garden  -  This three-acre natural woodland setting features choice trees, shrubs, wildflowers, and bulbs, including Cyclamen,Trillium, Erythronium, Azaleas and Narcissus which complement the over 600 world renowned rhododendron collection. Established in the early 1950's, the garden contains many rare species grown by Cecil Smith from seeds Imported from China and cuttings from England, as well as hybrids he developed.  A selection of plants featured in the garden are available for purchase. There is a modest admission fee of $3.00. Due to the sloping site the garden is not considered handicap accessible. The garden is located at. Turn west on Champoeg Road (look for the blue Heirloom Roses sign) and continue straight on to Raybell Road to the garden. Parking and entrance are on the right just past the house with the garden address. This spring, don't miss this hidden gem which has been featured in Horticulture magazine and several television programs.

Monday, April 12 / possibly Tuesday, April 13
Save the date.  It’s time for our annual “Bag Ladies” Third Street Cleanup.  We REALLY need lots of workers this year.  More info at the meeting.  Lunch at Golden Valley on Monday!  Meet 9:00 parking lot across from Macy’s with your gloves, clippers, brooms, etc.

April 3rd – Saturday - Gardenpalooza

Daffodil Festival in Amity April 10-11


The goal of this project is to document bee pollination and protect and restore native bees. To join in this effort just purchase a package of Lemon Queen variety sunflower seeds and plant them in your garden (or pots) when the soil temperature reaches 55 degrees. Download instructions and data sheets at  It will take only 15 minutes of your time to count the number of bees that land on your sunflowers and enter the data on line. Help our bees. They are responsible for every third bite of food!



The McMinnville Garden Club was organized in 1926. The Club’s beautification projects are visible throughout the city from hanging flower baskets to the kiosk on Third Street, the décor-ative bench at the Police Station to the pink dogwood trees planted on Linfield campus in 1943.

Yard of the Month designations have been awarded since 1991. Next year will be our 20th year!  Criteria for selection includes a garden maintained by the homeowner(s), neat appearance, pleasing shrub combinations, tree placement and hardscape. Gardens must be within Yamhill County. Only front yards are judged.  Garden Club members’ yards are not eligible. The event runs from April through September each year.  You can take a look at yards since 2002 at:

The committee searches for different styles of gardens. Some are mature and some are in their youth. Gardens are sought from every area of the city. A unique feature, such as hardscape, pond, specimen plant or art, provides a point of interest.

 As you drive around town and notice front yards that are real “stand outs”, please contact this year’s Y of the M Chair, Mildred Reppetto.  Be sure to look for articles about the honorees in the Homes section of the News Register and watch for the Yard of the Month sign in a front yard from April through September.



Raised beds are a great way of permanently separating the areas of your plot that you cultivate from those that you walk on. Their shape is entirely up to you but restrict width to 3'-0" if accessible from one side only, or 4'-0" if accessible front and back. Any wider and you will have trouble reaching the center without treading on the soil.


Every year, top up the contents with bulky organic matter and you should end up with rich, fertile soil that is well-structured and free draining. For the project you will need:

Ø  Edging boards, at least 3½" wide and 1½" thick (nominal 2 x 4)

Ø  Wood corner posts, at least 12" long and 1½" x 1½" (nominal 2 x 2)

Ø  Hammer and nails

Ø  Level, string and two bricks

Ø  Mixture of topsoil, garden compost and/or farmyard manure


The benefits of raised beds:

Ø  Soil conditioners and fertilizers can easily be added to the target areas

Ø  Crop rotations will be straightforward to incorporate into specific beds on you plot


On shallow chalky or stony soils the extra height of soil increases rooting depth

Less ground on your plot has to be dug, as pathways become more permanent

Custom-made tunnel cloches or frames can easily be erected over the beds.  There's no need to walk on the soil, therefore compaction is eliminated

Your crops are easily accessible, making weeding and harvesting simpler

The bed will drain freely and, additionally, will warm quickly in the spring.


Additional tip:

            If your plot is on heavy clay the structure of your soil may be poor and it will retain water, making it slow to warm up in time for spring sowings. Making a double height raised bed containing soil enriched with well rotted organic matter is the perfect solution. 


Backyard Habitats – Marilyn Coats


There is a variety of bird seeds and mixtures.  The best all-around seed would be the black-oil sunflower seed.  However, if you get tired of pulling up all the growies, the hulled hearts or chips are better.  They are a little more expensive, but worth it in the long run.  The other kind of hulled seed that my birds seem to love is millet.  Regular millet grows rampant under my feeders, so I was happy to find the hulled millet (even though it costs more also). 

Safflower seed is a common preference (according to the charts).  But when I tried it, my birds didn’t seem the least bit interested and I finally just threw it away!!!  Other varieties include cracked corn, peanut pieces, peanuts in shells and, of course, niger for the goldfinches.  Niger doesn’t grow when dropped on the ground, but it can certainly grow fuzzy mold with a little moisture!

Some sources indicate that it is better to have one kind of seed in a birdfeeder, as the birds are searching for their favorites and the seed gets scattered all over the ground.  However, I combine all of my seed together in my two covered platform feeders.  Since I use the hulled seed and scatter it around the platform, there is very little that ends up on the ground. 

There are many wild bird mixes with a lot of filler seeds that the birds don’t eat.  I  buy the hulled seed and better mixes at Dundee Garden Art, Wilco, or Buchanan Cellars. 

Make sure you clean your birdfeeders regularly to keep the mold away.  Also store the seed in a cool, dry place and check often for mold.  Do not use seed that has been stored for an extended period of time and dispose of any that is questionable.  Keep the birds happy!


Here are a few tips for those of you who are starting your seeds indoors.  Soaking hard shelled seeds overnight in tepid strong black tea will help them sprout.  The tannic acid in the tea etches the hard shell just enough to give them a boost.  Never fertilize a starting mix.  A plant needs to have two sets of true leaves before it receives any fertilizer.  Always strive for balance between light, heat and water.  Using chamomile tea for watering seedlings helps prevent damping off. 

           Plant momentum (steady growth progress) is essential for healthy productive plants.   If a plant’s momentum has been stopped, because it was set out in the cold ground too early or because it was left in a pot too long and became root bound, it will never achieve its optimum growth or beauty.  When growth momentum is stopped, the plant exudes chemicals which invite aphids or other harmful insects.  Plants stressed because their momentum has been interrupted are also susceptible to disease.  

           Maintaining steady plant momentum is why it is important to feed plants slowly and steadily.  A sudden burst from too much fertilizer may create an abrupt growth spurt which will do more harm than good in the long run.  Plants that may need an acid type fertilizer in March are your rhododendrons, camellias, and azaleas.  This also  is an optimum time for fertilizing cane berries.

Internet Links

Pioneer District Newsletter

State website 


Oregon’s March garden chores
Raised Bed Gardening
Cleaning Outdoor Furniture