Garden Clippings

McMinnville Garden Club, PO Box 386, McMinnville, OR  97128   

                 March 2012     503-434-4344

    Monday, March 19, 2012 – 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. – 10:45 a.m. - Business Meeting

11:00 – 12:00   Patty Sorensen,

“Birds in Your Yard, ID, Behavior, and Food Sources”


As our current president recuperates from knee surgery, our past president will offer some insights about Oregon spring:

Past President’s March to Spring                                      Patty Sorensen

I thought I could feel spring on the horizon recently, but it appears that winter is not quite done with us.  Overnight lows are headed back down and snow in the Coast Range is predicted.  Hopefully our daffodils will continue their stretching exercises and bloom here in the valley soon.  At the coast they are already in full bloom.  Amazing what just a bit more warmth does. 

Recently I did get to smell plants growing in warm dirt at the Yard, Garden, and Patio Show.  That was worth the trip!  Don’t forget that your woody plants are looking to you for their summer success.  They need a dose of a fertilizer like 15-15-15 to perform their best.

Guess I’ll have to put down the idea books, seed catalogs, and online browsing and pull weeds, bait for slugs and fertilize when the rain stops for a bit.  Oregonians don’t complain about rain, right?  I still have dozens of books to go through!  Plus I’m enjoying the ambiance of the fire and quiet music still.  At this month’s meeting, I’m hoping to help you with bird identification, successful feeding tips and appropriate plantings for birds.  Bring any bird guides and binocs you have.  It’s time to put up those birdhouses or clean the ones already outside.

Don’t forget to make your reservation for the Pioneer District luncheon on April 19.  Due to deadlines, you’ll need to pay at our March meeting. See you there?

VOLUNTEERS NEEDED for Daffodil Festival

          We will be manning a table with information about our club and tour/faire and enjoying the festival.  Please contact Doris Crain if you can help with one of the 2 ½ hour shifts on March 17 and 18. 


Garden Tour 2012 Update      Judy Wilkerson & Elsie Carpenter, Garden Tour Coordinators

We had our first meeting with committee leaders and passed around our first sign- up sheets which did well, but we need many more volunteers.  We will begin circulating the sign-up sheets at every meeting to give everyone the opportunity to be a part of our “GREAT” event.  JOB DESCRIPTIONS  Check these out to see which ones you can volunteer for! 



March 19, Monday:  Club Meeting, Speaker:  Patty Sorensen, “Birds in Your Yard; ID,                                      Behavior, and Food Sources”


March 26, Monday:  10AM! at Doris Crain’s garage, bring salad or dessert

For our March A&C activity, we will be creating birdbaths made from a variety of ceramics. I started my search by finding the top bird bath section first and matched other pieces to it.  Below you will see three different ones to give you ideas.  Note that in the last picture, the bottom yellow plate and blue planter will be buried below ground level to give some stability to the tower.  There is a special glue that works for this type of outdoor bath.  We will provide a special blue for this activity for $2 per bird bath.  In order to have enough glue, we need to know who is going to attend this event.  Be sure to either sign up at the March meeting or call Doris. Enjoy searching for the ceramic parts!

April 2, Monday           8:55AM           Downtown Cleanup!

Meet at the parking lot across from Macy & Son's Funeral Home on 2nd and Evans.  We’ll break into groups at 9AM and head out from there.  Anyone arriving later will have to find us on Third street.  Bring gloves, clippers, battery-operated blowers, utensils to dig into bark with like worn-out screwdrivers, water, and buckets for debris.  Plan on eating lunch together.


April 5, Thursday                   10AM     Plant & Seed Exchange at Merle Dean’s home


April 16, Monday                  Club Meeting:  Speaker, Luci Hardiman, “Beyond Plants”


April 19, Thursday       Pioneer District Luncheon, must pay at our March meeting.


April 23, Monday                   10AM   Arts & Crafts: Stepping Stones at Jacci Reed’s home


April 26, Thursday       Field Trip: Wild Ginger Farm, Beaver Creek and Bosky Dell

Nurseries (9:30AM:  carpool meets at Bethel Baptist church lot)


Horticulture: GMO: Bane or Beneficial?                                  by Cindy Flake

Humans have modified food organisms via selection (choosing the biggest and the best seeds and plants) and breeding (crossing and developing hybrids) for centuries, and most recently for disease resistance.  Yet, many believe that it is something new and threatening.

Bacillus thuringiensus, (Bt) is a global, soil-dwelling bacterium that produces a toxic protein.  Bt subspecies Kurstaki and Aizawai protein strains have insecticidal properties that are active against certain worm pests.  These have been used for over 20 years as biological insecticides in convention and organic crop production to control a wide range of pests such as borers, moth larvae, and fruit worms.  Bacillus thuringiensis protein genes have been inserted into crops to reduce pest populations AND greatly reduce the need for conventional insecticides.

Bacillus thuringiensus sub sp. Kurstaki, known as DiPel® (trade name), is available for use in our gardens to control loopers, Trichoplusia ni, that feed on Brassicaceae (cabbage family).  It is harmless to birds, humans, animals, fish, and beneficial insects, such as bees.   Caterpillars are food-host specific: Monarch caterpillars feed only on milkweed, while winged butterflies feed on flower nectar, not leaves, therefore less risk is posed to beneficials when using this product.

As with any control method, gardeners and farmers must always think about application timing and location in order to maximize pest control and preserve beneficial species and crops.  For example, applying DiPel® on looper eggs would have no effect, as the pest must be at the early instar (hatched from an egg and feeding) stage.  Additionally, both sides of the foliage must be treated, as many leaf eaters feed from the undersides of leaves, as well.  Learn about the cabbage looper life cycle at  The DiPel® T & O label is available at

Peer-reviewed articles contain a gathering of scientific facts that provide understanding and suggest further research to address relevant questions.  These provide opportunities for us to weigh benefits and risks.  Read more about Bt at

Wildlife Habitat:         Attracting Butterflies                    by June Benson

You have may already heard of the Fender’s blue butterfly in Yamhill County. Do you know how many other butterflies live here? According to the National Wildlife Federation website, 51 butterflies and moths live in Yamhill County! Unfortunately they don’t visit my backyard; I hope you see more than the few Swallowtails that I see. 

How can we attract more butterflies to our gardens? In the March issue of Sunset magazine, you will find a list of blooming plants that butterflies enjoy. You will also find many plant lists online that are organized by butterfly species. For example, you will find that the Painted Lady likes thistles and fiddlenecks, the Monarch likes milkweeds, etc. However, I don’t believe that means we have to plant 51 different bloomers! But, because butterflies and native flowering plants have lived together over time and depend on each other for survival and reproduction, it is important to use some native flowering plants in our gardens. Native plants provide butterflies with the nectar or foliage they need as both caterpillars and adults. You can find some native bloomers at the Wild Ginger Farm (our February speakers). For more nurseries in our area, check Other methods for attracting butterflies include planting for continuous bloom and avoiding herbicides and pesticides. I recently visited a public botanical garden with a “butterfly garden” that had butterfly feeders throughout.

According to, at least six butterflies migrate through our area and these include the Monarch butterfly. In the fall and winter, Monarchs migrate to find warmer weather but in spring and summer, they return north to where their favorite plants grow. Monarchs that live in western North America travel from as far as British Columbia to the California coast in the winter, hibernating in and around Pacific Grove, California in eucalyptus trees. They use the very same trees each and every year when they migrate.  This is perplexing because these are the new generation of butterflies, so how do they know which trees are the right ones for hibernating?  The Monarch butterfly is the only insect that migrates up to 2,500 miles each year to reach warmer climates! These Monarchs deserve a few drifts of fall-blooming native wildflowers in our yards to help make their migration a little easier.


Meet Maxine Kilcrease          by Roving Reporter, Rosemary Vertregt

After being raised on a small acreage in Hillsboro, then living in ten different states, Maxine is back in Oregon!  She attended Pacific Lutheran, Western Oregon University, and University of Oregon, earning her PhD in Education Policy and Management.  Her career included teaching, serving as a Principal and in other supervisory roles.

Maxine and Jack have settled into their lovely home across the street from Patty and Rick Sorensen, but she is still involved in projects---she showed me samples of possible drapery fabrics to be used in the dining room, and mentioned that she would soon be refinishing the dining room table!  She also showed me a hand-made card, a product of one of her hobbies.  It was an elegant design, made with lovely papers.

She also does scrapbooking, and gardening, of course! Even as a child, she was involved in gardening, helping her mother to grow a large vegetable garden. Now, her flower favorites are roses and dahlias, and she has some real beauties!  Maxine's love of plants caught my eye right away, as she has four large botanical prints prominently displayed in her home.  Between projects, Maxine reads, reads, and reads! Special thanks go to her for taking on the redo of our club by-laws!  Maxine was instrumental in starting the Learning Disabilities Foundation in Oregon, which awards scholarship grants to classroom teachers who want to go into teaching children with disabilities.

Her husband, Jack, who is retired from the Oregon Department of Justice, may soon be joining the McMinnville Senior Men's Golf Club, which plays at several local courses. Maxine proudly added that she and Jack have celebrated 38 years of marriage.  They have two sons:    Fritz is a business consultant in Seattle.  While working in Africa some years ago, Fritz learned that the local schools had no books.  So, the family started another foundation, which is now part of Pacific Lutheran.  Jack and his wife are both professors at Aquinas College in Grand Rapids, Michigan.  There are no grandchildren yet, but Maxine says there is hope!  


Web Links

March 31 Guided Trillium Hike

“Conifers:  Amazing Easy-Care Evergreens “Al’s Garden Center Sherwood, Sunday, March 18, 10-4,


Visit The Flower Fields and drool at all the ranunculus!



You know you’re a plant nerd when…you go to Starbucks and instead of ordering a mocha, you order coffee grounds for your compost bin--to go.                        - Dan Heims