Garden Clippings

McMinnville Garden Club, PO Box 386, McMinnville, OR      

 May 2011    503-434-4344


 May 16, 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. – Speaker- Neil Bell
“Drought Tolerant Plants for the Sun”


With all the rain we've had this year, did you ever think we would be interested in plants that do well in a drought?  In case we have a dry summer, you might want to come to May's meeting to hear Neil Bell talk about choosing shrubs and perennials that can not only be grown in our area without summer irrigation, but also provide interest in the garden year-round.  Neil is the Community Horticulturist at the OSU Extension Service for Marion and Polk counties.  He also works with home gardeners and oversees the Master Gardener program in both counties.


May 13, Friday  Beach Garden Visit   Leave 9:30 from the Bethel Baptist Church.
Field trip to the Connie Hansen Garden in Lincoln City for a tour. After time to wander, we’ll find a great place for lunch, and head home in the afternoon.


May 18. Wednesday  Nursery Crawl #2  Leave 9:30 from the Bethel Baptist Church.
Sebright Hosta and Adelman’s Peony Nurseries


June 4, Saturday  Stepping Stones/Birdbath - Jean Lierman's House  10 AM
Time for our yearly creative event.  $30 per stone.  At our May meeting, we’ll need to ask you to pay.  We need at least 6 paid members for this class to be a go.  Check with Patty or Jean for more info.

June 20 Club Meeting:  Potluck at the Yamhill County Historical Museum 

          We are going to try something new this year for our installation luncheon, a potluck!  We will be meeting at the Yamhill County Historical Museum to see their progress with our donations.  The museum is on Hwy 99 across from where the closed RV sales facility is located.  We will be checking to see if there is a need to carpool for some.  Rather than a catered luncheon, we’ll try a potluck luncheon!  Meeting will start at 10 with installation and a short business meeting.  Then we’ll tour the facilities and have our luncheon indoors!  The board will provide paper plates, cups, silverware, and hot/cold drinks.  We could use some help setting up at 9:30.  Members are asked to bring their favorite potluck dish including main dishes, fruits, veggies, salads, and desserts.  There is electricity for crock pots, etc. 

          After the luncheon, we will carpool out to Merle Dean’s botanical gardens near Yamhill for a tour.  What a perfect day.  NOW, to hope for sun in late June for two days:  20th and 26th, right?


President’s Message

Yeah, the sunshine finally arrived for a few days.  I think the clouds and precipitation were given to us this year so we’d appreciate the sun more.  Just like being President has made me appreciate each and every one of you with your smiles, talents, and love of gardening.  I’m really looking forward to all the activities that are scheduled in the next few months.  Hope you’ll join us even if the sun is out and you can work in your gardens.  Fun, friends and field trips are a winning combo in my book!



Garden Club Booth at the Home Show


Great job, ladies




       Downtown Cleanup Bag                    

            Ladies/Men a Success!

  A HUGE thank you to the team of club members and partners who helped us clean 2nd and 3rd streets downtown.  Those ivy vines, weeds, grass, garbage and leaves were no challenge for us.  They have been removed thanks to this team.  We were treated to a fabulous lunch donated by Golden Valley and continued to work in the afternoon this year.  Two weeks later, a much smaller group of three with the help of Rose Marie and a friend, finished it off with bark dust purchased from our City Beautification Fund.  We are also adding an additional set of flower baskets to the RXR station soon.  A job WELL DONE!


GARDEN PARTY, June 26, 2011

Spring letters have been sent to all our Garden Tour homeowners.  We are thankful for each day of sunshine as the tour gardens awake for their special event.  Can’t wait!!!

At our May meeting, we will be distributing the ticket booklets to members for sale/gift giving.   It is historically expected that each member sell 4 tickets.  If you would like MORE or LESS, please indicate so when you pick them up at the meeting.  It is very important that all tickets are accounted for prior to the June meeting for use during the tour.  Here we go! 

Our work is really gearing up to continue to raise funds for city service projects.  Thanks to EVERYONE who is helping in one, two, three or more roles to support this club activity. Be sure to help all of our fabulous chairs with their task of once again providing our attendees with a memorable tour and exciting shopping spree at our Garden Faire!  We have over 40 vendors slated to be here so be sure to save some money to spend at their booths. 


Congratulations, Gaye and Mike!

Our own Gaye and Mike Stewart will repeat as Pioneer District Officers:  Director, Gaye and Treasurer, Mike!  You represent us well.

May Yard of the Month

Congratulations to Donna Nelson, 2150 NW St. Andrews Drive, McMinnville          A creative whimsical Spring garden hosting vibrant colors and subtle garden art which makes it POP!


HEUCHERAS - Coral Bells

By Marilyn Coats

     Heucheras seem to be one of the most popular perennials.  They are compact evergreen clumps of roundish leaves with lobed or scalloped edges.  Slender, wiry stems 1-3 feet bear loose clusters of nodding, bell-shaped flowers.  However, what sells the plants are the variety of colored leaves, which include:  deep purple that age to silver, chocolate with burgundy below, chartreuse leaves with ruffled edges, apricot to peach, bright red to purple red, hot pink polka dots, etc. They come up with more colors every year. 

Grow them in well-drained, humus rich soil.  The plants can take sun, part sun, part shade, or shade, depending on which one you choose.  They are very hardy and make good container plants.  Propagating is easy by cutting the stems with new growth and planting them in the ground or in a pot. 

I seem to come home with a new color whenever I visit a nursery.  Can’t have too many heucheras!!!!

Wildlife Habitat


Do you have any uninvited guests (of the four legged variety) that visit your garden? I have deer. I enjoy seeing them grazing in the grassy field or resting beneath one of our trees, but I take little joy if they have eaten my new plants.

            On the south side of my house is a deer path, a superhighway from the grass field up to the street, and in between the deer find our landscape to be an all-you-can-eat salad bar. Choosing deer resistant plants is complicated because plant species change in their appeal to deer throughout the year. For example, last year deer ate all five new Viburnum davidii down to the ground.  To my surprise and delight, the plants returned later in the summer and the deer left them alone. This spring the new growth must be tender and tasty because the deer are eating the same plants again. Last year the deer never touched the Candytuft growing under my living room window, but recently they ate almost all of the flower buds. Moreover, occasionally I see small plants, which I put in last fall, sitting on top of the ground (yanked out by the deer, I presume). There is hope because we do have mature landscaping despite the deer. I think our new plants can survive a bit of nibbling IF they are allowed to establish themselves.

So far I have had some success with commercial sprays and nylon netting. I have also found Deer-Resistant Landscaping by Neil Soderstrom (available at the library) to be an excellent resource. Strategies are research-based, and there is advice for outwitting 20 uninvited guests including gophers, ground squirrels, moles, opossums, rabbits, raccoons, mice, and moles. 

            If you have uninvited guests in your garden and have advice you would like to share, drop me a note at


Slate of Nominees for Officers 2011-12

President:  Merle Dean Feldman                        Vice-President:  Cozette Castor

Secretary:  Rosemary Vertgret                        Treasurer:  Mike Steward


Meet Merle Dean Feldman

by Rosemary Vertregt


On a glorious sunny day your “roving reporter” drove north on Highway 47 for an interview with our new club president-to-be at her home just north of Yamhill, missed the entry, turned around and got it right on the second try,  climbed the curving gravel driveway surrounded by plantings of conifers and perennials, and arrived at the large white house with the great big porch.  Wow!  The gorgeous view into the rolling valley through the many large windows is the reason Merle Dean and her husband David named their place “Story book Hill Farm & Nursery”.   The view is also, Merle Dean says, why there is very little art on their walls.  As she gestures outward, she says happily, “This is our art!”  It was not a quick and easy process getting to this point.  They worked from 2000 to 2003 with soil problems, various architects, designers, builders, etc.  At last, after finding a builder to do just the framing--they built the house themselves!  Well, that is how you get what you want!!  Merle Dean gives David great credit for making it happen, saying he’s a “talented inventor and fabricator”, and he’s her husband of nearly 48 years!

But Oregon was not Merle Dean’s starting point.  She was born in Texas, lived in Barstow and Clovis, California, where her parents worked for the Harvey House Inn and Restaurant, her mother as a “Harvey Girl” and her father as a chef.  This was one of a historic chain of establishments across many states to provide service to customers on the Santa Fe Railway.  Merle Dean remembers her father cooking for huge groups who needed to be fed on time!  Merle Dean says it took her ages to get through college, as she also had to work.  She began college in Texas, met and married David there.  They moved to Kansas, where David taught physics and chemistry.  The family has lived in Kansas three separate times, and she has a special place in her heart for the state, especially the Manhattan area, and David was a Kansas farm boy.

Later, living on the Kenai Peninsula in Alaska for twenty years, Merle Dean discovered the fantastic perennials-- their size and the strong colors of their flowers.  She worked for the Dept. of  Health & Human Services as a district manager, but had time to join a garden club that took on a beautification project--turning a large area of the main street of town from garbage dump to public garden by donating plants from their own gardens, planting and caring for them.  She was also a member of Master Gardeners and had a small nursery of her own.  She retired in 1997, and they returned to Kansas, where she intended to finish the few credits she needed for her horticultural degree, but life kept getting in the way;  her activities included raising four children, two of whom live in McMinnville, one in Roseburg, and one in Alaska.  However, as we know, education is not just classes and credits, and Merle Dean is one very well-educated lady.  She has tall double bookcases full of plant-related information (and gorgeous photos, of course), and her garden is actually a botanical garden, meant to preserve endangered species and to allow people in the area to see and learn about them. Merle Dean has a most generous attitude about sharing what she has -- in her garden ( I got succulents!), in her kitchen ( I got  homemade scones!), and in her book collection. Merle Dean‘s mother liked to say, “When you plant a garden you give a gift to the world”.

 Your reporter’s quote is:  “She is a welcome gift to McMinnville Garden Club!”                                 




Internet Links:  
Pioneer District Newsletter

State Website 


Club Calendar of Events


Dig in the Dirt!

Perennials Resource


Deer Resistant Plants   


Huechera Plants

“The flowers of late winter and early spring occupy places in our hearts well out of proportion to their size.

Gertrude S Wister