Garden Clippings             September 2011

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

Monday, September 19, 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- Linda McMahan, Horticulturalist, OSU Extension Service, “Gardening With Native Plants”


Mark Your Calendars:

September 19, Monday  1st Meeting of the 2011-12 season:  Speaker: Linda McMahan, Horticulturalist, OSU Extension, “Gardening with Native Plants:  Yesterday and Today”  In addition, Cindy Flake will be giving a short demonstration of propagating lily scales.

September 22, Thursday  Nursery Crawl:   One Green World and Edelweiss Nursery Carpool leaves Bethel Baptist Church at 9:30a.m.  These are located between Hubbard and Canby.  Urs Baltnesperger has opened his nursery just for us that day (he usually has only 3 open days per year).  Urs has years of experience in famous European nurseries and has in-depth knowledge of alpine and rock garden plants.  He features beautiful European perennials that are not commonly found here.  He will give us a tour and have plants available to purchase. We’ve committed to Urs that there will be at least 16 attending and I’ll ask for a show of hands at the September meeting.   Please invite guests.  This is going to be good.  View inventory at    Just down the road, at One Green World, you can purchase fruit trees.  You can view their inventory and order a catalog:

September 26, Monday  Arts & Crafts: Leaf Casting – Merle Dean Feldman’s
Carpool leaves Bethel Baptist Church at 9:30a.m.  Evelyn Mundinger will help us create our own special leaf castings.  Cost is $3.50 per person.  Wear warm work clothes. What to bring: a shallow nursery box, plastic gloves, and large leaves (like hostas or gunneras).  For those who wish to stay afterwards, Merle Dean will offer a tour of her botanical garden.  More details at our September meeting.    


October 17, Monday    Meeting speaker:  Oregon poet, Marianne Klekacz, will explore the ways in which gardening and journaling complement each other, “Every Garden Is a Journal and Every Journal Is a Garden.”

October 20, Thursday  Instead of the regular field trip, everyone is invited to attend the Pioneer District Garden Club Meeting and Fall Luncheon.  Please pay Treasurer, Mike Stewart, $15. (lunch) if you wish to attend. This is also a fund raising opportunity and Patty Sorensen will collect donations for the “Pink Panther” Sale.  Details at the September meeting.

October 24, Monday    Arts and Crafts – at Rosemary Vertregt’s.  We will be making hypertufa pots.  Wear warm work clothes.  More details in October.

President’s Message

What a wonderful and cool summer!  The only problem is that now all the figs and blackberries are ready in the same week.  After a “jammed” week of making raspberry fig, blackberry fig and boysenberry fig jam, I am ready to get back to my garden.  I hope that all of you had a fruitful and relaxing summer and that you had enjoyable and refreshing gardening experiences. 

Thanks to all of you kind and generous folks for taking the time to talk on the phone to me this summer and help get most of the committee chairs filled.    I continue to be amazed at your commitment and dedication to our wonderful club. Your board has been working hard to bring you a series of fun meetings that you will not want to miss this coming year. 

Good news from Myrna Cuscaden and Patty Sorensen regarding the 2012 Tour:  They have selected the 5 fantastic gardens to be included for our glorious event in June!  It is unbelievable how fast those ladies have worked and what good results they had.   More good news is that Judy Wilkerson and Elsie Carpenter will be our new tour co-chairs.  With Mike and Gaye Stewart leading the Faire and Patty taking care of all of the documents, we have an amazing team.  Title is “The Art of Gardening”.


A note from our former Faire co-chair: Most of you know that I've been on the Garden Faire committee for the past 5 years. It was a challenging, but very rewarding experience, and I loved doing it. I urge you to volunteer to help the new committee, for the continued success of the Faire.  I’d like to express my gratitude to the wonderful ladies and men that I've had the pleasure of working with during those 5 years. Thank you so very, very much.  –Joanne DeWitt


Yard of the Month

Our new team, Cozette Caster and Myrna Cuscaden, really had a good time selecting the Yard of the Month locations for August and September.  Congratulations to them for finding such beautiful and diverse gardens.  Let them know when you see a garden that should be featured.

Membership Update

Please be sure to send or give Mike Stewart your membership renewal.  It is important that this is completed at our September meeting so each of you can be included in the directory.  We are still snail-mailing some newsletters.  If you can give us an e-mail address to use instead of postage, it would be greatly appreciated.  Thanks, Cindy and Mike, for keeping us current.


Organic Fruit Care

Sally Parks-Brown 

This is the first of a short series on growing backyard fruit organically. I have cultivated quite a few different fruit trees as well as berries over the past 30 years and will try to share some of the successful techniques I have used. In the late 1970s, I began reading Organic Gardening magazine and several other publications and realized how dangerous it is for us to consume the chemical pesticides and sprays that are used on almost all commercially grown fruits and vegetables. There are methods to control pests and diseases that are healthier for us and our environment.  The first is to select disease-resistant varieties. Dwarf and semi-dwarf varieties are easier for the home gardener to manage. If you already have fruiting trees and plants you can choose to start cultivating them organically.

Since we are in the early fall it makes sense to discuss what can be done at this time of year and move forward through the seasons. The following is a basic guideline for established plantings:

·        Prune and discard (off your property) or burn all diseased and damaged branches.

·        Pick any fruit damaged by pests such as the coddling moth (apple maggot) and discard in garbage, never in compost. Also do the same with damaged fruit that has dropped off.

·         Spray horticultural oil in late fall by following directions on the bottle. This spray is applied again in early spring before bud break and again right at bud break. This oil kills the eggs of many overwintering insects and also kills plant diseases.

·         Check the pH of the soil. Fruit trees like a slightly acid soil of 6.4 – 6.8.

·        Mulch around trees with compost twice a year, not allowing mulch to cover the lower trunk. This prevents insects from harboring between the mulch and the bark. Trees in full sun will produce more and better fruit. Good air circulation helps prevent disease.

   As the year progresses I’ll address further care and fertilization for your fruit trees.  I have several books that I can recommend for planting and maintaining an organic small home orchard. Two publications include: Organic Gardening Encyclopedia and Organic Gardening Magazine by Rodale Press. The library has a good selection of books, as well.

Wildlife Habitat:  California Quail

June Benson

A running soccer ball? A “chicken-like” bird? These are web descriptions of the California Quail. This bird is certainly round! These handsome birds have a topknot that looks like a single feather but is actually a cluster of six overlapping feathers. There is a pattern on their bellies that looks a bit like scales on a fish.  Quail live in Oregon year-round and are sometimes called valley quail. Mountain quail are native to Oregon but live at higher elevations.

These birds spend most of their time on the ground, walking and scratching in search of food (seeds, insects, or fruit). This is one bird that only flies when it is alarmed; it prefers to run away and often outruns or out-maneuvers predators.  I often see them for a few seconds but only running toward a shrub to hide. The male will perch on a post or tree and call out to claim his territory; when a male perches on my deck, I assume he serves as a “look-out” while his mate and family are feeding. He often calls out. Warnings? Or maybe “all is ok”?

Quail usually travel in groups called coveys, which may range from just a few birds to 40 birds, but coveys in excess of 1,000 birds have been reported. They will stay in these coveys until mating season. They roost in trees to avoid danger and to rest although their nests are usually on the ground amid grasses or at the base of shrubs or trees.

A mated pair produces only one brood per year but it may contain as many as 28 eggs! There is speculation that these large broods may be the result of females laying eggs in other nests, an odd behavior known as “egg dumping.”  Quail have been seen using pheasant and other nests, too. Quail broods may mix after hatching and all the parents care for all of the young.

You can attract quail to your yard by sprinkling grain or birdseed on the ground and by providing dense shrubbery nearby for cover. As an adaptation to living in arid environments, quail can get by for short periods without water, acquiring moisture from insects and succulent vegetation, but they will appreciate any water source you provide.

Berries & Birds --- A Field Trip to Pan American Berry Growers, LLC.

 Rosemary, Patty, Judy, Evelyn, & Cindy

On a perfect sunny day, five of us set out on a field trip arranged by Cindy Flake and husband Jeff who works as a field manager. We signed in, received badges, and were taken to the edge of one of the huge fields of blueberries to meet the farm’s new “security system”. This year there is a new worker protecting the developing berries. He’s a peregrine falcon, brought here from California’s Central Valley. He and his handler arrived a few weeks before the berries began to ripen, so the bird could learn his new territory. The trainer explained how the falcon works to discourage birds, mainly starlings, from dining without invitation. Starlings can strip rows of berries, as they fly in huge flocks. In comes the falcon, flying at up to 100mph, dive-bombing the clusters of starlings. The farm can lose $500,000 per year to bird damage!

The falconer trains and exercises his bird by swinging a long rope with a “dead bird” lure. When the falcon catches it he receives a meat snack. Then it’s “up in the air again”, until bird and trainer tire, and the hood goes on to keep the falcon calm. Occasionally, a curious falcon goes in search of food, unaware of the transmitter attached to his foot. A receiver in the falconer’s truck gives away the bird’s position, and he is caught “red-beaked” in the chicken coop by a red-faced, apologetic trainer! Birds who do this lose the job!

The vast fields, with row after row of blueberry bushes that all seem to be copies of each other, are actually planted with about ten varieties. Jeff did a “show and tell” of varietal characteristics, offering generous tasting opportunities. Plants of the same cultivar can vary greatly in size, due to age, soil, and drainage conditions. Some plants produce huge quantities of fruit while close neighbors are “slackers” {sound familiar, gardeners}?? Differences in fruit include size, crispness, flavor (one variety has a ginger taste), and ripening time. One variety, Rubel, traces back to a wild variety grown here. We saw these being picked by an enormous machine straddling a row and “flip-shaking” the bushes. All other picking is done by hand in a very organized manner: At a station in the field, pickers get their flats weighed and their tickets punched. Sorters (people, not machines) pick out unsuitable fruit--reds, “redbacks“, greens, bird-pecked, etc. Forklifts zip to the cool packing facility, piled with flats of berries. Here, the fruit moves through machines and along conveyor belts for more hand-sorting, then packaging. Plastic “clamshell” boxes come along and are filled, closed, and labeled by machine, then forklifted to controlled atmosphere storage or packed for distribution. Some berries go to the freezer, where workers wear parkas, really.  In these areas, we wore hairnets ---like five Garden Club Ladies on their way to surgery!

Websites to Explore: 
Pioneer District Newsletter                        State Website         

Questions and Answers  Video on planting colorful Fall containers

September Garden Chores 

Barbara Blosssom has a Daylily named after her!