November Happenings

Vintage fall bulb catalog
You thought your work in the garden ceased with the advent of fall? No way, man! This month is packed full of enough workshops and lectures to keep you busy until the next equinox.

On Tuesday, November 4, Colleen Howe-Gregory, of Mitchell Bay Farm and Nursery, will be the featured speaker at the San Juan Island Garden Club. Colleen will present a visual program highlighting Pollinator Issues and will give a talk on Using Color in the Landscape Environment. Learn why we make poor choices and how to evaluate the color spectrum in planning the landscape. All are welcome. Starts at 1 p.m. at Mullis Center on San Juan Island. Visit the San Juan Island Garden Club for details.
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2014 Master Gardener Advanced Training, October 31

MGAT2014 (1)There’s still time to register online for WSU-Whatcom County’s 2014 Advanced Training on Friday, October 31st. This full-day training brings local and regional experts to teach topics such as:

  • Honey Bees- Health & Habitat
  • Keeping it Clean: Food Safety Practices in Fruit & Vegetable Gardening
  • Rain Gardens for Beauty, Stormwater Management & Water Conservation
  • Optimal Composting
  • Beans, Kids, & Farmers — WSU Horticulture grad student Kelly Atterberry shares her research.
  • Gardening with Native Plants
  • Bats, Rats and other Scary Stuff
  • Watershed Study of Lake Padden – a backyard perspective

Plus Diagnostic Clinic Lab hands-on sessions led by Skagit & Whatcom County Master Gardeners!

Training is open to the public. The full-day training counts for five hours of Continuing Education credits for Master Gardeners.

The day begins at 8 a.m., at St. Luke’s Community Health Education Center, 3333 Squalicum Parkway in Bellingham. For more info and to register, visit Brown Paper Tickets.

Garden Club Talk: Greenhouses, Simple to Complex

Charlet in his greenhouse!

Charley’s in the (green)house!

Do you wish your tomatoes would ripen sooner and last longer, through the fall rains?

For over 38 years, Charley Yaw, the foremost expert on greenhouses in the United States, has helped thousands of gardeners across the country select, build, equip and enjoy their greenhouses. Fortunately for us, he is located in Mt Vernon, WA and will be here to tell us everything we need to know about greenhouses. Don’t miss this one!

That’s Wednesday, October 15, beginning at 10 a.m. at Orcas Center, 917 Mt. Baker Road on Orcas Island. Free to Garden Club members, $5 admission for guests. Following the program, members and guests are invited to a social hour with coffee, tea, and appetizers.

For more info, visit the Orcas Island Garden Club.

October Workshop: What’s Wrong With My Plant?

What's wrong with my plant 1
The Master Gardeners of Skagit County present “What’s Wrong With My Plant?”, an advanced training workshop on plant diagnostics with David Deardorff and Kathryn Wadsworth. Friday, October 10, from 8:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. at Sakuma Auditorium in Mount Vernon. Reserve your tickets at Brown Paper Tickets.

This workshop includes hands-on exercises identifying plants, plant disorders, pests, and diseases. Attendees are welcome to bring samples for hands-on identification. See the Skagit MG Clinics page for information on packing any samples you might like to bring for diagnosis.

David Deardorff earned his PhD in Botany from the University of Washington, and coordinated plant pathology research when on the faculty at the University of Hawaii. He also co-founded Plants of the Southwest in Santa Fe, New Mexico, one of the first native plant nurseries in the U.S. David has 15 years’ experience training Master Gardeners in plant diagnostics. His book, What’s Wrong With My Plant? with co-author Kathryn Wadsworth, was designed to help Master Gardeners diagnose plant problems.

Kathryn Wadsworth is a writer, film-maker, photographer, and naturalist. She co-owned and operated a tissue culture laboratory and orchid nursery in Hawaii, and has managed ecotours around the world.

Books will be available for purchase at the workshop.

This training counts for six hours of Master Gardener Continuing Education credits. The event is designed primarily for Master Gardeners, but you do not need to be a Master Gardener to attend. Tickets are nonrefundable.

Sakuma Auditorium is located at the WSU-Mount Vernon Research Center, 16650 Washington 536, in Mount Vernon. Snacks will be provided, but please bring your own lunch. Reasonable accommodations will be made for persons with disabilities and special needs who contact the Skagit Master Gardener Coordinator at 360-428-4270, or plantdiagnostics2014 @

September Garden Club Events

The San Juan County Garden Clubs invite you to join them for two talks and a tour this month!Gardeners know all the dirt 3

On Thursday, September 11, the Lopez Island club welcomes Judy Jackson, Field Coordinator for the San Juan County Noxious Weed Control Board, for “Noxious Weeds – Identification, Methods of Control, Prevention, and Removal”. Join the fight against noxious invasives! The talk begins at 10 a.m. at Woodmen Hall on Fisherman Bay Road, Lopez Island.

Next, head on over to Orcas Island for “Spectacular Peonies” with Elisabeth Marshall of Full Bloom Farm on Lummi Island, where she organically raises 80 varieties of peonies and fruits and vegetables. Learn the secret to growing these beautiful blooms. That’s Wednesday, September 17 at 10 a.m., at Orcas Center.

Complete your month of garden club-hopping with an all-day field trip to the WSU-Skagit Valley Display Gardens in Mount Vernon on Saturday, September 20. These gorgeous gardens span 10 acres, and are maintained entirely by volunteers. For details and reservations, visit the San Juan Island Garden Club’s “Excursions” page.

Bee-Safe Neighborhood Talks, August 1 &3

Bee safe logoBee-Safe San Juan County invites you to an informational discussion about the health of island bees, what is hurting them, and what we can do for them and for our food and ecological future. Featured guest is Molly Greacen, one of the key leaders of the Bee-Safe Neighborhood movement that originated in Boulder, Colorado and has since gone viral.

On Friday, August 1st, Greacen will be joined by Eric Hall, owner of organic berry farm Crow Foot Farm and knowledgeable Lopez Island beekeeper, at 7 p.m. at Grace Episcopal Parish Hall on Lopez.

On Sunday, August 3rd, Russel Barsh, director of scientific research and education at non-profit environmental studies center Kwiaht, joins Greacen at 2:30 p.m. at the Orcas Island Food Co-op.

Admission is free. For more info, visit Bee-Safe SJC.

And to learn how to start your own Bee-Safe Neighborhood, visit the Livings Systems Institute.

Volunteer Carrot-Pullers Needed!

an invitation from Kris Bayas, Volunteer Coordinator

This year, the San Juan Count Master Gardeners will have a children’s event in the Ag Tent. Our own Marty Ahart is leading the ‘Carrot Pull’ where kids and adults can pull a carrot, match the variety, and eat it! Helpers are needed on Friday, August 15 from noon to 3 pm at the Ag Tent.

We need to move 8 to 12 pots of carrots on wagons from the Master Gardener area to the Ag Tent area, set up the pulling and washing area, assist children pulling, and then take down and move away our display by 3pm.

If you are able to help with any or all of this please contact Marty Ahart at gardener.marty -at-