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Grace Florjancic

Coordinator Column

By Beet 2023 09 September

Hello Gardeners,

The end of summer and throughout fall is a great time for collecting seeds from your favorite plants. While it is tempting to snag every seed in sight, we want to make sure we are harvesting seeds in a manner that will not harm wild plant populations.

Where can I collect seeds?

If you want seeds from plants in your yard, feel free to harvest away! If you are thinking of harvesting seeds from wild areas, be mindful of some regulations.  The first step is to know if you are on private property or not. Avoid harvesting from private land unless you have permission from the landowner.

On land owned by the BLM, it is OK to harvest small amounts of seed from healthy plant populations for recreational use. A permit is needed for commercial use. To learn more about the details of harvesting seed on BLM property click here for a resource from the BLM..

How do I collect seeds?

Before you pick up our pruners and buckets to snip some seedheads you must first assess which plant species it is and the health of the population. Seeds from endangered plants must never be harvested in the wild. Click here for a resource to determine if a plant is endangered or threatened.

Plants with low population numbers should be left to reseed the land. There is no one rule for what counts as a low plant population. It is better to err on the side of caution. Make sure there are multiple distinct groupings of the plant present before harvesting seeds. For long term sustainable harvest of wild plant seeds, it is recommended to take no more than 10% of seeds in a population. This helps ensure other animals have seed for food and future generations of the plant will germinate.

If you are on appropriate land, the plant is not endangered or threatened, and the plant has a healthy population you can collect seeds! It is easiest to snip off seedheads into a bag or bucket labelled with the plant species name so you don’t get confused about what you harvested. Cleaning and processing the seeds can be done at home.

Happy harvesting and remember to be a responsible nature enthusiast!

Coordinator’s Column

By Beet 2023 08 August







Hello Gardeners,

We are getting into that hot time of year when fires pop up. Many of us have heard about ways we can manage large areas of land to reduce the chances that fire could spread. What can homeowners with smaller yards do?  Here are just a few of the many tips to help.

Keep your driveway accessible to first responders.

Can a fire truck fit in your driveway? Check to see if you need to prune any low hanging, far reaching branches so fire teams will be able to park their trucks in your driveway.

Hardscape the immediate space around your home.

Create a space within the first 5 feet of your home where there are no flammable materials. This can mean mulching with gravel closer to your house instead of wood chips or removing shrubs directly against your house.

Remove ladder fuels in your yard.

Ladder fuels are flammable structures (plants included) that allow the flames to spread up. Removing the lower branches of large trees up to 6 feet, or limbing up, can reduce the chance of the fire reaching the tree’s canopy. Removing tall plants under trees and replacing them with shorter plants can also reduce the chances of fire spreading to a tree’s canopy.

Most importantly, talk to your neighbors.

When houses are close together, fire resistance is a team effort. Encouragement and education of our neighbors can help create more resistant neighborhoods.

There are many more ways to increase your home’s resistance to fire. Each neighborhood and part of the county is different. It can be overwhelming to try to change your entire yard so pick a few tasks and work towards becoming more fire resistant. Some questions to consider are:

  • How close is the nearest fire station? How long will it take them to arrive?
  • What type of land surrounds my home? Urban? Industrial? Farm? What are the potential fire risks of these lands?
  • Which plants am I OK with moving or replacing?

For more information on reducing the fire risk of your home check out these sources.

Fire resistant plants for home landscape:

Prioritizing your home hardening approach:

Oregon Defensible Space:

How to harden homes against wildfire:





Coordinator’s Column

By Beet 2023 07 July









Hello Gardeners,

I am excited to announce the Jackson County Master Gardener Instagram account @jcmg_osu was launched this past month!

If you have an Instagram account, give us a follow. I will be sharing snippets of information about various gardening related topics. Anything from native plants to plant problems could pop up! I am hopeful that this will be a successful avenue for engagement with Jackson County residents interested in learning a little more about their gardens and the local nature around them.









Coordinator’s Column

By Beet 2023 06 June


Hello Gardeners,

Have you noticed the western bleeding hearts and wild ginger in bloom this past month?

As the flowers fade and the seeds develop, you may notice ants marching to and fro around these plants. Both bleeding hearts and wild ginger have developed a symbiotic relationship with ants. The seeds of these plants have a fatty protein-rich tissue called an elaiosome attached to them. Ants carry these seed to their nests, eat the elaiosome, and then ditch the intact seed in their trash pile. The elaiosome is not needed for the seeds to germinate. Seeds then sprout in a nutrient rich area away from the original colony of plants. This form of seed dispersal facilitated by ants is called myrmecochory.

There are at least 11,000 species plants that have elaiosomes on their seeds. There is no single common ancestor for elaiosome development. Plants have evolved this adaptation in different ways multiple times throughout history. Elaiosomes are a great example of convergent evolution – the independent evolution of similar structures that serve a similar purpose. Some other plants that have evolved elaiosomes include trilliums, celandine, violets and many more!

Coordinator’s Column

By Beet 2023 05 May

Hello Gardeners,

It’s the time of year that spring ephemerals are popping up! What is a spring ephemeral? Merriam-Webster’s definition of an ephemeral is “something that lasts for a very short time.” These plants pop up in spring, bloom, and then die back and disappear in the summer heat. The root structures stay alive to repeat this rapid growth and short bloom the following spring. Spring ephemerals are common in deciduous forests due to the abundance of light prior to when trees leaf out in late spring.

On April 15th I took a hike up to the Lower Table Rocks to see the beginnings of these blooms. There is an informative sign at the entrance to the hike with photos, common names, and scientific names of the spring blooms found around the plateau. I saw an abundance of western buttercups, Henderson’s fawn-lilies, and whiteleaf manzanitas in bloom. The shooting stars and hound’s tongue were just getting started. I could see the leaves of many more ephemerals developing, but they didn’t yet have flower stalks. It will be worth a second visit at the end of April to see the later blooming ephemerals.


Coordinator’s Column — Book Recommendation

By Beet 2023 04 April







Hello Gardeners,

While you all know me as a gardener, I am also a book worm. Earlier this winter I read a fantastic book I want to share with you. Author Dr. Robin Wall Kimmerer is both a botanist and a member of the Citizen Potawatomi Nation. In Kimmerer’s book, Braiding Sweetgrass, she compares and contrasts the way scientists and various native cultures perceive the natural world around us. Kimmerer writes from her perspectives as a scientist, a Native American, a teacher, a student, and a mother to explore the interactions and impacts humans have on the nature surrounding us. I recommend this book for everyone to read but especially those interested in nature, science, history, and/or culture.

Introducing the New Master Gardener Coordinator — Grace Florjancic

By Beet 2023 02 February

Hello everyone!

My name is Grace Florjancic and I am the new Master Gardener Program Coordinator for Jackson County. I am excited to meet and work with you all to provide the community with excellent opportunities to learn more about horticulture.

I graduated from Virginia Tech with a Bachelor of Science in microbiology and a minor in horticulture. My undergraduate research focused on interactions between plants and microbes. Part of my research involved managing an apple orchard on Virginia Tech’s research farm. I find these interactions fascinating and am always ready to learn more about this topic. I was also a member of the Soil Judging Team at Virginia Tech. I am delighted to still be in the mountains even though I am on a new coast now. I can’t wait to see how the local climate and plant life impact the soil here differently from Virginia’s mountains.

I have previously worked at Meadowlark Botanical Garden located just outside of Washington D.C. I worked on a small horticulture team maintaining and designing seasonal displays and existing perennial beds. I primarily worked with the indoor and outdoor Wedding Venue Gardens, Pollinator Garden, and Kitchen Garden at Meadowlark. I learned a lot working in the Pollinator Garden about Virginia’s native plants, pollinator species, and invasive plants and am eager to become familiar with Oregon’s. I am looking forward to sharing my knowledge and experiences with you all and hearing about yours!

Cheers to a new and exciting year together,