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Marcie Katz

Spring Garden Fair 2024

By Beet 2024 04 April

As daffodils and tulips give way to irises and lilies and the trees unfurl their leaves into a spectrum of greens, it brings hints of summertime and thoughts of a garden. With spring in the air, it’s time to plan what to put in your garden. What better way than by coming to the Jackson County Master Gardeners Spring Garden Fair?

Like a rite of passage, the fair is always on the first weekend in May.  According to many, it is “THE” place to pick up all those essential garden plants.  We offer organic vegetables, herbs and flowers raised by our very own Master Gardener students. In addition, the Native Plant Nursery grows and sells a wide variety of ground covers, trees, shrubs, and annual and perennial natives which will bring the pollinators flocking to your yards.

This year, we will have over thirty vendors at our two-day Spring Garden Fair held at the Southern Oregon Research and Extension Center, 569 Hanley Road, Central Point, 9am-4pm on Saturday May 4th and 10am-2pm on Sunday, May 5th.

Come browse multiple local nurseries, the Bonsai Society exhibit, garden art, bee and worm experts, garden tools, furniture and sheds. Take one of our many gardening classes or have lunch in the food court while watching the kids paint rock art. There will be drop-off stands to hold your purchased plants so your hands will be free to continue shopping and plant cart service for ease in loading your car! Admission is free with a $5.00 per car parking fee, so bring your friends and carpool! Let’s start off this spring with a bang at the Spring Garden Fair! We hope to see you there!


Jackson County Master Gardeners Association  2024 Spring Garden Fair 

By Beet 2024 03 March

By now, I am sure many of you have heard the buzz about this year’s Spring Garden Fair, affectionately known as the “SGF.” Yes, folks; we are back, and it is happening the first week in May! We rocked it last spring with our one-day comeback (after Covid took us out for two years). This year we are jumping in with both feet and holding it two days – Saturday May 4th, and Sunday May 5th 

Like last year, it will be held at the Southern Oregon Research Extension Center. Vendors will set up in the Extension parking area, in the arboretum and inside the auditorium. General public parking will be located out in the SOREC fields again, with a parking fee of $5 per car instead of an admission fee. We are adding a food court with 2 or 3 food trucks, children’s activities, and even more vendors.  

The 2024 Master Gardener Practicum is in full swing with an energetic class, and we can’t wait to see those greenhouses fill up with veggies, herbs and flower starts! Of course, the Native Nursery will also be brimming with a wonderful assortment of native plants to tempt fairgoers.  

You know the saying, “It takes a village to raise a child.” Well, it takes all the JCMGA membership to put on a Spring Garden Fair! There are many volunteer opportunities, and with as little as a 2-hour work shift, it is an easy “can do”, even if you have limited mobility. Please consider volunteering to help. Your support enables our success. 

The community was overjoyed to have us back last year.  Many look forward to the event as a start of their growing season, plus you can go home with your organically grown plants. Please come join in making this a successful and fun SGF. If you can volunteer, please contact Colet Allen or Barbara Low . 

Calling All Rose Enthusiasts and Garden Helpers 

By Beet 2024 03 March

Looking for Master Gardeners who love roses, like to work with roses, and want to learn more about roses.   

Our beautiful Demonstration Rose Garden needs a new Garden Enhancement Mentor and other HELP! We had been fortunate to have a team of dedicated rose helpers and a wonderful GEM for the last several years, but unfortunately Joanne Mitani has stepped down from being the GEM of the Rose Garden. Her group of merry helpers has dwindled due to health and other issues. Since this is one of our most beautiful and prestigious gardens, it requires weekly dead heading (anyone need rose petals?), pruning several times a year and, of course, weeding. Since the GEMs are just getting ready to start working in the gardens, this is the perfect time for new volunteers to step up and fill their shoes. The Garden Enhancement Committee will initially tackle the weeds by laying down weed cloth so it will be easier for the new GEM and helpers to manage. This position needs to be filled, please! 

We are also looking for a replacement GEM for the Waterwise Garden, as Monette Hoffmeister will also transition out, after she does some spring maintenance to the garden. Waterwise is a special garden with plants from all over the world that are drought resistant, as well as Oregon native plants. It is small but mighty, with color all year long and includes trees, shrubs, perennials, ground covers and bulbs. If drought-tolerant plants are your passion, this is the garden for you! 

If you want to be a GEM or helper in either of these gardens, please contact Marcie Katz at 

And last, but not least, the Garden Enhancement Committee is looking for a few good helpers. We meet weekly from February to October for 2 to 3 hours to clear pathways, put up signs and brochure boxes, maintain the Gathering Place with a cut flower garden and the Fig Grove. We guide Garden Tours through the gardens, sponsor art groups and basically keep the grounds beautiful. If this sounds like something you would be interested in doing, please contact Janine Salvatti at 

The Presidents Corner – The Close of a Great Year

By Beet 2023 12 December

As the year comes to a close, I look back at my presidency with pride and satisfaction at all the accomplishments we as an association have achieved! I am further awed and humbled by all of the volunteers, board members and chairs who made these endeavors possible.

From a rich history of successful enterprises, we knew how capable we could be. We survived the Covid years, relying largely on pop up plant sales. But our member base was reduced and we didn’t have the resources we once had. This year was our opportunity to make a comeback, and we needed to take a different approach.

After many discussions, meetings, and a lot of finger crossing, we pulled off the Spring Garden Fair (SGF), a one-day event. It took many Master Gardener volunteers, as well as the wonderful Class of 2023, to make it a great success by growing and selling plants, carting wagons and parking cars.

The Greenhouses were cleaned up by the Practicum Mentors after three years of disuse. They became the Practicum classroom, propagation workspaces, Mosaic Glass Art workshop and home of SGF Plant sales and the Fall Festival! With the help of volunteers, the Native Plant Nursery also expanded to increase production. Under the supervision of Lynn Kunstman, it now provides a steady stream of income for the Association and Practicum, while spreading the word of the importance of native plantings in the home garden.

On the gardens side, two new beautiful, large interpretive signs were commissioned for the Water Catchment System and the newly renamed Native Plant Garden (replacing the Rain Garden). Both of these areas serve as teaching platforms to demonstrate our mission, namely sustainability in a changing environment. We also had new enthusiasm in the Demonstration Gardens, with many of the student apprentices taking on major roles under or in place of absent GEMS. Areas that had been decommissioned, like the compost area and Dahlia Garden, have been cleaned up for future new projects. The Garden Enhancement Committee created a beautiful cut-flower garden in the Gathering Area that serves as a meeting place for garden tours from the local garden clubs and a place of rest and snacks for the hard-working gardeners on Wednesdays. Even the Fig Grove got a good cleanup and a thick layer of chips!

The Member Services Working Group had a booth at several public events, getting us in the public eye once again. It is hoped that next year we will be able to maintain a weekly booth at the Growers Market with Plant Clinic and MG information. Anyone can volunteer at this booth. Any questions will be recorded and the Plant Clinic will get back to the person with a response.

Our Community Outreach Working Group has reestablished connections with School and Community Gardens and worked to replenish the Speakers Bureau. The Marketing and Technology Working Group (formerly Communications) is busy updating the website, creating links and making it more user-friendly, and keeping us current on Facebook.

All in all, it’s been a wonderful year. I am looking forward to seeing how much more we will do in the year ahead. Plans include a two-day Spring Garden Fair on extension grounds, enticing more visitors to the gardens with Garden Tours, and perhaps a “Friends of the Gardens” group for those who want to come out to help but are not ready to take the full class. It will be a year of change, with Alec Levin’s new plans for the grounds. We will have a big part in the planning, which is exciting!

I want to thank everyone who made my job easier and gave me the support that I needed. I have been honored to work with such an amazing group of caring, smart, and wonderful people. This is truly my community, and I wish all of you Happy Holidays and a healthy and prosperous New Year. See you in ’24!


The Presidents Corner — “November”

By Beet 2023 11 November


November is here, and the year is winding down. Leaves are turning brilliant colors, plants are concluding their life cycles, and nature is going into hibernation. After the holidays are over, thoughts of feasts and festivities will be tucked back into the recesses of our minds like Christmas ornaments in the attic.

November is a time for reflecting on what the year has brought us, both good and bad. That is true for organizations like the Master Gardener Association also. We enter each new year with the expectation that our organization will be as strong, if not stronger, as before. But unexpected things happen, as we all remember the changes Covid brought: diminished membership renewal, abbreviated MG classes, limited garden upkeep, etc. As we were just getting back to normal, the drought came and literally dried up our well.

Thank goodness for our leadership in those trying years. Each January we start with a new Board of Directors – elected in November – who lead us on. They take on the duties needed to keep the organization running for another year, keeping house so our family can come together to have events like the Spring Garden Fair, Picnic, Fall Harvest Festival and the Practicum. Our leaders deal with internal issues and make decisions; they are the heads of the family with the relatives branching out in all directions coming to them with wants and needs. Ours is a family of volunteers. They are dedicated to preserving the Master Gardener way, using science to educate and bring gardening information to the people.

Without our volunteer Board of Directors, there would be no Master Gardener Association.

This year, please consider running for the board as an officer or member-at-large. Without a Board of Directors, our chapter would be dissolved and the hard-earned money that we share with our community through scholarships, grants, and classes would be given directly to the OMGA. No one wants to see this happen! If no one volunteers to run for open positions on the board, especially for the President Elect position, it could happen to our chapter.

The President Elect stays on the board for three years (President Elect the first year, President the second year, and Past President the third year). The Board meets once a month for under 3 hours with a great group of people. You would be at the center of what makes this organization work and have the satisfaction of helping the dedicated Jackson County Master Gardeners keep going and pursuing our mission.

As outgoing President, I have enjoyed my tenure. I am an “event person”, so my agenda was to positively push for having a new, redesigned Spring Garden Fair and to try a Fall Harvest Festival. Both were experiments because we held the fairs on SOREC property. Whatever you are passionate about could be on your agenda.

I beseech each of you to seriously consider running for President Elect this November. Write yourself in or contact Barbara Low to get on the ballot. Without a President elect for 2024, there will not be a President for 2025 and we will be in default of our by-laws, meaning no more Jackson County Master Gardener Association.

The President’s Corner October – the Harvest Month

By Beet 2023 10 October





October. My favorite month, but then again, I’m biased. I belong to those who are October-born, and “Libra” all the way through. Known as the tenth month of the year and the second month of autumn, October was the eighth month in the Roman calendar – hence “octo”, the Latin word for eight. When they converted to the twelve-month calendar, several Roman emperors tried to change the name, but it stuck when it entered into old French and then into old English.

When you think of October, it signifies everything autumnal. The weather is cooler at night, leaves are turning colors, and the long summer of working in the gardens is rewarded with bountiful harvests to put up for the long winter.

October has many days of observance too. There’s the Hunter’s Moon, the full moon closely tied to the autumnal equinox and folklore. There is Lief Eriksson Day, Columbus Day, and Indigenous People Day (an oxymoron having them in the same month, don’t you think?). International Ships in a Bottle Day, National Fossil Day, Word Origami Day, and Frankenstein Friday! And let’s not forget the original Friday the 13th, in October this year. That’s the day in 1307 when French King Philip IV, owing a large debt to the Knights Templar, ordered their arrest and burning at the stake. When their leader Sir Jacques De Moray was burning, he cursed the King and Pope Clement V that they would both meet their death before the end of the year. Both men did meet their demise shortly after, contributing to the clout of the lore about Friday the 13th.

Of course, how could we leave out the most popular day in October – Halloween? Also known as “All Hollows Eve”, the day before the Catholic holiday of “All Saints Day”. As “hollows” means saintly or holy, the name evolved into Halloween. There are many customs and practices of Halloween. The Irish used to hollow out turnips for candles and carve faces of demons on them. Placing it by your front door kept the evil spirits away. When immigrants came to America, there were no turnips, so they used the bountiful native pumpkins to carve. Corn husk dolls and shrunken carved apple heads were traditions taken from the Native Americans. There is also the ancient celebration of “Samhain”, a sacred Celtic and Druid festival honoring the harvest, the end of the year and when the spirits can cross over while the moon’s veil is at its thinnest.

All in all, October is a fun month! It embraces celebrating the end of the growing season before the earth goes into its winter sleep. This year the JCMGA is celebrating the wonderful year we have had by having a “Fall Festival”! It will be a small one-day event with native plant sales, several vendors, fall and holiday décor, dried flower bouquets, lavender from our demo garden, hanging glass garden mosaics, and a petting zoo with the “3 Amigos” – goats from Sanctuary One! So come on out on October 14th from 9am-2pm at the Extension and help us celebrate! Happy October!

Wednesdays in the Gathering Place

By Beet 2023 10 October

I want to give a huge shout out to all the Garden Education Mentors (GEMs) and student Master Gardeners who attended the Wednesday Demo Garden workdays this season! We have had a steady turnout every week. There were only two Wednesdays that were called off due to excessive heat and/or smoke. The students were exceptional. They came out to work and in return got to know each other and the GEMs. In two gardens, the students took the lead while their GEMs were on vacation or out of commission. Many of the students continued coming, long after they fulfilled their volunteer hours obligation, much to the delight of the gardeners.

When the cow bell rings, it’s time for us to head to the Gathering Place each week. We take a break under the shade of the beautiful old oak tree, as hummingbirds and bees buzz throughout the flowering beds and we recharge ourselves with yummy snacks. Fruit, cakes, chips, cheese and meat trays, biscotti and cookies were some of our favorite delights, along with dispensers of ice water and lemonade or iced tea.

This is a vital part of the Demo Gardens because it is where we meet each other, “talk story” about gardens and share quality time with each other while taking a breather in our grubby work clothes. But alas, the season is ending as September comes to a close. I would like to thank the many GEMs for contributing to our weekly snacks. It was fun to see what was served. I believe the grand prize for imagination goes to Marsha Waite, with her ladybugs on leaves! So, so cute and delicious. THANK YOU, Marsha, for the time you spent making them.

Next year, hopefully there will be an apprentice coordinator who will lead this weekly event. With or without an apprentice coordinator, it will carry on. That’s just how we roll (or dig) out there in the gardens!

The President’s Corner — Summertime Blues

By Beet 2023 09 September

I find it ironic how we can’t wait for winter to be gone. Away with the cold weather! We are ready to put sweats, socks, and sweaters into storage and get outside to do anything that brings the sunshine to our pale faces and color back into our world.  We envision our gardens growing and bountiful, our decks and yards amass with annual and perennial color, our time spent outdoors shared with friends and family.

And then it’s summer; usually an instantaneous happening here in the Rogue Valley, as we go from a cold spring with late frosts, to 80- and 90-degree days. No transitional, gradual warming, nope! It comes in like a bang, and we are thankful that it is here. Yay! We can plant gardens, visit nurseries and eat outdoors.

And suddenly it is too hot to stay outside for very long, even though slathered in sunscreen. Now days are spent indoors again, slipping outside only at dawn and dusk to water the many plots and containers we were so excited about planting just two months ago! Then, just when we figure out watering schedules, activities, and what we won’t be planting next year – the dreaded wildfire smoke comes into our lives. It’s summer in the Rogue Valley!

Living in a beautiful area with an abundance of nature also means that the health of our forests plays a dominant role in our lives. Forest fires in the PNW used to occur every 5–10 years; now they happen yearly. Where there is fire there is smoke. In 2018 we averaged 37 days of unhealthy air pollution; in 2020 it was 41 days (particulate matter in the air was over 100 on the Air Quality Index). There goes the tail end of summer.

Life is not how we dictate it should be, it is what it is. We need to adjust to the new kind of “summer” whether we want to or not. Here’s hoping the fires will soon be contained and the smoke will clear. We can enjoy the merging into fall; delighting in the cooler weather and sunny afternoons, as we clear the gardens for next season’s crops. Goodbye Summertime Blues!

The President’s Corner — Who and What is the Garden Enhancement Committee?

By Beet 2023 08 August



As President, I am involved in the many aspects of the JCMGA business. Before I became President, I gradually involved myself in several committees to get a feel for the things that we as an organization do and the people who do them.  I then graduated to being a part of several working groups. Some groups are mostly “business”, and some are about activity-related business. I enjoy all of them, and as I can’t seem to stay out of anything, especially if it involves an event, I am there!

There is one committee that I am especially fond of, and I have been a member since I was a student. It is a “get it done” group that is not afraid to get their hands dirty (or face or clothes, LOL). Most of the members don’t hold any other positions – we are all the same hardworking people who enjoy each other’s company. The Garden Enhancement Committee – affectionately known as the GEC – is a committee in the Gardens Working Group. Our fearless leader is Janine Salvatti and members include Kari Gies, Marcie Katz, Candie Steely, Lyn Boening and Gail Ropel. We meet every Monday from 9 AM to 12 PM.

We tackle many projects. All the pathways that connect the gardens are our domain. We keep them intact and weed-free by using vinegar, Preen weed preventer, hard work and lots of decomposed granite! We also maintain all the signage for the Demonstration Gardens. All those signs with the info boxes in each garden are put in place by us. The brochure boxes are put up each spring and taken down in the fall. The face pages in the boxes are written (with input from the GEMS) and designed by our graphic designer, with the same verbiage that is on each garden’s webpage. This year we revamped and updated them to include a QR code which takes you right to the JCMGA webpage. The directional arrows on the signpost and throughout the gardens are placed by us as well. As there have been many changes in the gardens in the last few years, it has been challenging to keep up!

Our little group has also taken on a few areas of our own to develop. The driveway entry sign used to have grass and weeds around it until we planted native plants with the help of Sherri Morgan and Lynn Kunstman several years ago. Since there is no irrigation out there, we manually water every week and keep it maintained.

Many of you are familiar with the “Gathering Place”, that peaceful area under the beautiful old oak. That area used to be a part of the Kitchen Garden, which was decommissioned due to placement of the storage pods. We decided to make it a meeting/lunch/quiet spot. We spray painted the patio tables and chairs, then transformed the remaining raised beds into a cut flower garden for all to see and enjoy when entering the parking lot. Janine, our resident artist, made the mosaic butterfly on the “Gather” post and turned us on to making “glass panel mosaics.” We had a workday where we made the glass panels you see hanging in several of the gardens. They are quite a hit! So much so, the Fundraising Committee has scheduled a workshop on September 15 for anyone who wants to make some! Bring materials (frame with glass, vase marbles, colored glass saucers, cups, etc.) and create a masterpiece of your own!

We have also been known to help out in Demonstration Gardens that don’t have a GEM. Currently we are working on the Fig Grove – weeding, cutting blackberries and eventually laying down wood chips. All in all, not bad for a group of aging women! Even our meetings are fun. We meet at each other’s homes once a month for lunch, take a tour of the gardens and talk shop!  If you are interested in joining our merry little band, come over on any Monday, or contact Janine Salvatti at