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Beet 2023 12 December

Jackson County Master Gardeners Announcements – December 2023

By Beet 2023 12 December



Member Services Working Group Survey

  • Thank you to all who took the time to complete our survey.
  • We will be using the data to plan for next year.


Winter Dreams Summer Gardens 2023 Satisfaction Survey

  • Thank you to all who attended this year’s WDSG event and for completing our Satisfaction Survey.
  • We will be using the data to plan for the Winter Dreams Summer Gardens 2024!


JCMGA Membership Renewal for 2024 is now open.

  • Remember to be included in the JCMGA Chapter Directory, you need to renew your membership by January 31, 2024.


JCMGA Chapter Directory Photo Contest

  • We will again have a Photo Contest in January 2024. The photo chosen will be used for the front cover of the 2024 JCMGA Chapter Directory.
  • For more details, see the enclosed article.

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!


Coordinator’s Column

By Beet 2023 12 December







Hello Gardeners,

We are in those cold winter months where family and friends gather to celebrate. There is much for the Jackson County Master Gardeners to celebrate this year also.

  • We have completed a total of 8,981.8 volunteer hours this year!
  • Plus, an additional 1,133.4 hours of Continuing Education Credits!
  • 65,914 people in the County were reached through our efforts!
  • 1,108.5 pounds of produce were donated, largely from the Plant a Row Campaign and our Veggie Demonstration Garden!


Thank you to everyone who helped make this year a success. All of your hard work really demonstrates our impact as an organization. As we continue to expand what we do as an organization, these numbers will continue to grow. I am looking forward to working with you all again next year!

Speaking of next year, what’s new for the Jackson County Master Gardeners in 2024? In addition to our current volunteer opportunities, we will be expanding into a few new areas.

We are happy to announce the initiation of our Friends of the Demonstration Gardens volunteers. These volunteers are folks who are not Master Gardeners but are still interested in getting some hands-on education and practice volunteering in our Demonstration Gardens. This will expand our reach within our community and help our GEMs keep their gardens in tip top shape. If you are interested in helping coordinate this group of volunteers, reach out to me (Grace Florjancic) at!

Seed to Supper is making a comeback! This 6-week gardening class is designed for those in our county of lower incomes to teach how to veggie garden on a budget. This program is important in helping create a more resilient and food secure Oregon. If you are interested in becoming a Seed to Supper instructor, reach out to me at!

We have a new initiative under construction and if the grant is funded, we will be charging ahead in the summer of 2024. The working title is “Plants for Gramps”, and it will take place in various Jackson County libraries. It will be a short workshop series based on horticultural therapy activities to help combat mental health challenges and loneliness in rural older adults. Our goal is to help folks be able to access the benefits of interacting with nature indoors and from home as well as connecting with new people to foster a sense of community. If you are interested in becoming a Plants for Gramps instructor, reach out to me at!

Thank you to everyone for your hard work over this past year. I know there are endless opportunities for the future, and it can be a challenge to make sure we accomplish all the exciting goals we have when taking on new initiatives and expanding old ones. I am available to discuss ideas about future endeavors. Drop me a line! By now you should all know my email:


JCMGA 2024 Elected Board Members

By Beet 2023 12 December


JCMGA 2024 Elected Board Members


  • President-Elect:
    • Vacant


  • Recording Secretary:
    • Kathy Apple


  • Membership Secretary:
    • Ann Ackles


  • Treasurer:
    • Keltie Nelson



  • OMGA Representative:
    • Colet Allen


  • Archivist:
    • Pam Hillers


  • Members-At-Large:
    • Rebecca Cohn
    • Randa Linthwaite
    • Rob MacWhorter
    • Lucy Pylkki
    • Cassandra Toews


  • Assistant Treasurer:
    • Regula Pepi

Time to Renew Your JCMGA Membership for 2024

By Beet 2023 12 December


It is time to renew your Jackson County

Master Gardener Membership for 2024!

Remember that to be included in the

2024 JCMGA Chapter Directory, you need to

renew your membership by

January 31, 2024.


It’s a great deal at just $25!

You may renew on the Member Portal of the website

Contact Barbara Low, temporary Membership Secretary,

if you have any questions at

See the New Interpretive Sign in the Native Plant Garden!  

By Beet 2023 12 December

Next time you wander around the Demonstration Garden grounds, the Gardens Enhancement Committee (GEC) hopes you notice the beautiful new interpretive sign recently installed to replace the old Rain Garden sign. The Rain Garden met its demise as our climate changed over time, leaving the existing plants struggling to survive. We used native plants as their replacements to reimagine the garden and support our educational mission. Come check it out!


JCMGA Fall Festival 2023

By Beet 2023 12 December

The Fall Festival of 2023 was an experiment that we learned a lot from. We did not have the field for parking as we did for the Spring Garden Fair, so we held back on advertising, resulting in lower attendance then we would have liked. A good time was had by all who attended though, with an added treat being the spectacular eclipse visible in the parking lot in the morning.


The Native Plant Nursery did their usual great job of selling their plants, earning the majority of the income for the day. Greenhouse #2 was full of Christmas items, beautiful glass garden art (made by Master Gardeners) and Christmas cacti. Wonderful cookies and beverages were free to the delight of all who attended.


There were several vendors who participated, including Sanctuary One with two adorable goats. The leftover Christmas items were donated to Sanctuary One for their future fundraising events.


My Favorite Tomato

By Beet 2023 12 December

My favorite tomato is “Esterina.” It is a golden colored cherry tomato, very much like “Sun Gold” but better in my opinion. It is less prone to cracking than “Sun Gold” and I think the flavor is more delicious. In fact, in head-to-head taste tests at JCMGA picnics, “Esterina” twice won over “Sun Gold” as more flavorful. Unfortunately, it is hard to find either seed or transplants, but I encourage you to be persistent as it is well worth growing and may become your favorite too.


December in the Garden

By Beet 2023 12 December

This is the last article in the series concerning yearlong gardening based on the Gardening Guide for the Rogue Valley – Year Round & Month by Month by the Jackson County Master Gardeners Association.   I hope that you have enjoyed the articles.

In December, there is not much to do in the garden depending on what you want to grow next Spring and Summer.

By caring for our gardens, we are also caring for ourselves – physically, mentally, and emotionally.

December is the time to:

  • Inventory any leftover seeds.
  • Request garden catalogues.
  • Continue to check your stored harvest of vegetables and fruits.
  • Dig and divide rhubarb. This should be done every four years.
  • Start to plan your garden(s) for next year. Evaluate what grew well in your garden this year and what changes you would like to make for this coming year. Maybe consider growing a new variety of vegetable.




Garden Guide for the Rogue Valley – Year-Round & Month by Month. This book contains a wealth of gardening information. You can purchase it at our local Grange Co-op or at the OSU Extension office for $21.00. It can also be purchased on-line at  Note that a shipping fee will be applied.



Happy Gardening

Garden For Life

“Unsheltered” by Barbara Kingsolver — A Book Recommendation

By Beet 2023 12 December

Now that I have learned how to access library audiobooks and download them to my phone, I am listening to a couple more books a month while driving in my car. Learning this process and getting it into my aging brain was on my 2023 goals list.  With the help of our Jackson County Library System, I have mastered this new skill that our young people take for granted, as we older folks did with a landline at their age.

In the past, I bought audio books (very expensive) and played them on my device in my car and at home. In 2021, I purchased a new Outback and, only after getting home realized it did not have a CD player. I was devastated, as I had close to 200 audiobooks in my home library.  At about the same time my home CD player died. Was the Universe trying to tell me something? So, I donated all of my audio books to the library, took the tax write off and moved on.

Now that I’m downloading library audiobooks to my phone, I am once again getting more books under my belt. Interestingly, one of the first books that I listened to was “Unsheltered” by Barbara Kingsolver.

Every book of Kingsolver’s that I have read (which is most of them) always brings surprise and delight. Her insights into family dynamics, social justice, science verses religion and so much more always give me a new perspective that I had not expected when I chose the book to read. “Unsheltered” is no different. One fascinating character in the story was Mary Treat, who is a real person and known for her work in botany and entomology. In the 1830’s. Mary corresponded with Charles Darwin, which adds some interesting discussions about Darwin’s work and ideas. As a lover of plants and the science around plants, this was one of the aspects of this book that I found most delicious.

This is a fascinating and complex read on many levels. I have spent many enjoyable reflective moments on various elements of the book since finishing it. The website below gives a fuller synopsis of the novel. Maybe one of these days as we are working in the gardens at SOREC we can have a lively discussion about “Unsheltered” by Barbara Kingsolver.