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Newsletter August 2020

Reclaiming the Demo Gardens

By Newsletter August 2020 8 Comments

Reclaiming the Demo Gardens

by Marcie Katz

After a three month hiatus due to the COVID-19 stay at home order, the GEM’s slowly returned. It was a sight for sore eyes for sure; we had visions of how we left them, all neat and tidy, pathways clear of weeds and grass, spring bulbs

, hellebores and wind flowers all in bloom.  We knew things would be overgrown, but Mother Nature detests empty spaces, and so she populated our gardens with WEEDS! Lot’s of WEEDS! Six and seven foot tall WEEDS! Every weed known to the PNW found a new home!

They especially liked the rose, daylily and dahlia gardens where the soil is like fine wine, pure and 

painstakingly developed over the years with organic amendments. You could barely see the flowers for the weeds. The Waterwise Garden completely lost its pathways, the Children’s Garden grew thistles, and blackberries and foxtails abounded in every path, nook and cranny.  It was overwhelming. 

So,  you just have to start somewhere, pick an area and go to work. Not all the GEMS came the first week, and the students weren’t invited back as yet. Slowly they returned, and then students and other Master Gardener helpers came, and by the end of each consecutive week order was returning.

In four short weeks (three days a week, three hours a day, all the time we are allotted), the gardens are lookin

g beautiful again and we completely filled a new compost berm and the burn trailer with our rejects! Granted, we missed some very pretty plants that bloomed while we were away, including the corpse plant in the Wanda Hauser Garden. (Pretty to look at, horrible to smell!) 

It was a very good lesson about garden density and use of mulches. Some gardens didn’t have many weeds at all! The Birds, Bee, Butterfly Garden0 had nary a weed because it’s packed to the brim with happy, fragrant, plant

s of all sizes. Doug and Char’s Perennial Garden lost a few plants (critters?) but had few weeds, and those they had were easy to mitigate because Doug brought in some superior, heavy wood chips that did their job!  Marsha and her helpers had a huge area to tackle and now the daylilies are thanking them with their beautiful blooms. The Rose Garden was overwhelming for Eileen and her crew – full of blooms with roses falling over. The prickly lettuce was taller than most of us, 

After many, many wheelbarrow loads, you can smell the roses and see them again. Monette has done an amazing job cleaning out the Waterwis

e Garden, where there are now pathways to walk on. Lynn K. had a huge job, transplanting hundreds of baby native plants into bigger pots and moving all the plants that no longer had irrigation in the back area. Helpers new to some gardens did their best, not sure what plants a

re in the garden, but taking a risk of pulling things that looked like weeds. The GEMS and workers came for the entry, herb, succulent, native, wildflower and rain gardens and have been busy as bees. The Garden Enhancement Committee worked every Thursday to

 clear the pathways, our first project being to weed our Entry Sign Garden we had just planted before the shutdown. Joe even has a new helper to clean up the orchard in areas where the tractor can’t fit. 

Literally hundreds of hours already have been logged. 

It is sad to see that the Children’s Garden and the Kitchen Garden empty. We

 will clean them up and make ready for next year, hopefully we will be back to “normal” or a “new normal” by then. We had plans, we had goals, and we had lives that are much different now. So, taking a 


cue from our beautiful gardens, as the song goes, “we will survive!”


Behind-the-Scenes Master Gardener of the Year: Dee Copley

By Newsletter August 2020 7 Comments

By Lynn Kuntsman

Master Gardener 2012

Dee has been a Master Gardener for six years.  Her contributions during that time have been most impressive.

For the last four years, Dee has organized and coordinated Seed to Supper classes.   Dee’s program coordinator, Emily Mann,  reports that the class would not happen without Dee’s help and dedication: spending hours each week from November-May recruiting MGs to teach the program; helping train volunteers; sending emails; connecting participants; and marketing classes. With between 6 to 8 six-week courses offered each year, it has been no simple task. Dee  reliably and consistently donated her time to coordinate classes, bringing hands-on gardening education to roughly 85 members of the Jackson County community.

With the 2020 classes postponed, Dee continues to keep the spirit of Seed to Supper alive–participating in community conference calls, continued  communication with past and current participants, and working on a succession plan for when she finally retires from her volunteer position.

       JCMGA Greenhouse 2 would not be a reality without Dee’s expertise and hard work.   As a realtor,  she was uniquely qualified to navigate the complicated Jackson County permit process. Due to zoning restrictions, procuring the required documents was especially challenging. Dee worked with various county offices clarifying regulations, ensuring requirements were met, and working with JCMGA members to carry out specifications – always with good humor, clarity, and endless patience.

Congratulations, Dee, and thank you from all of us for your dedication and hard work.


Barbara Davidson named OSU Master Gardener of the Year

By Newsletter August 2020 4 Comments

By Lynn Kuntsman

Master Gardener 2012

Our very own Barbara Davidson has been honored by being named OSU Master Gardener for 2020. We are so happy that Barbara has received this award after her many years of dedication to local and state Master Gardeners.

Support of MG program educational mission

Barbara Davidson retired in 2000 after 30 years as a high school English teacher. She became a certified Master Gardener in 2004, and has been an active and valued volunteer and leader for JCMGA since then. Each spring, she attends the weekly Master Gardener class to guide, support, and mentor new students learning the art and science of gardening in the Rogue Valley. As a member of the Board of Directors of the Jackson County Master Gardener Association and its Community Outreach Working Group, Barbara chairs the committees that award grants to local school gardens and community gardens along with annual scholarship awards to local students pursuing horticulture as a career. She has organized the JCMGA donation for the Mini-College silent auction, raises funds at the used book booth at JCMGA’s Spring Garden Fair, and cheerfully joins the annual picnic and graduation decoration committees.

Beyond her work to promote education locally, Barbara is the JCMGA representative to the Oregon Master Gardener Association Board of Directors and has held that position since 2014. In that capacity, Barbara has served as co-chair for OMGA Mini-College. She was in charge of arranging speakers and did such an exemplary job, she was told to stop recruiting because she had signed up so many. She also worked for many years to improve and expand the Master Gardeners Handbook, used in MG training classes statewide. 

Leadership within the association 

Elected president of the Jackson County Master Gardener Association in 2008, Barbara has remained a member of its Board of Directors since that time. She chairs the JCMGA School Grants/Scholarships committee. In 2014 she was elected JCMGA’s representative to the Oregon Master Gardener Association and has continued in that position to this date. In 2016 she was OMGA’s Mini-College speaker coordinator. She is a past OMGA secretary and has been the OMGA historian since at least 2018. She plans one OMGA board meeting in Jackson County annually and organizes the JCMGA donation for the Mini-College silent auction.

Barbara’s responsibilities over the years have included:

Board member: 2006-present

Vice-president: 2006 which included programs committee

Mentor program chair: 2006

President-elect: 2007 which included nominating committee

President: 2008

OMGA alternate rep: 2009

School Grants: 2010-present

Scholarships: 2010-present

OMGA Rep: 2012-present

Social: 2016-2018

OMGA Mini-College speaker coordinator: 2016

OMGA secretary pro tem: 2017

OMGA historian: 2018-2020


After Barbara Davidson’s retirement in 2000, she became a CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocate) volunteer, helping abused and neglected children. She has appeared before the Medford City Council to testify on many issues, including the OSU Extension facility’s value to the community. As chair of the JCMGA committee that awards grants to local school and community gardens, and annual scholarships to local students pursuing careers in horticulture, she has nurtured a love of gardening in young people and the broader community. These scholarship recipients go out into the world as our future biologists, entomologists, horticulturalists, educators, etc.

Barbara’s commitment to and impact on the mission of the Master Gardener program – from the local to beyond – can be best understood from the following example. At a recent JCMGA Board of Directors meeting, it was proposed that a new Demonstration Garden be developed to explain the art and science of composting to new Master Gardener students and the community at large. Planning had been completed, volunteers recruited, and the time for construction was at hand. The board was enthusiastic. However, the compost garden had not been anticipated when the annual budget was adopted and there were no funds to pay for the project. Barbara suggested that board members donate out of their own pockets to begin construction and offered her own gift to get the ball rolling. By the end of the meeting enough money had been raised to pay the basic cost of the Compost Garden and its successful completion was assured. This garden is now a community educational resource.

Barbara also serves as OMGA historian, maintaining the historic record of the organization. She participates and leads the Executive Committee, Board of Directors, and Annual Retreat functions. Barbara brings suggestions, perspective, institutional memory and constructive advice to Board meetings and Mini-College planning and execution. Barbara is a thoughtful and extremely supportive resource. Her willingness to take on additional tasks such as facilitating OMGA Board meetings or Mini-College responsibilities, demonstrates the high level of commitment and caring that Barbara Davidson has for our program. Her tenacity and leadership has impacts from local to state and beyond, as OMGA educational programs expand.