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By February 28, 2021Beet 2021 03 March

Greetings, Master Gardeners! And happy spring!

As we wait impatiently for reopening, your Jackson County Master Gardener Association is hard at work doing the daily business of the association. Our Community Outreach Working Group has been especially busy these last few months and can always use help from members who are looking to assist in educating our community. Jim Buck, the working group chair, is the person to contact if you would like to become involved. The working group has several committees that function under its umbrella: School Garden Grants, Scholarships, Speakers Bureau, Community Gardens, and Native Plants Gardens Tour.

The School Garden Grants and Scholarships committees are led by Barbara Davidson and are responsible for monies that are donated to school garden projects and students. School garden grants are donations awarded to local teachers for gardening projects in the Rogue Valley. Among other things, these donations have helped establish butterfly gardens and vegetable gardens at many of our local elementary and middle schools. Scholarships are awarded to OSU university students who must be at the junior or senior level in good standing and enrolled in a horticulture-related major. 

Our Speakers Bureau, now led by Colet Allen, has a cadre of Master Gardener speakers who are available to present educational lessons on a variety of topics. Local organizations such as the library, garden clubs, churches, and schools contact the committee chair to arrange for a speaker on the topic of their choice. Find a list of topics and speakers on the JCMGA webpage.

There are also two new programs which started in the last year: There’s a Wednesday radio show on JPR’s Jefferson Exchange at 8:35 a.m. where I talk with Geoffrey Riley and answer listener questions about gardening. Click here for streaming radio, or tune in locally. Ronnie Budge and John Kobal will begin teaching an OLLI (Osher Lifelong Learning Institute) class starting this month, using our Garden Guide for the Rogue Valley as the text.

Our Community Gardens committee, chaired by Master Gardener Mary Foster, is responsible for helping community members start gardens for citizens and groups that do not have access to land for personal gardens. There are community gardens in almost every town in our valley. For a list of these, see our website. 

Currently, this committee is spending their $1,500 budget to help rebuild the Blue Heron Community Garden, in Phoenix, which was completely destroyed last summer in the Almeda Fire.

And finally, Sherri Morgan leads our Native Plants Gardens Tour effort. Scheduled for May, this will be a virtual tour and potentially in-person. She needs additional support to make this happen. 

As a member of Jackson County Master Gardeners, you have so much to be proud of. Please consider becoming more involved with our programs. If something you read here inspires you, please contact the Working Group or committee chair with whom you would like to work. Emails work great and you can find that information in your JCMGA Member directory. In the meantime, be well, and GARDEN FOR LIFE!