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By Beet 2022 07 July

Wow, what a wonderful event! The Membership Working Group put on a “Tea” to bolster membership in the Master Gardener program. Marcie Katz came up with the idea to have a Tea Party and invite Master Gardeners whose membership had lapsed due to the pandemic. Well, as it turned out, it was a wonderful idea. 

Some Association members did not know that the Demonstration Gardens were open again, so it was time to become reacquainted with the grounds and see all the changes that have been made since we had to close due to COVID-19 in 2019. Plus, it was a wonderful opportunity to catch up with old friends. The event moved from the arboretum into the auditorium because of unpredictable weather. The room was full of laughter and lots of chatter from participants who were delighted to see each other again.


Of course, tea was served along with an array of delicious desserts. Marcie supplied a beautiful collection of vintage teacups and tea pots which adorned the tables that were covered with lace tablecloths. Atop the tables, Sandy Hammond had made arrangements of roses (from our Rose Garden). Janine Salvatti and Lyn Boening served the teas. Annette Carter and Colet Allen helped arrange the desserts. Carol Bogedain and Teresina Christy staffed the Membership table. Clean up had so many hands in the dishwater that they are too many to name.

The Membership Working Group would like to welcome back the people who renewed their membership. We really appreciate each and every one of you, thank you. As you all know, the Association plays a vital role in our community which means we need everyone to help us keep going. If you missed this event, we have others coming up in which you can become involved. If you have a special skill or talent or simply want to have a new challenge, we need you.


Thank you and Welcome back!           

Better Know a Native

By Beet 2022 07 July

You are all well aware that I have been beating the Native Plants drum for some time now. Last year, I wrote a four-part series outlining the reasons for growing native plants. Now, with our Native Plant Nursery back up and running after last year’s water crisis, I thought I would begin introducing you to plants we grow. I am going to begin with ground covers and grasses.


Many folks are considering removing part or all of their traditional lawns, as the water situation in the valley evolves and concerns for conserving water grow. Growing native ground covers and native grasses can be a great choice if you are wanting a more drought tolerant, low (relatively) growing area of vegetation in your yard. While these natives will not tolerate the mowing and foot traffic of a conventional turf lawn, they will cover the space, outcompete weeds, and require much less irrigation. Remember that native plants have roots that reach many feet–typically six to fifteen feet–into the soil and therefore require much less irrigation, once established.


Currently we have two ground covers and two native grasses available in the nursery. The groundcovers are native Yarrow and native Self Heal. The grasses are Tufted Hairgrass and Blue Wild Rye. Here is a brief description of each.

    Tufted Hairgrass, Deschampsia cespitosa, is a native bunchgrass. It grows naturally in moist, high elevation sites; sandy or rocky shores; bogs & fens and requires medium water. It does best in part shade. The seeds are an important food for birds, and it is host to Skipper butterflies (Hesperiidae family). If you have an area that gets regular water, this is a grass you might consider.


   Blue Wild Rye, Elymus glaucus, is a cool season, tufted perennial bunchgrass. The loose to dense tufts have erect to somewhat nodding seedheads. The foliage is blue-green in color. Growing 3-6 feet, this decorative grass likes part shade, and will tolerate dry sites. It is a desirable species for use in erosion control. The attractive, blue-green foliage adds value to commercial landscaping projects. It is host to nine species of butterfly and moth.


   Yarrow, Achillea millefolium, is a tough, lacy gray-green evergreen perennial herb. It grows 2-3 feet tall, with white flowers. It fills spaces aggressively, to form a thick, weed- preventing mat. Bloom lasts from April into September. It does well in both full sun and part shade and is especially drought tolerant. Added benefits are that it is fire resistant, hosts 10 butterfly and moth species, and is of special value to native bees.


      Self Heal, Prunella vulgaris, is a vigorously spreading member of the mint family. This tough little native grows 6 inches to 2 feet tall and forms a lush green mat. It is topped with lovely purple flower stalks from May through September. It can be grown most anywhere, with a little extra water in very dry conditions. In very hot areas, give it a spot that is protected from the hot afternoon sun. Self Heal is a favorite of bumblebees and butterflies, both as a nectar and a host plant.


All of these plants and many more are for sale in our JCMGA nursery, on the SOREC Extension campus, 569 Hanley Road, Central Point. The nursery is open for sales on Wednesdays from 10 a.m. to noon through October, and by appointment. Contact Lynn at to schedule an appointment.   We also have seasonal pop-up sales, so be on the lookout for those.



President’s Message

By Beet 2022 07 July


The Future of JCMGA [1]

Dear JCMGA members,

Your Board is planning a special retreat to be held on Friday September 23, 2022. This event will be designed to be an “all-hands” meeting, with all members invited and encouraged to attend, and will be in lieu of the annual membership meeting. The topic will be “The Future of JCMGA.”

The plan is to make this an “in person” event in the auditorium on the SOREC[2] grounds. We will try to have an adjunct ZOOMÔ section if we can figure it out.

The idea originated when a few veteran MGs[3] approached me. They feared for the survival of the organization because so many things have changed during the pandemic and the membership has drastically declined and the program may be under a review by OSU. While I do not fear for the survival of the group, as I see us working away determinedly and adjusting to many challenges, I do agree that we should get the membership as a whole more involved and should try to influence our future rather than being entirely reactive. So, I will work enthusiastically towards this all-hands initiative with the appropriate MG Working Groups. Please, could you put September 23 on your calendars? More details will follow.

Meanwhile, I would like to share some observations: On June 18, the Member Services Working Group put on a “Par-Tea” for members and former members to get reacquainted. It was a wonderful afternoon; the tea service was “set up to a T” and very pretty. About 10 people rejoined with the special offer. Great job, MSWG!

As I was strolling around and introducing myself to a few people and chatting, I became aware that a common reason for them losing touch was because they did not feel entirely welcome. I am afraid the pandemic and recent happenings in the news may have something to do with this. Everybody seems to be on edge. But this is still not a good situation. I admit that I am sensitive to this issue as I feel that I have been stereotyped since I volunteered to be President. I was more or less called a bully, considered too dense to recognize errors on a website, instructed on time management and efficiency, not invited to welcome the new students. I tried to invite myself, but first the sign-up procedure for the classes was broken. When that was fixed, the link to the classes did not work in our county. That is when I just gave up on inviting myself. And at the “Par-Tea” I was told it would be better if I used a paper cup to drink my tea because the pretty cups were very fragile.

Now I know I’m nothing special, if this kind of stuff is happening to me it is also happening to others. And I inadvertently stereotyped someone myself. We must try to avoid this behavior by realizing that we may have unconscious, perhaps even unfocused biases because we are on edge; by being polite and staying polite; and by maybe even being kind! And we need to treat all our students as “adult learners” (as Dolly Travers put it so nicely when she was helping reorganize the Plant Clinic). Adult learners need to know how, but also why. They have busy lives and their own style of doing things. Let’s never talk down to them and they may stay members! Also, never turn down someone volunteering! Really, that is not asking a lot, is it? Just be decent. Lake Woebegone decent.

If you have any comments or advice or ideas about my observations or for the all-hands initiative, please email them to me at the following address: 

[1] Jackson County Master Gardeners Association

[2] Southern Oregon Research and Extension Center

[3] Master Gardeners

Par-Tea in the Gardens

By Beet 2022 05 May


Spring is in the air, calling us into our gardens to enjoy the rebirth of the land! Just like at home, the Demonstration Gardens at the Extension are in bloom, and they long for visitors to view them and enjoy their beauty.

In the past two years, we have sheltered in place, obliged to wear masks, and stand six feet apart when in public. Through that process, we lost the connections that we previously had to people and places and the Jackson County Master Gardener Association has been especially hard hit. In those two years, we lost over half of our membership!

Well, we are inviting you back! Back to view the beautiful gardens, back to see, meet, and reconnect with other Master Gardeners, have tea, stroll, and see what changes have evolved on the Extension grounds. The Member Services Working Group, along with the Fundraising Working Group, Garden Enhancement Committee, and GEMS, would like to invite you, the Members and past Members of JCMGA to an afternoon “Par-Tea in the Gardens” taking place in the Arboretum on Saturday, June 18, from 1-4 pm. This is an “open house” event, so come and go when you please, tour the grounds, and then finish off with iced beverages, hot tea, and an assortment of tea sandwiches and desserts. Sit in the shade of the Arboretum to renew old friendships, make new ones, and catch up with what’s happening. So, come one and all, join in the fun and hopefully become involved again in our wonderful association!

Look for the JCMGA Mailchimp to arrive in your mailbox coming soon. A RSVP is encouraged!

For any inquiries, please contact Carol Bogedain at or Marcie Katz at 

So Long…and Thanks for All the Fish!

By Beet 2022 02 February

For those of you who are fans of the “trilogy” of six books, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, by Douglas Adams, this title will make sense to you.  For those of you not familiar, I can only recommend you get to reading these.

As I hand over the reins of the JCMGA board to our new President, Regula Pepi, I wanted to express my appreciation and love for this organization and all the friends and volunteers who make Jackson County Master Gardeners such a wonderful force for good in our community.

Despite seemingly insurmountable obstacles – COVID-19, shut downs, well failures, decreased membership – our board and all our volunteers have continued to serve the association and the broader community in so many ways: garden maintenance on campus, teaching OLLI classes, Winter Dreams Summer Gardens Symposium, JPR radio gardening show, JCLS library lectures, installation of a native plant demonstration garden at Britt Festival, and many more that I am sure I am omitting.

So, this is both a thank you and an appeal.

It has been my great honor to serve as president.  Before I agreed, two years ago, to become president-elect, and then president, I had no idea of the complexity of steering such a giant ship of volunteers. I have learned so much from my fellow gardeners and board members and appreciate their dedication so much.

My hope is that each of you, as members, will reflect on how you might help Jackson County Master Gardeners to maintain the high level of service we provide for Rogue Valley gardeners and the broader community. Can you be sure you have renewed your membership?  Can you volunteer to help with upcoming events? If you cannot volunteer in person, can you assist from home?  If you are capable of making a monetary donation, we are always in need of money to fund our programs.  Please be sure you are checking the JCMGA website regularly, and pressing that donate button, if you can.

I have one more year on the board as past-president and look forward to seeing many–I hope all–of you in the gardens this year.


So long…and thanks for all the fish!