Garden News January 2024


You might think the “dead of winter” isn’t a good time for nature walks or gardening. But in addition to dreaming about spring while browsing seed catalogs, here are several helpful winter gardening classes, as well as opportunities to get out and learn about nature in our neighborhoods.

Wetland cleanup and planting!

Thursday, January 25, 9:30-12 pm, 12020 SW Barnes Rd., RSVP required, free

Join The Wetlands Conservancy volunteers for a day of native plantings and non-native species removal at Cedar Mill Wetlands. This complex series of ponds and streams is home to beavers, birds, amphibians, fish and more. It is currently overrun with nonnative teasel and could use our help. We’ll spend a few hours snipping, digging, and bagging the teasel and then fill in the gaps with some native shrubs. This event is family friendly. All equipment and some light snacks provided. Visit this registration form to sign up or the conservancy website for more information.

Treekeepers of Washington County programs

We work to protect and advocate for trees in urban unincorporated Washington County. Don’t miss our January events! All of them are free. Visit our website to learn more.


Tree Walk: A Short Lope in Bonny Slope

Sunday, January 14, 10 am, Bonny Slope Elementary School, 11775 NW McDaniel Rd., free

Join Becky for a walk in Bonny Slope. This walk is approximately 1.5 miles, moderately hilly (or sloped, if you will) all on paved or gravel paths. We’ll meet in the parking lot, visit the trees and paths of the school’s green space, then wind our way through The Bluffs Park and return through the neighborhood on Big Fir Circle. Register through the following registration form.

tree down after storm

Tree Talk: What to do about trees in wind storms

Thursday, January 18, 6-7:30 pm, Cedar Mill Community Library Oak Room, 1080 NW Saltzman Rd., free

In high winds, people worry about the safety of their trees or trees in the neighborhood. The fate of one tree does not determine the fate of a neighboring tree however, as many factors are involved. Certified Arborist Will Koomjian of Emergent Tree Works asserts, “The overall risk posed by trees is incredibly low, but there are ways to identify and mitigate that risk.” Find out the best ways to do that at our next third Thursday talk as Will tells us what he looks for to assess a tree and how to carefully plan for actions that prevent or correct hazards whenever possible. Register through the following registration form. Visit the Emergent Tree Works website to learn more about them.

Tree Walk: Jenkins Estate

Friday, January 19, 10 am, 8005 SW Grabhorn Rd., Beaverton, free

Tucked into a wooded niche on Cooper Mountain, Jenkins Estate is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The Main House was a summer home modeled after a hunting lodge built for the English royal family. Tualatin Hills Parks and Recreation staff will give us an introduction to Jenkins Estate before Laurette Nacamulli leads us on some of the trails of the 68-acre grounds that include native woodland and acres of gardens.

From the bottom of the parking lot, we will strike out on paved and soft surface trails that lead into woods of Douglas fir, madrone, hazel, alder, hemlock, and Oregon ash. Those who are interested can join us for lunch at the Vintage Room Restaurant at the Reserve Golf Course. Register through the following registration form.

Ivy Pull: Peterkort Woods

Saturday, January 20, 10-12, near the Peterkort Woods development, register here, free
pulling ivy

Climbing ivy can strangle trees, but pulling ivy that has taken a tree hostage can be very satisfying! Put on your sturdy shoes and help us remove it in the Cedar Mill area. We will provide training and tools. You can supply your energy and your will to make a difference for trees. For this event we are hoping to borrow some weed wrenches from Tualatin Soil and Water Conservation District so we can also remove young holly trees. Holly outcompetes native plants and tree seedlings for space and resources and can form impassable thickets that make it difficult for wildlife to pass through. Come help us make a difference for trees! Exact location will be given when you register.

Be part of our on-call ivy crew!

December through March, times and locations will vary, register here, free

The trees may have let go of their leaves—but not the English ivy! In winter, deciduous trees are particularly vulnerable to ivy because the vines keep growing while the trees are dormant, and the excess weight of the ivy can increase risk for trees during winter storms. Winter weather also makes it harder to schedule outdoor events far in advance. Instead, sign up to join our on-call ivy crew. We’ll notify you when there is a good weather window so we can schedule an ivy pulling event. You can get some exercise in the fresh air, meet nice people, work out your frustrations, and do some good for trees, all in the same activity.

February Tree Talk Meetup

Wednesday, February 21, 7-8:30 pm, Cascadia Commons, 4377 SW 94th Ave., register here, free

Get to know your tree-loving neighbors and build community at our next Treekeepers meetup.

This month’s agenda will focus on scheduling topics for future meetings, both for Tree Talk Speakers and for these less-formal meetings. We look forward to your ideas and input for ways to help trees.

Washington County Master Gardener programs

Mason Bee Cocoon Cleaning

Saturday, January 6, 10-12 pm, PCC Rock Creek Campus, Building 4, Rm. 103, 17705 NW Springville Rd, free, no registration required

In this course, Ron, an OSU Master Gardener with over 15 years of expertise, will cover the identification and natural history of mason bees. Attendees will gain a solid understanding of the characteristics and activities of mason bees and why they are one of the earliest and best pollinators in our area. For more details, visit the event page or visit WCMGA website.

Gardening with PNW Native Plants

Saturday, January 27, 10-12 pm, PCC Rock Creek Campus Bldg. 4, Room 103 and 104, 17705 NW Springville Rd., free in person class, no registration needed

Join us to learn about the native plants that thrive in the PNW garden, how to naturescape in support of wildlife and pollinators, and consider the possibilities the Backyard Habitat Certification Program offers through its customized yard assessment (This class will be given again on 10/26/24). The class is approved for one hour of MG education credit. The class will be led by Robin Carpenter and Jack Shorr, OSU Extension MG Volunteers.

Robin was certified as a Master Gardener in 2022. Her interests lie in native plants and the guidance provided by the Backyard Habitat Certification Program. She also volunteers at the Portland Audubon Society and as a Master Recycler. Jack became a MG in 2006 and a Master Naturalist in 2012. He volunteers with the Backyard Habitat Certification Program, the MG Speakers Guild and the WCMGA Education Garden at the PCC Rock Creek Campus.

For more information, please go to the WCMGA website.

Growing and Belonging: Cultivating Community Partnerships

Tuesday, February 6, 7-8 pm, Zoom, registration required

This free webinar from the Washington County Master Gardeners covers a framework to successfully form partnerships with community groups that have an interest in and need for sustainable gardening information. It describes three different projects that have engaged community and governmental partners in the Portland Metro area and includes sharing the successes and lessons learned. Dennis Brown, an OSU Extension MG Volunteer of the Portland Metro Area will lead the webinar. Please visit the event website to register.

Plant and Sip Workshop

houseplant terrarium and drink for plant and sip event

Saturdays, January 6 and 27, 2:30-4:30 pm, 8212 SW Barnes Rd, $80

January marks not only the beginning of the New Year, but the start of Houseplant Month at Cornell Farms. We’re celebrating with a series of events for houseplant lovers of any level, including two “Plant and Sip” workshops that will allow attendees to exercise their horticultural creativity while enjoying hors d’oeuvres and cocktails from the Cafe. On the 6th, we’ll be creating custom kokedamas to hang in windows, and on the 27th, we’ll be crafting 8″ terrariums using miniature houseplants!

Register now and learn about all of our Houseplant Month events on the Cornell Farms Events webpage.

Cedar Mill Garden Club

Third Wednesday monthly, 10 am, contact for location

CMGC welcomes new members. For more information, please contact: Cathy Ramsey @ Please note: Last month’s issue had an incorrect email listed.

Field to Market workshops for small farmers

Various dates January 29-February 6, various locations, see website for details.

The Oregon State University Extension Service Metro Small Farms Program welcomes farmers to attend Field to Market: Selling farm-direct, producer-processed, value-added products in Oregon. The program will be offered on four days. Oregon’s Farm Direct Marketing Law allows small farmers to produce certain low-risk, value-added products, such as fruit spreads, pickled and lacto-fermented fruits and vegetables, from their produce and sell them directly to the consumer without having to obtain a processing license.

The cost of each workshop is $15 and scholarships are available. Registration closes on January 22. Please register online through the program website or call OSU North Willamette Research and Extension Center at 503-678-1264.

For more information, please go to the WCMGA website. The Washington County Master Gardener™ Association (WCMGA) sponsors a wide variety of gardening—related demonstrations, lectures, seminars and workshops in various Washington County Oregon locations. Most of our events are free and open to the public. The WCMGA is a 501c3 non-profit.

Sheet mulching for weed suppression or lawn removal

From the East Multnomah Soil and Water Conservation District (EMSWCD) Facebook page

Thinking about using cardboard for a garden or sheet mulching project?

Sheet mulching with cardboard is a gardening technique that involves layering cardboard over the soil as a way to transition from grass and suppress weeds, retain moisture, and improve soil health. The process involves laying down sheets of cardboard over the soil and then adding layers of organic material on top, such as compost, straw, or wood chips. The cardboard acts as a barrier to prevent grass and weeds from growing, while also breaking down over time and adding carbon to the soil.

This method is an *eco-friendly way to control weeds without the use of chemicals and can be used for both small and large-scale gardening projects. So, if you’re looking for a natural way to transition from lawn and control weeds and improve your soil health, consider sheet mulching with cardboard!

Any kind of cardboard can be used, but corrugated cardboard is best. The thicker it is, the longer it will take to decompose. Remove all tape and staples.

Get enough to cover your entire sheet-mulching project area with at least one layer of cardboard, extending four to six inches beyond the edge of the grass on all sides. Get enough to allow separate pieces of cardboard to overlap by four to six inches, and to thoroughly cover all gaps. Two layers are more effective than one.

East Multnomah Soil and Water Conservation District has a brochure you can print with more information.

*On the other hand, Washington State University Professor Linda Chalker-Scott has a page about science-based gardening and advises against the use of paper-based and wood-chip mulches. Visit the page for more myth-busting and helpful information.

Let’s plant trees in Cedar Mill

Saturday, March 23, 8:45 am-1 pm, St. Andrews Lutheran Church, 12405 SW Butner Rd.

Friends of Trees in conjunction with Clean Water Services is looking for participants and volunteers for a community-wide tree planting event. The family-friendly event is a great way to do something about climate change and learn about the best way to plant a tree!

Want curbside or yard trees, and/or can you volunteer to help? Register on the Friends of Trees website to receive trees for planting that add much needed shade, stormwater filtration, and greenery to the neighborhood. When you register, Friends of Trees will send you a list of trees appropriate to plant along your curb or in your yard. For more details, please contact Mario Catani at 503-467-2521, or email MarioC@FriendsofTrees.Org.

Visit the “Calendar” page on the Friends site for details about the volunteer opportunity.

Climate Changes: Plant Hardiness Zone Update

From the Neighbors Ready news

The USDA released an updated plant hardiness zone map last month. This map classifies areas by average lowest annual temperature (measured between 1990-2020), thus aiding gardeners in selecting plants that can survive their winters. Cedar Hills and the Portland-metro area were previously mostly Zone 8b (15-20 degrees F). Now both are split half and half between 8b and 9a (20-25 degrees F). This trend of warming zones was seen nationwide. By itself, this update is not concerning. But with the increase in climate disasters, it serves as a reminder that we have many opportunities to limit climate change more quickly. Visit the UNEP website for such opportunities.

And here are two of our seasonal favorite opportunities:

Talk with friends & family about climate change. Climate legislation is supported by a majority of people, but we tend to believe it to be unpopular. This disparity may be due to a climate “spiral of silence” and underreporting of climate change in the media. To counteract this, discuss the changing climate with loved ones at your winter gatherings, and beyond. Here’s how.

Buy locally, seasonally, and sustainably. Food travels an average of 1500 miles to get to our plates, using about ten times as much energy to move as it gives our bodies. Seasonal, local food uses less energy to transport, and tastes better. Shopping locally is maybe simpler and more rewarding at farmers markets, but for now, many strategies also work at grocery chains.

illustration of hands reaching out of book towards fruit

Organic Orcharding Workshop Series

Hands-On Winter Workshops from Home Orchard Education Center aren’t local, but it might be worth a trip across town to learn how to maintain the fruit and nut plants in your yard! Learn to grow, tend, and harvest fruit using sustainable, organic-approved methods. Our in-person workshops support learners of all experience levels and prioritize hands-on opportunities for learning!