The Current Issue


Meet Our Speakers for Monthly MG 
Foundation Evening Meeting 
these meetings are open to all master gardeners and the public
February 9, 2017    7 pm
Location:  WSU Extension   1000 N. Forest St

Tried & True Perennials for your Garden

Kathy Beck & Cynthia Jimenez
Meet Kathy Beck and CynthiaJimenez from Kents nursery who will take us on a slide tour of favorite Perennials, hostas, hellebores and heucheras, and much more. And for those “must have”penstemons, salvias andeuphorbias, they will discuss soil amendments and other ways to successfully grow your favorites.

Bring your enthusiasm , other gardening friends and your questions for an evening of camaraderie and perhaps you will win the door prize


EVENTS  --attend, volunteer or both!

February 4th, Saturday,  8am – 4pm Focus on Children Conference.
WSU MGs will have an education booth at this family event.  Pam Newland will be promoting the Childrens Story Garden, Harriet Arkely will present her book "The Goodnews Chair"  Bellingham Technical College, More conference details:

February 9th  7pm
Foundation Evening Meeting these meetings are open to all master gardeners and the public. Read more about the speakers here 
Location:  WSU Extension   1000 N. Forest St.

February 21  Sustainable Connections Farm to Table Trade Meeting
Master Composter Recycler Educational Booth  

February 22  
Whatcom MG Seattle Home & Garden Show - 
-- Whatcom Master Gardeners' Foundation  Leaving from Bellis Fair Mall at 7:15 returning to Bellingham by 6:30pm Specific directions will be emailed closer to the date. To join contact Margaret Kassne r Cost:  $43.00!  Checks payable to: Whatcom Master Gardener Foundation 

March 11,Saturday 10am-3pm
hatcom Conservation District 2nd annual  Small Farm Expo . VOLUNTEERS NEEDED--  I am looking for compost educators to volunteer at this indoor event

March 15th  1-4pm
Hovander Annual Plant Sale Potting Day

March 25, Saturday  
Whatcom Conservation District Annual Plant Sale

WSU Whatcom Master Gardener program will host an educational booth at the sale on Saturday. Contact Beth if you would like to  work a shift at the Saturday booth (table, tent, chairs, outreach material, plant Q &A). Plant sale prep starts Tuesday March 21- Friday March 24  The prep work is under a tent, its a great way to get exposed to bareroot natives and alot of fun. 

Lynden Library Garden Workshops

(for more info contact Mill Shires or Barb King)
Gardening Workshops Presented by WSU Whatcom Extension Master Gardeners

March 4th –    1-2:30 Spring Garden Prep  Tips & tricks for a successful summer garden.  Learn about soil prep, planting temperature, pest control, and more.

April 1st        1-2:30  Veggie Gardening: Seeds & Starts  Selecting the right cultivars for your garden.  Planning, planting, timing, seeds vs starts. Presenter: 

April 15th      1-2:30 Landscaping for Native Pollinators  Pollinators need homes and food.  Learn how to create a little bit of pollinator heaven in your own backyard.
Presenter: Erin Moore

May 20th      1-2:30 Composting for the Home Learn which compost style and method best fits your home and lifestyle – hot or cold composting, bins, tumblers, worms 

Haggens Planting Day Outreach clinics
Haggen’s has offered to have the WSU Whatcom Master Gardeners participate at their popular Planting days.  This is an opportunity for us to be in a very visible location on a fun day and provide plant enthusiasts with information about the MG annual plant sale, MG clinic, composting, and general program information

The dates:

Saturday, April 8  11:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.


Saturday, April 22 11:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.


Foundation Events
Contact Barb Schickler ( or Kathleen Bander ( with ideas about future presenters, subjects for presentations, or possible field trips.


Beth Chisholm
This week we welcome the new MG trainees!! The class of 2017 will meet for their first time on February 2nd.  The 12 week course is open to all veterans who are interested in refreshing skills and information on soils, botany, and more.  Please contact Bonnie LeVan if you would like to sit in on a session, field trip or volunteer.

I am excited to welcome our newest staff member. Abbie Lindeberg is the new Master/Composter Recycler educator and community horticulture assistant.  Her first day is February 1. Abbie  comes to us as a WSU Grad and is excited to get started, she will work 15 hours a week heading up the Master Composter Recycler Program   and supporting Master gardeners. She also has 2 other jobs teaching and serving the community.     Hear more about Abbie in the March issue.  

News From the Clinic
Winter is a time of refine and refocus in our clinic.  Our clinican team met last month and discussed our successes and areas for improvement.  As you all know, the clinic is a place where we consistently serve the public and also train new master gardeners.  Clinic is open M- F 9-noon & 1-4pm.  Our team is small but dedicated volunteers, Jill Cotton, Bob Barker, Janet Bieber, Mill Shires, Jeff Dodson, Margaret Kassner are at the core.  As we gear up for spring and get ready to train the 2017 MGs we welcome veterans to assist in this process. Other MGs that we like to see in the spring include, Mary Carlson, Susan Eiger- Blum, Sue Tuxill, Breanne Bartok.  
If you are planning to volunteer at an outreach event I strongly encourage you to work a shift in clinic to refresh you knowledge of the resources at your finger tips.  This is now even easier to do thanks to Margaret Kassner and Bob Barker who donated a brand  new computer and large monitor to our clinic.  The MG foundation provided a new computer a couple years ago and this second one allows us to work more effectively side by side in clinic.  Thanks Margaret and Bob for your generosity!! 

For your Calendar...
The tradition continues to host a potluck lunch for the new class on their first day.

When:     February 2nd at Noon (Lunch served at noon, volunteers needed for set up)
What:      A potluck lunch hosted by you, master gardener veterans!
Where:    YWCA ballroom, 1026 N. Forest
Why:       To welcome the new class, share a meal and mingle with the new group
Contact:  Linda Boblett,

Dreaming of Spring
As I write this, it is barely 30 degrees outside and my garden is blanketed in snow as it has been for the past couple of weeks. My nightstand is piled high with plant and seed catalogs and I’ve already bought my ticket for the Flower & Garden Show. I am yearning for spring!

Thoughts of spring bring to mind the Master Gardener’s annual plant sale. When you are digging up or dividing your perennials or shrubs, please remember to put some aside for the plant sale which will be held May 13th, 2017 The plant sale is only successful because of plants donated by Master Gardeners and friends of the program. Please also consider volunteering on one of the many committees involved with the organization of the plant sale. 
There will be several committee chair positions open this year so I encourage you to participate. In a couple of months, I will be sending out the Sign Up Genius website so that you can volunteer for one or more of the committees. We have used Sign Up Genius for the past 2 years and found it to be an easy and effective way to keep track of all the volunteers and for volunteers to see what is available and who has signed up. I will send it by regular email as well as lyris.
 Lyn Morgan-Hill

2017 Plant Sale Coordinator

Shawn Flatery MG 2015 works with Shuksan Middle school students in the Lydia Place Garden


President’s Corner
WSU Whatcom County Master Gardener Foundation (MGF)
Harriet Arkely 

First off, a “heads up.”  The dates for our March and April Foundation Board meetings have been changed to Tuesday, March 7th, and Tuesday, April 4th.  The time and place are the same, 10 am at the Extension Office.  Please let me know if you would like a spot on the agenda.  You are also naturally welcome to just attend.  In May we will return to our regular meeting date, the first Thursday morning of each month.

Hats off to Karen Gilliam for trying out a new venue and time for our monthly Foundation Meeting.  Keep reading……

Free Plants for Your Garden:
Demonstration of Division
Downtown Co-op
(mtg. room next to the new bakery)
Thursday, March 9
12 noon – 2 pm

Perfect timing Karen!  Hope to see you and your neighbors there. 

To learn more about our local Foundation visit:  


Barb Shickler
I grew up on a farm and helped my dad go to market in Rochester NY.  We would load the truck with the corn, beans, squash and whatever else we harvest for the outdoor market. My oldest sister Susan was an amazing gardener and influenced me greatly, demonstrating how to grow your own veggies in raised beds in a city lot next to her house.  
Even in Modesto CA where we raised our three children, we packed a peach, lemon, pomegranate and apple and pear trees , with an almond tree in the back yard, and in-between we would grow our tomatoes and peppers. 

It was then the big move to the Pacific Northwest where our grandiose scheme hatched of have a large 40x 120 foot garden, half the time battling the slugs and fungus (we didn't have snails then, they came later). My love for gardening just grew and of course the desire to become a Master  Gardener, completing the course in 2012.  It took on its own life, seeing how much you could accomplish with dedicated gardeners, and so we completed the Butterfly garden near Cordata.  The passion of teaching  the 5-6th graders at Meridian Middle School was a compliment to the joy of gardening and teaching.
 And so it goes...I still feel like a newbie.

DIGGER SPADE The Case of the Color Cold, a Poem

The Case of the Color of Cold
a Poem by Digger Spade

His said his cedars may be dead
Their  winter color brownish red
He planted them in early Spring
And watered it through summer’s fling

The soil  around was a dense loam
The trees seemed happy in the gloam
Not too dense so ample light
This year added a good height

So had this everlasting cold
Caused these young tree to up and fold
Perhaps it had, this Spring will tell
If no new growth, Ah well!

But then this may not be its fate
For young red cedar cold weather hate.
Each winter when they are still youngish
The cold will turn their needles brownish
But only on the upper side.

If that’s the case, when Spring arrives
The trees will show that it’s alive
By turning green and growing well
If that doesn’t happen , Ah well

It means the long cold winter weather
Froze water transport altogether

We told him he should inspect
The fronds and stem to there detect
Splits in the stem and fronds all brown
Signs that would show the tree is gorn.

If those aren’t  there the tree should thrive
When Spring is sprung and it’s alive
A spurt of growth will add new height
As it shoots up to find more light

Digger Footnote:  The early November  cold snaps of 2015 and 2016 caught quite a lot of plants stil enjoying mild weather with sap abundant, and young cedar died when the sap froze and the  bark and cambium layers at ground level split away from the trunk.  The winter of 2016 was as cold and lasted longer but didn’t happen until much later in the year.  We will know soon whether that weather was a killer.

Bellingham Food Bank Garden Project

Bellingham Food Bank's Garden Project is gearing up for another great growing season. Wanna grow your own produce or help other's to do so?  The Garden Project is now recruiting for volunteers and garden recipients.  Each year, the program builds 25 raised bed veggie gardens for low income Bellingham residents, free of charge.  In addition to the garden bed, program participants receive free resources for 2 years, which include educational workshops, organic seeds and plant starts, basic tools, a growing guide, and a seasonal newsletter and access to a garden mentor.  The Garden Project comes to life with the collaborative efforts of volunteers, participants and staff. 

If you are interested in receiving a garden or volunteering as a garden builder or mentor, please contact us
We are also looking for writers to contribute to our seasonal newsletter the Garden Beet. For more information or to view our Growing Guide or latest newsletter issue visit: