Will My Tree Blow Over?

It’s not unusual to find an assortment of large trees in residential landscapes throughout our coastal region.  Many of these trees are native to the area and undoubtedly not much thought was given to their eventual size when they were planted. As a result, towering one-hundred foot plus Douglas firs, Western Red Cedars and gigantic big leaf maples along with other tree species often dominate the garden landscape.  With meteorologists predicting a stormy winter, the question is often asked, just how safe are these huge trees?  Is there a chance they could lose major branches or even blow over?
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Pinyuh Memorial Cactus Bed Dedication July 18

Dedication Plaque at Pinyuh Cactus Bed in Bellevue Demonstration Garden

Dedication Plaque for Pinyuh Cactus Bed

George Pinyuh was the WSU Regional Extension Agent for Urban and Suburban Horticulture for both King and Pierce County from July 1976 until 1994. He was involved in founding the King County Master Gardeners Bellevue Urban Demonstration Garden, better known as “the Demo Garden.” George and Larry Davis designed and planted a small cactus bed on the west slope of the Demo Garden. After George’s death in 2013, Larry, along with others who had worked with George in the Demo Garden, decided to do something meaningful in his memory at the Demo Garden. The George Pinyuh Memorial Cactus Bed at Bellevue Demonstration Garden was dedicated Saturday, July 18, at the site of the garden.

Read more about the history of the George Pinyuh Memorial Cactus Bed.

Worms In Your Raspberries?

This year that little worm may be the larvae for the Spotted Wing Drosophila (SWD) (aka Cherry Vinegar fly). The fly has been known to the area since 2009, and is common in many areas around the country now. The SWD attacks cherries, raspberries, blackberries, blueberries, strawberries, plums, grapes and nectarines. Breeding sites are found where there is overripe or fallen fruit. Fruits become infected near harvest time (that’s blueberries and raspberries now).

Find out more about SWD in the WSU Factsheet FS049E. WSU also has information about damage, monitoring and management in their Orchard Pest Management pages.

See videos for Spotted Wing Drosophila on the Oregon State University site.

Spring into the Garden

And now the fun begins.  In King County, we wait impatiently for spring, even though our winters are relatively mild compared to the rest of the country.  The bulbs you planted last fall are blooming, and the flowering plum and cherry trees put on a wonderful show.  Incessant rain may keep us indoors; fortunately there are some outdoor and indoor activities that will get you started.


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President’s Message April 2015

National Volunteer Week 2015Volunteer Appreciation Week is a great time to acknowledge our incredible Master Gardener volunteers in King County. Our Master Gardeners gave over 22,000 hours in 2014, serving nearly 50,000 King County residents at the plant clinics, gardens, speaking events and outreach programs.

Thank you for not just doing, but doing more, and doing it with creativity and expertise. Congratulations as we celebrate our 42nd year in the WSU Extension program, a national program that began right here in King County!

Points of Light has been celebrating National Volunteer Appreciation Week since 1974. This week is about inspiring, recognizing and encouraging people to seek out imaginative ways to engage their communities.

Thank you, Master Gardeners, for making such a big difference in our community and our county.

Dave Hanower, President
Master Gardener Foundation of King County

The Garden in Winter

Just when you thought you could relax and pore through all those garden catalogs that have arrived, you realize that your yard and garden still need your attention. We’ll look at those catalogs later.

The winter months—January, February, and March—offer many opportunities to get outside. So dress warmly, put on your boots, and tackle these winter gardening tasks.

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Cesar Chavez Demo Garden Renewed!

On June 28th, 2014, the Cesar Chavez Demonstration Garden (CCDG) will have a Grand Opening of its newly remodeled space. The following history of the CCDG is offered by the current CCDG MG Garden Lead, Mick Duggan.

Cesar Chavez Demo Garden 2014

View of the new raised beds in Spring 2014

The Cesar Chavez Demonstration Garden was established in 1985, funded by the federal Seattle Food Garden Project. The Project’s goal was to have Seattle, together with 16 other cities, eliminate hunger through back yard food garden education. Today this legacy continues at CCDG with free classes in research-based organic gardening. The new and enlarged garden and greenhouse provide opportunities throughout the summer for volunteer groups to help with the garden and grounds. But all this has taken time and funding, and the story is still being told. Here are the highlights of the last few years and the recent garden redesign project.

The Building of a Garden for the Community

In 2000 a US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) grant provided funds to enlarge the CCDG garden. The backyard-scaled garden served as an outdoor classroom for research-based, organic gardening education whose programs encouraged improved nutrition, self-sufficiency, service learning and sound environmental stewardship for the multi-ethnic population of Beacon Hill. CCDG was an integral part of El Centro de la Raza’s (El Centro) after school Child and Youth Programs, the Food Bank, the La Cocina Popular Hot Meal program and services for veterans.

CCDG 2006 Gate with Hedgerow

View from East Entrance to hedgerow in 2006

Prior to 2006, CCDG was solely volunteer-driven, managed by the WSU Master Gardener (MG) and the Master Urban Food Gardener (MUG) volunteer programs. These volunteers provided free gardening classes, designed and managed the garden, and supervised gardening service learning projects. The garden included a children’s garden, vegetable garden with enabling beds, container gardens, composting demonstration area, kitchen herb gardens, and a native hedgerow. The garden was maintained with the invaluable help of the community and El Centro volunteers, too. The Master Gardener Foundation of King County (MGFKC), Seattle area businesses and individual donations provided funding for garden expenses.

At that time the free, monthly organic gardening food classes and bi-monthly work parties would begin in April and continue through October. Each work party session focused on one of the special projects or general garden maintenance.

MUG eventually dropped its involvement with CCDG, and, by 2006, the MG Garden Lead had stepped down. At that time, Elaine Anderson, the acting King County MG Coordinator, stepped in to help direct the remaining group of MG volunteers at the garden. At the end of summer in 2006, Elaine directed the MG volunteers to create a plan for continuing management of the garden and to identify its new leadership. Mick Duggan, a graduate of the 2006 class of King County Master Gardeners and volunteer at CCDG, agreed to take on the role of Garden Lead for the following year, a role he continues in 2014.

Major Changes to the Garden

For the visitor the view into the garden is the main attraction and helps to create conversations about the garden. El Centro de la Raza, a nonprofit focused on social service programs, did not have funds for maintenance of the grounds, but their relationships with the CCDG MG’s and community volunteer groups made the beginning of many of the renovation projects possible.

CCDG 2007 East Entrance

View from street near East Entrance in 2007

Over time the garden hedgerow, along with other vegetation, had grown and blocked the view into the garden. Convinced that the garden needed to be more visible to encourage visitors, the hedgerow was moved to a different location. The overgrown grape was pruned, and compost bins were relocated to improve the views into the garden from the street.

In 2012 El Centro de la Raza started a project with Seattle Parks to renovate the grounds on the east side of the property. The goal was to give the playground area a dual purpose, use by El Centro’s Child Development Center and use by the neighborhood as a park-like area when not in use by the Center. Because of their existing relationship, El Centro looked to the MGs for advice and included them in the redesign of the CCDG space.

CCDG 2013 East Entrance

View from East Entrance during construction in 2013

The CCDG redesign project required the removal of all the vegetation, equipment and structures on the site. In November 2012, many MG volunteers came, braved the cold and rain, to dig, pot, and find temporary storage for the garden plants. Local merchants loaned out space to house the potted materials and equipment during reconstruction. Just after Christmas 2012, the final trees and shrubs were removed from the site to allow for the start of construction. Construction did not actually begin until September 2013. Only a Quince tree and an old grape remained.

CCDG 2013 Quince at East Entrance

Quince along the street was saved

Without a garden during the summer of 2012, El Centro de la Raza, United Way of King County and CCDG MG’s became involved with the Rainer Valley Eats program. Grant funds enabled a series of free gardening education classes to be offered to the public each month on topics of seasonal interest, from vegetables to roses and pests to composting. Educational materials were also provided. Classes were held the 2nd Saturday of each month. Funding was also provided for the construction of a greenhouse for MG continuing education and for growing inexpensive vegetable starts for the local community. The greenhouse was purchased in March 2013, but construction was put on hold because the greenhouse location was part of the new garden design. When the park project was nearing completion in December 2013, the greenhouse was built.

CCDG 2014 New Main Gate

New East Entrance with gates

In January 2014, the construction fencing was removed, and the new fencing and gates were installed. Starting in mid-March 2014, MG’s began returning the plant materials taken off-site in 2012. Currently the new irrigation system is being installed, and construction of the relocated herb bed has begun. A small plant sale was held this spring even though the greenhouse heating and fans are yet to be connected.

City Fruit has recently relocated their office inside El Centro de la Raza. They helped put barriers on the apples in the fruit orchard located on the east side of the block.

The Future is Here

The Master Gardeners are always looking for volunteers interested in working with fruit trees shrubs and nut trees. There are opportunities throughout the year for community volunteer groups to help with the garden and grounds. Education classes will be offered again to meet the neighborhood requests. Topics of interest are invited.

CCDG-2014 Eastside Street View

Welcome to the Cesar Chavez Demonstration Garden in 2014

CCDG’s fresh vegetables and herbs are donated to El Centro’s Food Bank or to the free Hot Meal program. The garden also serves as a beautiful and inspirational space for El Centro staff and clients, and the Beacon Hill community. It had been a long journey for the CCDG MG volunteers, and there is still plenty to do.

It is a joy to work in the new garden and listen to all the public comment on and complement what they are seeing. This is a great opportunity to provide education and have the draw of our new digs. Come check us out!”


— Mick Duggan



Many Reasons to Garden

So many reasons to garden: I’m struck this summer by the number of reasons people garden. Sometime in the last year I gave a division of Echinops ritro to my friend and fellow MG, Katie, who has two small children. She just told me how much she’s enjoying watching it bloom this summer.

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Green Beans Won’t Sprout?

Listen to the One-Minute Gardener

Gardening tips from OSU Extension’s radio archive. Turn on your speakers and listen to MG Anna Torgersen.

Problems? Download the lastest version of Window Media Player for free. Windows Mmedia Player Download

The Summer Garden

The Livin’ can be Easy in Summertime

Our lawns and gardens in King County are finally waking up after a spring that was so much cooler and wetter than normal. However, summer is usually a period of drought so it behooves us to consider water use and conservation in this beautiful region of ours. Just as it takes a village to raise a child, it takes all of us in our village, whatever the size, to preserve the quality of the water all around us.

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