Workshop calls all gardeners

Glynneden Garden owner Bill Stipe, points out one of his many rhododendrons in early bloom with the help of his four-month-old puppy Dane. Stipe will teach a class on plant propogation at the workshop. - Rick Levin
Glynneden Garden owner Bill Stipe, points out one of his many rhododendrons in early bloom with the help of his four-month-old puppy Dane. Stipe will teach a class on plant propogation at the workshop.
— image credit: Rick Levin

All it takes are a few days of sunny, windless weather. Add a colorful crocus here and there, the racks of primroses in front of the supermarkets, and you’re a goner. Never mind that the temperature drops into the twenties at night; you’re out in the muddy garden every chance you get. And you’re just the kind of person who should attend the 2002 Whidbey Gardening Workshop.

Set for Saturday, March 2, from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. at Coupeville Middle School, this isn’t any ordinary garden forum. This is a day dedicated to the specifics of gardening on our beloved Rock. The workshop features more than 20 gardening-related classes, vendor booths, educational displays and publications. Simultaneously with the workshop, the local chapter of the American Rhododendron Society will host a plant sale. You can even have lunch right on the premises.

Presented annually by the Island County WSU Master Gardeners, the workshop is open to the public. Pre-registration fees are $15 (seniors $12) or $20 at the door. For registration information, call the Island County WSU Cooperative Extension Office, 679-7327, or go to Those with a disability requiring special accommodations should call 679-7327 well in advance of the workshop.

New gardeners, veteran gardeners, even people who have never gotten their hands dirty will find classes to interest them at Master Gardeners’ annual workshop. More than 20 gardening classes will focus on everything from roses to compost to writing in and about your garden.

The local chapter of the American Rhododendron Society will host a plant sale. Both the workshop and the rhododendron sale are open to the public.


Getting to the root of the matter: Develop a new understanding of roots, how they grow, how they react to various incorrect plantings, how to detect plants with root troubles, and how to resolve problems after they have begun. Instructor: Dr. Rita Hummel, WSU horticulturist/researcher.

Plant propogation: Instructor is a noted leader in plant propagation and local propagator of new and unusual rhododendrons. His program provides information and includes techniques of taking cuttings, layering, dividing plants and the best time of year for specific varieties. Instructor: Bill Stipe, WSU Master Gardener, owner of Glynneden Nursery.

A wildlife watcher’s landscape: An informal presentation showing various ways to design and maintain wildlife habitat around homes and properties. Topics will include landscape layout, wildlife viewing techniques, and the placement of habitat enhancement features. Come with questions about local wildlife. Instructor: Russell Link, Washington state Department of Wildlife.

Basic orchid culture: Growing, environment, pest control and identification of orchids best suited for the novice grower. Bring problem plant for analysis. Instructor: Frank Thompson, Skagit Master Gardener, past vice president of Northwest Orchid Society and past president of Mount Baker Orchid Society.

Fruit trees: An informative class designed to help the home gardener care for their fruit trees. Learn techniques of pruning and how pruning helps keep your tree healthy and promote good crops. Instructor: Dave Thomas, Island County Master Gardener.

Rhododendrons: Selection and care of rhododendrons, including disease and insect control. Instructor: Kristi O’Donnell, manager, Meerkerk Rhododendron Gardens.

Garden design with perennials: How to develop a contoured perennial bed using affordable, locally available perennials, vines, shrubs, herbs, small trees and bulbs. Instructor: Ann McDonald, WSU Master Gardener.

Landscaping with native plants: Selection and care of landscape plants native to Whidbey Island and the Pacific Northwest. Learn which plants to plant and where they do best. Instructor: Holly Zox.

Yard wasted composting or what your garden really needs: Find out the ins and outs of making healthy compost. Instructor: Janet Hall, Waste Wise volunteer coordinator.

Dealing with noxious weeds: What are your responsibilities concerning noxious weeds and how can you meet them? Learn how to identify and deal with these troublesome plants. Instructor: Judy Feldman, Island County Master Gardener/Island County Weed Control Program coordinator.

You never have to mow a pond: Pond building basics for the home gardener. Humorous and practical guide including do’s and don’ts for the pond builder. Also, which plants you may want to include in your pond. Instructor: Vanca Lumsden, pond designer.

Water in the landscape: Creating, sustaining water in the landscape; methods to conserve and maintain your plants with preparation that uses the least water possible. Instructor: Jim O’Connor, Island County Master Gardener.

Soils: Amendments in the home garden and landscape, understanding and using composts, manures, and cover crops. Introduction to Whidbey Island major soil types, their properties, management and origins. Instructor: Craig Cogger, soil scientist, WSU Puyallup.

Drip irrigation: Learn different types of drip irrigation systems and installation techniques involved in setting a system up. Rabbitt Boyer, Island County Master Gardener.


Growing roses on Whidbey Island: Discover which varieties of roses grow best, and resist disease in the Northwest. Learn unique tips on how to have healthy, beautiful bushes. Learn where to plant, how to prune, best ways to water and feed plants. Find out how to keep disease and pests away. Instructors: Clint and Charlene Webb.

Keeping a garden journal: Learn how to start your journal, see hands-on examples. No writing experience necessary. Instructor: Mariana Graham, Master Gardener, garden columnist and a member of Garden Writers Association.

Rainwater catchment systems: Rainfall catchment, myths and reality for the home garden covering how much water the home gardener needs and how to make it available.  Instructor: Tim Pope, Designer Northwest Water Source.

Growing ferns on Whidbey Island: Covering varieties that are suitable for Whidbey growing tips and propagation. Instructor: John Mello, member of the American Fern Society.

Gardening with PVC and lumber: Erecting cloches, trellises and other ideas for increasing heat units in your garden. Grow great tomatoes, cucumbers and peppers. Instructor: Joe Pirog, Island County Master Gardener and member of Seattle Rhododendron Society.

Organic vegetable gardening: Learn to grow your vegetables organically — including soil preparation and varieties that do well on Whidbey Island. Instructor: Frank Parente, WSU Master Gardener.

Ornamental grasses in the landscape: Learn varieties, and care of ornamental grasses for this area. Learn how to use them in establishing a new landscape or enhancing the existing one. Covers focal points, ground covers and the many uses of ornamental grasses. Instructor: Doug Kirk, Kirk Gardens and Nursery.

Dealing with relentless rain and Whidbey’s cement-like soil: Ideas to help homeowners deal with miserable soil and miserable weather. Instructor:  Pete Seybert, Island County Public Works.

Preserving the harvest: Learn the basics of water bath canning, harvesting from Mother Nature, natural plant toxins, with tips on harvesting, storage, and preserving to maintain the highest quality and nutrition. Instructor: Vickie Eckstrom, Island County Master Gardener, Master Food Preserver.

The cook and the gardener: If you grow it, you should enjoy eating it too. For the new vegetable gardener and people who want to manage their current garden. Instructor: Linda Sue Schoenharl, Island County Master Gardener.

Pesticides: Integrated Pest Management. Learn how to create healthy gardens and what to do when a problem arises. Instructor: Kristi O’Donnell, garden manager of Meerkerk Gardens.

The right perennial, in the right place: Choose the right perennial for any condition be it shade, sun, dry, windy or plagued by deer. Instructor: Mary Fisher, Cultus Bay Nursery.

Is there life beyond rhodies: Explore other evergreen and deciduous shrubs to liven up landscapes. Instructor: Mary Fisher, Cultus Bay Nursery.

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