This is What We Do

Learning Garden – Post-Fair Observations

Master Gardeners were present in the Learning Garden during the Tillamook County Fair Aug. 11-14.  Hours were generally 9:30am to at least 6:15pm.  The total number of visitors to the garden was 889.  This number is significantly fewer from other years.  However, it still indicates strong interest given the uncertainty of COVID-19.

Master Gardeners had set up several educational demonstrations in the hoop house.  They included information on pollinators, good bugs and bad bugs, season extenders, propagation and vegetable families and crop rotation.  Free seeds were available in the hoop house.

The new paver area in the shade of the tree was a popular attraction.  It was a quiet oasis in the busy Fair atmosphere and a perfect place to enjoy a Tillamook ice cream cone.  Pam’s Tiny Library in that area also attracted children who were able to borrow a book or to enjoy listening to a story as someone read it to them.  Many who visited enjoyed picking juicy blueberries and raspberries.  Admirers also commented about the colorful dahlias as well as other dedicated areas. 

Given the late start due to the pandemic, the garden was transformed from an overgrown jungle into an attractive, colorful, lush, fragrant display.   Many thanks to the Master Gardeners who participated in making this happen and the 889 folks that stopped by!

Notes from the Garden Hosts below reflect how much visitors enjoyed the garden and the variety of observations and questions received.  Most gardening questions were answered at the time or were written up and passed on for additional research and response to the client.  This is what we do!


The One-Man Band
  • Happy Friday (the 13th).  Semi-smoky, hazy, foggy, sunshine day.  First question:  Why aren’t my zinnias blooming? 
  • Nice couple from Forest Grove said the garden is beautiful!!  They admired the work (after COVID halt) to get it into the shape it is now!  Loved the Albion strawberries, took photos of many dahlias.
  • White moths are out! I use a fly swatter at home on them.
  • The One-Man Band walked by and made it so festive – we waved & he said “Make that garden grow” over the loud speaker – so fun!
  • Nurse from Springfield stopped to sit in the shade and feed his baby a bottle.  Nice visit & talk of fires, etc.
  • Hoop house was extra warm so turned on the other 2 fans.
  • Host speaking to a mother daughter about strawberries, mother’s plants aging out and then about acidic soil.
  • One gentleman came by and asked about currants and then asked to see the ‘gooseberries’, I said we have blueberries & raspberries but no gooseberries.  He said “what’s the matter with you all!” LOL
  • LOTS of people are taking photos especially of the dahlias
  • Gentleman visited from Yakima Master Gardeners.  Similar concerns about COVID and interaction with the public (missed them!)  Commiserated about the Plant Sales.  They have a separate ‘Production Garden’ dedicated to the local food bank.  Focus on strengthening their Heirloom seeds.
  • Something landed in the Shasta Daisies.  Pruned them back and made a water can daisy arrangement for the picnic table.
  • Questions:  What are the small green things growing from the leaves of the potato plants (seed pods!)  Is purple Toadflax invasive?  (VERY!)

It was our pleasure to visit with everyone who wandered through the Learning Garden. We’ll see you again next year.

~ Linda Stephenson, Camile Hickman

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