Master Gardeners … are volunteers trained by Washington State University Extension to provide science-based information to home gardeners about best gardening practices.
Our Foundation … supports the Master Gardener Program through fundraising, organizing educational events, managing demonstration gardens and more. Learn more by visiting the Who We Are page.
Congratulations New Master Gardeners!
On October 24th, a group of 23 trainees became newly certified Washington State University Master Gardeners. Students completed 60 hours of coursework, followed by 60 hours volunteering as interns, assisting the public in solving home-gardening problems, and working in demonstration gardens. Beth Chisholm, Program Coordinator and Instructor for the Whatcom County Program, described the 2022 cohort as“brave, exceptional, fun, and smart”. She said they “started the year with Covid restrictions and a lot of uncertainty, but they powered through”. In 2023, she hopes to bring back all the traditional course field trips that had to be paused due to Covid.
Want to become a Master Gardener?
You don’t need to be an expert gardener to apply, but must have a desire to give back to the community through gardening. For more detailed information about the Program, what we do, how to apply, and the schedule, click here. Instruction for the 2023 cohort will begin in January. Applications will be accepted until November 30th.
If you are interested but unable to participate in the training, please consider supporting the Master Gardener Program by making a donation here.
The annual Northwest Flower & Garden Festival is coming up – February 15-19, 2023, at the Convention Center in Seattle. Our Whatcom County Program is a contributing sponsor to the Washington State Master Gardener Program information booth. Come visit us there!
Visit the Member Area to find out about:
Special EarlyBird Discounts for MGs and Seminars you can attend at the Festival that qualify for Continuing Education Credit.
It’s been an eventful year in our Hovander Park Demonstration Gardens
Some of our accomplishments include:
- Clean-up and garden restoration after inundation by the record-breaking November 2021 floods. Click here to view photos of the flood damage and our clean-up efforts.
- The Children’s Garden added trees for shade, colorful benches, and other fun, new landscaping features.
- The Weed ID Garden moved off the underground pipeline to a new location and transformed into an above-ground garden.
- The Native Plant Garden expanded and moved to a shadier spot against a backdrop of mature native plants.
- The Dahlia Garden amazed visitors, as usual, and added a section of new plants grown from seed.
- We harvested and donated over 1500 pounds of edibles to the Ferndale Food Bank.
- We held educational workshops and led garden tours for the public.
- Many new plant varieties were added throughout the gardens, expanding ideas for home-gardeners.
- We began working with a professional Landscape Architect to envision a more cohesive overall design that creates new garden spaces, improves pathway flow and accessibility, adds informational signage, and a better staging area for workshops.
If you visit our Demonstration Gardens now, they may look a bit sparse because temperatures are dropping and the growing season is ending. We have stopped our regular work parties and are putting the gardens to bed for the winter. It is still, however, a wonderful time to visit the Park and gardens. Many perennials (Asters, Daisies, Lilies) are still flowering and some Epimediums are showing off autumn-colored foliage. When the trees and shrubs drop their leaves, interesting branching structure can be revealed, and dried plant stalks and uniquely shaped seed pods (Chinese Lanterns, Artichokes, Iris) can add visual interest to a garden. So come on down and experience the seasonal changes.
Whatcom County Master Gardeners maintain two Demonstration Gardens where you can view plant varieties, learn about sustainable gardening techniques, and experience history in two beautiful Whatcom County Parks.
Hovander Homestead Park Demonstration Gardens: Bring your family and enjoy the children’s garden, vegetable garden, pollinator garden, and much more at this lovely park in Ferndale. Learn more here.
Roeder Home Demonstration Garden: Experience this beautiful and unique urban garden at one of Bellingham’s historic landmark homes. Learn more here.
Our WSU Diagnostic Plant Clinic has trained Master Gardeners available to assist you in diagnosing a problem, identifying garden pests and plants, and solving most gardening challenges. During the regular gardening season, you can visit the WSU Extension office in person, with a sample of your plant problem. You can also visit the WSU Hortsense website, which is a great source of all kinds of plant-related information, and a good place to do your own problem-solving. Also, be sure to check our“Your Garden This Month” column below for useful tips and advice.
Please note that the WSU Whatcom County Extension office has moved to a new location!
In July of 2022, our Extension offices moved to:
600 Dupont Street, Suite A, Bellingham, WA
Typical office hours are Monday – Friday, 9am – 4pm, however the Diagnostic Plant Clinic hours are limited to one day per week during the months of December and January. Please visit the Whatcom Extension website for more information.
Master Gardener News
Save Those Plants You Are Digging Up Out of Your Gardens
We can use them in our Spring Plant Sales.
Continue to check Signup Genius here for new volunteer opportunities.
Happy 50th Anniversary to WSU’s Master Gardener Program
Back in 1973, 120 students from King and Pierce County Extension, were the first to be trained and certified as Master Gardeners. Fast forward 50 years later, and the Program is now operating in 46 states, as well as four Canadian provinces. There are now more than 3,000 Master Gardeners spreading research-based gardening knowledge in 28 of 39 Washington Counties, and serving more than a quarter of a million clients each year.
Your Garden in November
Forcing Bulbs Indoors
Now that you have finished planting spring blooming bulbs in your yard, it’s time to concentrate on enjoying the beauty of bulbs forced indoors. Many bulbs require a cold treatment of several weeks first, so if you are hoping for a Christmas display this year you should focus on amaryllis or paperwhite narcissus that do not.
CONGRATULATIONS! to the 2022 recipients of these three honored awards:
Clinician of the Year
Beth is an outstanding teacher, mentor, and administrator. Throughout the closure of the Whatcom County Master Gardener Clinic during Covid, Beth triaged phone-calls and email inquiries from the community regarding gardening issues. Beth reorganized the clinicians into teams and actively maintains a working diagnostic clinic to serve the public. Most of this work has been done behind-the-scenes, deflecting praise and credit to others.
John Van Miert Master Gardener of the Year
Given to a volunteer who has shown extraordinary dedication, service, and contributions of time, effort, and compassion to fellow Master Gardeners and the community, exceeding requirements for many years. Jeff volunteers year-round teaching classes and workshops and mentors new Master Gardeners. He is a key member of the plant clinic, training new students about clinic operations, and leading a team of diagnostic clinicians. Jeff has supported the Master Gardener Program by sharing his in-depth knowledge about plant pests and his special skills growing Bonsai.
Broken Shovel Award
Inspired by a stash of broken shovels found under the old greenhouse at Hovander, this award is given to an individual who has worked tirelessly in the demonstration gardens. Pam has managed the Children’s Story Garden for many years. In 2022, she served as co-lead and helped to renovate the severely flood-damaged garden and raised funds and donations for needed materials. Pam led and inspired a dedicated team of Master Gardener volunteers and helped to make the garden fun, educational, and better than ever for children in our community.
The Whatcom Master Gardener Foundation is grateful to all the organizations that have supported our activities. Those local businesses shown below have contributed money, goods, and/or services worth $50 or more, within the last two years.