The Land of Awakening

 “Springtime is the land awakening. The March winds are the morning yawn.”  Lewis Grizzard

 

Spring will be here soon!
Spring will be here soon!

Being a good gardener, but a wretched typist, I make doubly sure that each of my cold fingers carefully touches my keyboard so I don’t have to go back and make (yet another) correction…yes, it’s very, very cold out, but we’re still planning on opening up tomorrow as we have been getting calls, visits and messages about bulk soil and bark, fruit trees and of course, dormant spray for that last window of opportunity to spray before the buds swell on the fruit trees and shrubs…

It has been a “good” winter here for us at the nursery. All of our outdoor’s over-wintered perennials, shrubs and trees have done so well! Last fall’s temperature’s gradually fell, inducing them into a perfectly cozy dormancy. I can count the losses on one hand. Our newly planted mound fared very well too considering the snow they were under for weeks. Amazingly, the most robust looking plants coming out of the winter were all of the little 4″ lavender plants and one of the wormwood varieties, ‘Powis Castle’ doesn’t even show a hint of stress. However, the viability inside our greenhouse was another story. Plants that should have been protected were not (I simply was not there to help them, due to family health issues), some plants were watered when they should have remained dry (oops, communication error!)  We also had a winter visitor, a cute cottontail “wabbit” who helped (her/himself?) to quite a few clematis vines, groundcover plants and hardy iceplants, so while they are not dead, let’s just say they were pruned within a centimeter of survival. So, we move on!

Red truck coming out of winter
Red truck coming out of winter

When you come visit us during the first week or so, please don’t be surprised to see just a few spring flowering plants. They will be coming in small orders until we get closer to April, and then BOOM! Speaking of orders, we are very happy to find plants for you, and asking us now will certainly increase the odd’s of finding them on someone’s list, so yes, ask away!

Our first event of the season will be ‘Wake up your Garden’ this Sat. March 11th, 11am-12:30pm. Come join us to get a great start in planning out your gardening season with some basic tasks and tips for improving soil, growing ornamental plants, fruits and veggies to THRIVE in our high desert. Your questions are always welcomed! If you are new to our nursery, please come meet us & find out what we do here at Madras Garden Depot. While here, you can’t help but get inspired! This will be a FREE event… Light (warm!!) refreshments served.

Wind Flower, Pulsatilla vulgaris, always laugh's at the cold!
Wind Flower, Pulsatilla vulgaris, always laughs at the cold!

 

Our next class will be: Seed Starting’, Sat. march 18th, 11am-12:30pm …learn about the joys of growing vegetables + flowers from seeds started indoors. This class will cover which types of vegetables grow best in our area, timing seedling starts, when to harden them off and how to plant and care for your seedlings, what seeds are better ‘direct sown’ and much more. We’ll give you tips for growing both vegetable and flower seeds. Using good techniques, you’ll be successful at growing your own produce and blooms from start to finish.This will be a FREE class with a limit of 15 participants. Please RSVP by Fri. March 17th. Warm refreshments served.

Tulips and Daffodils in our demonstration bed
Yes, tulips and daffodils in Madras!

Let’s keep in touch! To keep up to date with the going’s on here at Madras Garden Depot, and in the central Oregon gardening community in general, please consider “liking” us on our Facebook page (link below, or on R sidebar). You can check the Facebook page from time-to-time to see what’s new & wonderful and even send us messages, which we often see sooner than emails sent in to our work address. You can also sign up for our newsletter ( R sidebar.)

Wild & Crazy Weather!

Today we’ve decided to abbreviate our hours for the next 2 days, opening at 11 am and closing at 2 pm Saturday and Sunday Oct 15 & 16th. 

Hopefully some of you will see this post here, or on our Facebook page, or call ahead and listen to our phone message or at last resort see the sign posted on our gate. if you really need something earlier or later call or email us and we’ll do the best we can to accommodate.

We just need a little break from this wind-whipped storm frenzy. Normal 9-5:30 hours will resume next Tuesday, Oct 18th.  Thanks for understanding!

 

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Here are a few new things at the nursery worth checking out:

*PS: Please check out our upcoming Field Trip event on Facebook, or on our Google calendar feed to the right > a ‘Mini Parkdale Fruit Loop’ coming up this Monday Oct 17th – it’s going to be a blast! 

 

Late Summer happenings….Hypertufa, again!

 

 

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Upcoming class….Come join the gang at Madras Garden Depot for the 2nd of our annual August Hypertufa container classes,  Saturday August 20th from 10am-1:30pm. Each participant  will make up to 3 hypertufa rock-like planters, which you can take home an plant up – for class participants we’re offering 20% off on 4″ succulents the day of the class!

..So, what is hypertufa ??

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12″ x 4″ Hypertufa planter with miniature Delosperma (Hardy iceplant) and an Alpine Primrose. made in 2013, it is kept outside 24/7.

Hypertufa is a recipe of cement and other inorganic & organic additives and the final product greatly mimics quarried stone. Rectangular stone troughs have long been used for planting small, hardy alpine plants, but more xeric (water-thrifty) rock garden plants such as sedums & sempervirens can also be used. Each hypertufa container is uniquely different & beautiful! They are made to withstand freezing temperatures and reside outdoors, but you can bring them inside on a sunny windowsill and plant with tropical cactus and succulents – think of what a neat Christmas gift this would be!

Our cement mixer makes mixing the recipe’s a breeze, we’ll use different tints and stains in the mixes and we have an abundant inventory of forms to use, and, if you want to bring a form along to use, feel free to do so.  Remember to wear grubby gardening clothes and please bring your own sturdy rubber gloves and be prepared to get dirty & have FUN!
Cost: $35 fee includes all materials & lunch. This is a very popular class, please rsvp to (541) 475.2068 – we have 3 more spots available!


…And from the Madras Garden Depot Dept. of Wildlife:

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‘Hilda’ the resident Praying Mantis devouring her (ex) beau one one of the Panic Grasses in our Ornamental Grass section of the nursery. Photo: Horst Meister 8.17.16


 

Seen at the nursery:

 


 

Twilight Open Garden – this Friday!

This Friday, August 5th from 6 – 8 pm there will be a free ‘Twilight Open Garden’ at the Moran residence in Yarrow, co-sponsored by the Madras Garden Depot & the Madras Garden Club. This garden is about 3 years old and was intentionally designed to display very hardy, but beautiful native and adapted ornamental plants that typically do not require as much water (and maintenance!) as a lawn. Besides using less water, the garden is maintained organically and many of the plants used also encourages and support pollinators, there is even an area set aside and dedicated just for bees and butterflies.

Looking west from Moran garden, Madras 2016
Looking west from Moran garden, Madras 2016

We have been helping the Moran’s for a few years now (well mostly Beckie, though Mike is a super-good sport hauling all the landscape rock & bark!) through every step of the development of this landscape, from the initial design and approval from the HOA, then providing on site guidance and plant selection. Along the way we somehow managed to become good friends, and Beckie, who was a certified Master Gardener before arriving in Madras, is currently the president of the Madras Garden Club.

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Yellow Pineleaf Penstemon (Penstemon pinifolius ‘Mersea Yellow’) This is a low growing, sun loving, deer resistant, EVERGREEN perennial!

Please come enjoy a warm summer evening out among your fellow gardeners from our community. There will be light refreshments available. Many of the plants will be identified with plant markers, but Karen from Madras Garden Depot will be there to lead the informal tour & answer questions at 7 pm. NOTES: If you do need to bring young children, please supervise them at all times during your visit; do not bring dogs; there are gravel pathways on some hillsides that are not accessible to the handicapped, but the garden is very easily viewed from paved sidewalks & alley that surround it on 3 sides; lastly, please do not park in the alley (there will be a sign identifying this ‘No Parking’ zone.)

- For details & directions to the Moran residence please call the Madras Garden Depot  or send us an email message.

*If you enjoy this type of event and would like to open your garden (vegetable gardens as well!) to a tour or would like to “nominate” someone you know who has an exceptional garden to share, please don’t be shy, go ahead & contact us ;)

 

Hypertufa? What??

Planted Hypertufa containers
Planted Hypertufa containers

Hey Central Oregon gardening fans! Do you like interesting , all weather planters for tabletops and patios?  Please consider joining the gang at Madras Garden Depot for our 5th annual August Hypertufa container classes, Saturday, August 6th and Saturday August 20th from 10am-1:30pm  Each participant in the class will make up to 3 hypertufa rock-like planters, which you can take home an plant up! They make perfect gifts too. We have scheduled 2 classes as some people really get hooked & want to make more containers, or bring friends and share the experience with them.
..So, just what is hypertufa you ask??

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A large hypertufa container planted with evergreens

Hypertufa is a recipe of cement and other inorganic & organic additives and the final product greatly mimics quarried stone. Rectangular stone troughs have long been used for planting small, often hardy alpine plants, but more xeric (water-thrifty) rock garden plants such as sedums & sempervirens can also be used. Each hypertufa container is uniquely different & beautiful!

Our cement mixer makes mixing the recipe’s a breeze, we have a huge inventory of forms to use, as well as different tints and stains. We will have light refreshments on hand. Do wear grubby gardening clothes and please bring your own sturdy rubber gloves. Be prepared to get dirty & have FUN!

Cost: $35 fee includes all materials & lunch.  This is a very popular class, please rsvp to 541 475-2068 or email: info@madrasgarden.com

Open Garden, Tomato tips & EATs #3 approaching

OPEN GARDEN !

On Friday June 17th from 6:30 -8 pm there will be a free ‘Open Garden’ at John & Irina Cook’s garden co-sponsored by the Madras Garden Depot & the Madras Garden Club . Light refreshments will be served and a short but informative tour will be provided at 7 pm. Come meet fellow plant lovers and enjoy the evening visting John & Irina’s amazing garden. For more information please call the Madras Garden Depot @ 541 475-2068

Photos below are from a few different Jefferson County garden tours

 

Tastier Tomatoes

“Tis the season, and lots of new tomato plants have found homes in the last several weeks.  After all the work of planting, weeding, feeding and pest control, it makes good sense to do all we can to make the most of the lovely, just-picked flavor.

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‘Sungold’ cherry tomatoes, 1st place at the 2015 Grow & Show!

Until recently, conventional wisdom said to keep tomatoes out of the refrigerator, at all costs.  The theory was that the cold would change volatile compounds that we taste as flavor.  Others said that the cold environment made the texture mealy.  Bland, mealy tomatoes are never a happy result of a summer’s gardening labors.  However, some new testing seems to indicate that very few, if any differences between the room temperature tomatoes and their chilled counterparts.

Unless you’re planning on preserving them, don’t pick (or buy) more tomatoes than you can eat in a day or two.  Whether you do refrigerate them or not, eating them as close to harvest time as possible will always be the best solution.

 

 More High Desert E.A.T.s

Join us in supporting the third farm tour event in the series focusing on agriculture in Jefferson County, the High Desert Food & Farm Alliance  Educational Agricultural Tours (E.A.T.s)

Have you ever wondered how our local libations are produced?

Up on the Agency Plains see organic dairy production at Poland’s Organic Dairy, tour Jefferson County’s only malting facility, Mecca Grade Estate Malt, check out how spirits are made at New Basin Distilling and finally travel down to the south county to learn what makes the high desert soil great for growing grapes at Maragas Winery!

Tickets are $35 with a $1.19 service fee and includes a shuttle service for the first 24 people who sign up. Click here for more info: E.A.T.s

Tour Runs from 8:30am – 1:30pm
Lunch and wine tasting is included.
This tour is recommended for ages 21 and up! 

Tour Starts/Finishes at Maragas Winery.  Free Shuttle departs Maragas Winery at 8:30

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Welcome back to green, (aka spring!)

1-1-20150427_212222On Tuesday March 1st we will re-open for the season, yay! It has been a very mild winter compared to 2014-15 and all of our plants are pushing new growth, some, like our hybrid (safe) Butterfly Bushes even getting a bit carried away with themselves so they’ll have to have a date with our pruners a little sooner than later.

So, how did your garden & landscape fare over the winter? If you haven’t done so already you can still get a dormant spray on those deciduous shrubs and trees – fruiting or ornamental. It’s also a great time to tidy up perennials by cutting back old, dead growth to within 3″-4″ of emerging new growth. If you didn’t apply any compost last fall, here is a perfect opportunity to do it before the foliage on your plants takes off. We have organic compost in bags and by the yard. Our plant based compost sold by the yard is also a perfect topdressing for your lawn. Apply about 1″ over the lawn and rake it in. You’ll be surprised what a difference it can make.Recently the days, and yes, even the nights have been over 50° but it does appear we’re headed back for some more normal mild frosts – yes, it is still February everyone!

eaglewatch1And February in Jefferson County also means it’s time to celebrate the eagles during the annual Eagle Watch Celebration weekend, coming up soon Feb. 27th & 28th from 10-4 at the Round Butte Overlook Park about 10 miles west of Madras. Madras Garden Depot has once again been asked to participate, and we’ll be set up inside a warm yurt prepared to share ideas about how to make the outside environment around your home friendlier to birds in particular and wildlife, (including pollinators) in general. So come say hello, and don’t forget, this is a very kid-friendly event!

1-eaglewatch2  Eagle Watch Celebration   

To get right into the swing of things up at the nursery, our annual seed starting class with Karen will be held on Sat. March 5th at 11 am inside our greenhouse. Learn about the joys of growing vegetables from seeds started indoors or sown directly in your garden. This class will cover which types of vegetables grow best in our area, timing seed sowing for optimum growth, when to harden them off and how to plant-out and care for your seedlings, and much more.
Karen will give you tips for growing both vegetable and flower seeds. Using the proper techniques, you will be successful at growing your own produce and blooms from start to finish.

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…And now for the Wait There’s More” message:  Every attendee who purchases seed propagation equipment or 2 or more packets of seed will receive 2 quarts of ‘Black Gold’ organic seedling mix & a sample packet of Cascade Minerals Soil Re-Mineralizer, absolutely FREE!

Brrr! ‘Tender’ plants, what to do?

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAGot “tender” plants outside you’d like to save?

There have been at least 2 “good” frosts reaching down to 25° over the past 8 days – brrrr! In plant-geek technical terms this is referred to as a “killing frost” and if you have plants that are on the tender side, i.e. dahlias, tuberous begonias or some of the less hardy gladiolas, or any annuals you’d like to overwinter indoors, now is the time to dig them up and move ‘em in.

The first freezes really doesn’t severely damage the roots and growth potential, but it  will burn back much of the excess top growth, which ‘bye this time for many plants, was looking pretty tired before the freeze. We  like to lift & save many of the fancier begonias, geraniums and hardy fuchsias that we appreciate and have spent good money for. Here’s what we do:

We bring them in the potting area, take them out of their pots, cut back all but about 1/3 of the plant, divide & root prune if called for and re-pot them in fresh potting soil, adding in only about 1/2 of the usual slow release fertilizer into the soil. After watering them in, we then either wrap them in about 3 loose layers of frost fabric and place on an upper shelf in our unheated greenhouse, or if really tender, they will travel to one of our attics with windows, to sit in a cool but sunny location for the winter. Over the next 4 1/2 months they’ll only getting a few sips of water and some pot rotation so any  growth stays more uniform.

In spring, when the night time temps are reaching just over 38°, we’ll bring them out of their winter hibernation into our greenhouse for more light and observation, only watering if really necessary. Once the new growth starts appearing, then we water and again lightly fertilize, and they’re back to being beauties again!

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Fragrant Amaryllis ‘Jewel Double’

Amaryllis!

Soon, (hopefully ‘bye Nov 14th), our Amaryllis bulbs will arrive @ the nursery! They are top size commercially available bulbs (much larger than what is generally seen at retail stores). Our Amaryllis  deliver a sensational winter display, most with 2 stems or more bearing up to 4 blooms each. The bulbs have been conditioned at the proper temperature to bloom in about 8-9 weeks after planting in your home. Our staff will coach you on how to care for them before and after blooming so you can get years of enjoyment from your Amaryllis. To differentiate ourselves from what is typically offered at a box store, we are stocking some new and unusual types of  Amaryllis, sold pre-planted in our decorative containers or just as bulbs. To help with your gifting needs, know that we can help fulfill requests for larger orders if you contact us before Nov. 23rd.

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Amaryllis ‘Rapido Red’, a new dwarf multi-stemmed variety
  • Rapido Red’ – This mighty miniature has many extravagant deep red blooms per stem, on stems about 16″. Perfect for a smaller space. It is noted as a prolific bloomer.
  • ‘Jewel Double’ – Fragrant! Exquisite is a perfect description for this variety. Its pure-white, double blooms glow with the luster of pearls and possess a rare light, sweet fragrance, unusual to Amaryllis. Stems are full size, to 26″ tall.
  • ‘La Paz’  – The narrow, ‘spidery’ petals of ‘La Paz’ have red and green stripes that lead your eye right to the center of its striking blooms. This is a new type of ‘Cybister’ Amaryllis, often produces three stems per bulb reaching about 24″.
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Amaryllis ‘La Paz’ – a new dwarf ‘Cybister’ variety

 

Coming (Holiday) attractions!

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Our Holiday offerings at the Madras Garden Depot start this weekend, Nov. 14th!

  • Holiday Wreath-making workshop: Bring your friends & hop up to the Garden Depot for a morning of fun creating your own gorgeous holiday evergreen or mixed wreath. We provide a mix of boughs, twigs, cones,  moss, vines, seasonal berries, frames, ribbon and guidance. Feel free to bring any embellishments or greenery, or add one of our glass bird ornaments to suit your taste or décor. Refreshments served. (Note: if you have them, please bring gloves, pruners and needle nose pliers). This class fills up fast, so sign up now & save the date! $30
  • Well be expanding our conifer inventory with unusual “living” Christmas trees that you can plant outside after the Holidays. Conifers such as Baby Blue, Siberian & Norway Spruce, Vanderwulf Limber and Bosnian pines and Arizona ‘Corkbark’ sub-alpine firs to name a few. In the greenhouse you will find a nice assortment of indoor flowering plants such as cool-weather loving Cyclamen and Zygo (Christmas) cactus to bring on Holiday cheer!
  • The day after Thanksgiving, Nov. 27th we’ll start our cut tree sales. Again, we’ll offer “naturally grown” Noble Fir trees (un-sheared & un-sprayed) that have been hand selected by us from 2 family farms in Oregon City & Boring. Want a tree to really show off your ornament collection? These are the real deal! Prices start at just $15.00
  • And on the wreath theme…A few handmade wreaths will be available after Nov 15th & can also be made up “just for you” by special order…please contact us soon to find out more & get “on the list”!

Please note: we are open through Dec. 24th, 9-5 Monday-Saturday & 11-2 Sunday’s, as weather permits!

 

 

 

The best time…to Fall back!

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Red Zinnia

 

Its 46° at 7:30 am and the NOAA weather display on the computer looks a bit boring: azure blue skies, dark, clear nights, all across the screen, every day the same…yeah!

Happy Fall Equinox!
For newly planted roots, this weather couldn’t get any better: cool nights, calm, warm days. Why are we mentioning this? Well, it’s time to get planting, to take advantage of this “gift”! We also want to offer you, our customers  who read this website and our newsletter, a “thank you” in the form of an additional discount during our Fall Equinox Sale which begins today. Just mention the password ‘equinox’ when you check-out and you will receive an additional 10% off your most expensive single item you are purchasing. So…if you buy 3 perennials and a tree, you will receive the additional discount on your tree purchase!  Here is a breakdown of our Fall Sale you can take advantage of:

20% off all perennials & shrubs, including evergreens and ground covers

20% off all fall annuals including pansies, violas and decorative cabbage & kale

20% off all pre-planted fall themed containers

20% off all ‘edibles': berries, grapes, rhubarb, perennial herbs etc.

25% off  our colorful pottery & statuary, including fountains!

25% off all “imported” trees, deciduous & evergreen (trees we did not pot up from bare root stock)

30% off all *our* potted deciduous & fruit trees (trees we planted from bare root this year)

50% off rack for “ugly duckling” plants that are still viable but need a little TLC

75% off all annuals (yes, you can overwinter that begonia, geranium or dahlia you love & we’ll tell you how!)

So, what’s “hot” in the nursery right now? For starters, we just updated our supply of fall color which includes annual pansies, violas and decorative kales and cabbages. The perennial asters and mums are really looking good We have several newer varieties of both, varieties that don’t get so tall and leggy so you won’t have to remember to cut them back earlier in the season.

Our amazing staff have potted up some spectacular fall planters composed of both annuals and perennials that should carry right into Thanksgiving, making your entry areas really pretty.


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 Upcoming event:  Customer Appreciation Day, October 3rd!

Please join us on Sat. October 3rd from 10 am until 3 pm for:

  • A fall wreath demo at 10:30… how to make a seasonal wreath from what we have right in our own yards
  • Free hot dogs with all the fixins’ plus lemonade, from noon until 2 pm
  • How do you plant that tree or shrub? A class in BMP’s (best management practices) for successful planting, from 1-2 pm
  • Door prizes including free plants and gift cards
  • A fall gardening round-table discussion from 2-3 pm: how did your garden grow & how to prepare it for next yearacorn+oak+vintage+image+graphicsfairy002b

Dig it in, pot it up

Apologies for not updating our website newsletter for over 2 weeks. It isn’t only the weather that has been brisk lately – business has picked up and we are in “go” mode at the Depot: helping customers, planting seeds & shifting up seedlings, participating at the master Gardener spring seminar in Redmond, bringing in more good plants from our vendors and then caring for it ALL! This of course has left an energy deficit whereby our brain cell’s are clearly seeking sleep, not more computer time…

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Spring lettuces in the coldframe

Here’s an image that will inspire you to sow some lettuce seeds. ‘Spreckles’ and Red Romaine, happily growing side by side in the cold frame. The ‘Spreckles’ lettuce is sometimes referred to as”deer-tongue” lettuce, and it re-seeded itself with abandon out in the veggie garden so we transplanted a few seedlings into the cold frame to speed up growth and in under 2 weeks we’re ready for the first fresh salad! (We carry the Botanical Interests seeds for these 2 varieties as well as some yummy salad blends.)

Now onto some fragrant photos…clockwise from left, these perennial Dianthus are hands down our fragrant favorites in the greenhouse this week. Next, a ‘Lemon Lights’ hardy azalea. It is softly fragrant and because these Azaleas are hardy to zone 4, with a little extra mulching they’ll do even better. The sweet little pink flowers on the ‘Cocodile’ ivy geranium are the icing on the cake. The leaves are really unusual. They are available in a 4″ size and we also have some growing-on in Down-Under Pots that will be ready next week (a great Mother’s Day gift, hint, hint!) The last image is of  some ‘Daddy’ petunias (don’t ask us, we didn’t name them!) but they are really fragrant (especially the dark blue one.) These are available in 4 packs along with many other colors.

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Container and hanging basket alert!

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Getting ready for the Planting Party!

Get a head start on summer at our annual Container Planting Party in our greenhouse, Sat. May 2nd from 11am -2pm. Bring your baskets, pots or whatever containers you love and we’ll provide our special container mix and if needed, we’ll provide some design guidance as well. Plant up your containers using gorgeous annuals from our greenhouse. The cost is the cost of the plants and any containers you buy from us (if you need them). Remember this is a party, so bring a friend! Light refreshments provided. PLEASE RSVP by calling 541 475-2068 to reserve a space at the potting table!