OSU Hood River County Extension Central Gorge Master Gardeners attended a pruning and thinning clinic in the Japanese Heritage Garden, located at the OSU Hood River County Extension Service grounds, on Nov. 7. This learning opportunity was presented by Portland Japanese Garden curator and Japanese Heritage Garden designer, Sadafumi Uchiyama, to a group of Central Gorge Master Gardener volunteers.

This clinic taught specific techniques for pruning and thinning Enkianthus campanulatus (Red Vein and Showy Lantern), and Enkianthus cernuus (White Enkianthus). Both plants are in the Azalea family and are abundant in the Japanese Heritage Garden. The Japanese method of pruning and thinning Acer palmatum (green Japanese Maple) was also demonstrated by Uchiyama. These new skills will be used by Central Gorge Master Gardeners in maintenance of the Japanese Heritage Garden and to pass on to interested gardeners.

The Japanese Heritage Garden is one of 11 demonstration gardens that comprise The Learning Garden.

Before COVID-19, The Learning Garden was used by Central Gorge Master Gardeners as a place to present educational clinics to the public. Plans are to continue this practice after the current pandemic is no longer a threat.

Central Gorge Master Gardeners in attendance were required to go through a training class to become certified in current OSU COVID-19 safety measures prior to registering for this clinic. These safety measures were followed while on the OSU Extension grounds. The OSU Hood River County Extension remains closed to the public due to COVID-19.

Other educational gardens that are maintained by Central Gorge Master Gardeners are: Library Garden at the entrance of the Hood River County Library which demonstrates water wise gardening and drought tolerant plants, Spirit of Grace/FISH Food Bank garden where fresh produce for FISH Food Bank clients is grown, and Parkdale Memorial Garden that is maintained in conjunction with the Parkdale Garden Club and community members as a demonstration garden and gift to the community.

Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, Central Gorge Master Gardeners have remained active in serving the community by providing science based gardening advice through Virtual Plant Clinics, extension.oregonstate.edu/mg/hoodriver, and a summer webinar gardening series called Gardening to Save the World.

Recordings of these six webinars can be viewed on the Central Gorge Master Gardener YouTube channel, www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLVo9arTcOzj9_W8CIqai4PYyQcDJ8j2Sa.

Plans are being made for many more virtual community educational opportunities in 2021, and will be announced at a later date.

Virtual Plant Clinics, online classes, and webinars presented by OSU Hood River Extension Central Gorge Master Gardeners are offered to the community free of charge.

For more information on OSU Hood River Extension Central Gorge Master Gardeners, visit blogs.oregonstate.edu/cgmga.