Saturday is a good day to make your way out to 569 Hanley Road in Central Point because that's the date of the Southern Oregon Research and Extension Center's open house. There's something for the entire family to enjoy, and it's all free.
Things get underway at 9 a.m., with Stan Mapolski, KMED's "Rogue Gardener," doing his two-hour radio broadcast from the extension grounds. Other activities continue until 3 p.m.
You'll be able to visit the Master Gardener program's 23 demonstration gardens, which include a rose garden, kitchen garden, wildflower garden, perennials, water-wise, culinary herbs, native plants, lavender, daylily and dahlia gardens, plus 13 more. Some are not technically gardens, as you will learn about composting, the greenhouse, propagation, the vineyards and orchards, too. Master Gardeners will be at each garden to answer questions.
The Plant Clinic will be open, so if you've got a plant problem, or a weed or insect you want identified, bring them in a plastic bag or other container.
Food will be available. You can sample a Popeye smoothie, watch salsa being made, taste several varieties of tomatoes and grapes to choose your favorites, and 4-Hers will have hot dogs and other goodies for sale.
Need to sit down for a moment? Take the hayride, which pulls you out on the acreage of the research grounds, and hear from those who work there about what is going on in agricultural research here in Jackson County.
You'll also have an opportunity to learn more about our growing small-farms operations in the Rogue Valley, as well as our expanding wine industry.
Let's not forget about activities for kids. Find out what veggie hopscotch is, learn about electronics for kids, and with our 4-H natural resources agent examine owl pellets from our local area.
Recycling is becoming more important every day, and you'll have a chance to learn more about what our communities are doing. You'll see why the open house theme, "Grounded in Green, Powered by Orange," is so appropriate.
Find out what "Strong Women" is all about. Purchase "Garden Guide for the Rogue Valley," a month-by-month guide to vegetable, berry and melon growing, written by Master Gardeners. Stop at the information table to find out how to become a Master Gardener. Observe honeybees at work (safely enclosed in glass, of course), and learn more about these interesting, intelligent insects.
You many not have realized how many areas the OSU Extension Service includes.
I'll see you there.
Carol Oneal is a past president of the OSU Jackson County Master Gardeners Association. E-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org.