November weather has definitely arrived and we've bumped our clocks back an hour, and for many of us this means shifting our main focus to looking inward rather than outward. 
Our newsletter topics naturally went in that same direction, beginning with Jessi Bloom's upcoming presentation about permaculture -- gardening in tune with the land and in ways that will benefit other critters who call our gardens "home." Her program on Wednesday will not be recorded, so please try to attend the virtual presentation at 10:30 am. 

Perri's book review gets us thinking about the possibility that being around trees in the forest may literally be beneficial to our health and well-being. Laura's piece about rosemary celebrates the myriad potentials of this aromatic herb that many of us have close at hand in our gardens.
We celebrate our blessings in "thanks"-giving, and Helen has given us some mouth-watering recipes to enjoy with family and friends. We also reflect on the reciprocity of showing respect and gratitude in return for the bounty we gather from our gardens and the surrounding lands in the responsible harvest of foods and the caring for the tools we use. We welcome new and returning members, and we feel ourselves easing into the slower pace of the cooler months.
Save a little energy for a chuckle at the end of the newsletter where we reveal the fate of last month's Garden Club logo-carved jack-o-lantern!
Enjoy! Relax! and Be Well!
Nita Couchman, President
NOVEMBER 10 @ 10:30 am
November 10 @ 10:30am
via ZOOM

The Orcas Island Garden Club
and the Lopez Island Garden Club
present . . .



This meeting will NOT be recorded.
Jessi will discuss applying the principles of permaculture to creating gardens that support increased resilience.

Jessi Bloom is the author or co-author of three books, including the best-selling Practical Permaculture (Timber Press 2015). She co-owns NW Bloom EcoLogical Services ( and is an award-winning ecological landscape designer. She is known as an innovator and leader in the field of permaculture, sustainable landscape design, construction and land management. Recognition and accolades for her work include awards from the Washington State Department of Ecology, the American Horticultural Society, Pacific Horticulture magazine, and Sunset magazine.

Jessi has built many popular display gardens at the Northwest Flower and Garden Show, winning Gold medals. She lives near Seattle with her three kids on their permaculture homestead, which is full of functional gardens and rescue animals.

Did you remember to renew your OIGC membership?

Would you like to become a member?

It's easy! You can print a membership form from the button below. Fill in the form and mail it with your check to OIGC Membership, P.O. Box 452, Eastsound, WA 98245. can go to our website at and fill in the online form and pay your membership fees through PayPal.

As an added bonus, we'll continue entering names of new and renewing members in our monthly raffle drawing.

If you have any questions or comments, you can email:
Perri at OR Karen at
Individual: $25/year
Couple: $35/year
Members as of Oct. 15 --
Renewals (Oct. 16 - 31) --
New members (Oct. 16 - 31) --
TOTAL MEMBERS - Oct. 15 --
. . . . .


Jessi Bloom and
Dave Boehnlein

Donated by Darvill's Bookstore
where you'll find other books like this

. . . . .


Fatsia japonica

Driftwood Nursery
Send in your membership renewal now
to be eligible for next month's great raffle prizes.
DECEMBER PROGRAM - December 8 at 10:30 am


Using Foraged and Dried Material

December 8, 2021 @ 10:30 am
via Zoom
Emmy Gran will demonstrate using locally foraged and dried materials,
as well as Evergreen branches, to create a seasonal wreath.

This presentation is co-sponsored by the Orcas Island Garden Club
and the Lopez Island Garden Club and will be recorded. 

Emmy Gran is the farmer-florist owner of Fabled Flora-- -- on Orcas Island. Fabled Flora is committed to stewarding the land through no-till and regenerative farming practices. Robin Wall Kimmerer’s statement -- “To love a place is not enough. We must find ways to heal it.” -- guides Emmy’s work. Emmy's arrangements grace island weddings and are available at Lum's Farm Stand from July through October.
Upcoming OIGC Virtual Programs
Nov. 10, 2021 ~ Jessi Bloom
Dec. 8, 2021 ~ Emmy Gran
Jan. 19, 2022 ~ Carol Miles
Feb. 16, 2022 ~ Jennifer Harris
Mar. 16, 2022 ~ Emily Aring
Apr. 20, 2022 ~ Margaret Payne
May 18, 2022 ~ Linda Gilkeson
June 25 & 26 ~ GARDEN TOUR
2022 Whidbey Gardening Workshop -- March 4, 5 & 6
Mark your calendars for another horticultural learning opportunity. Registration opens in early January, 2022. Go to for more information.
Rosmarinus officinalis is one of my favorite fragrant herbs. Rosemary comes from the word Rosmarinus which is Latin for "dew of the sea” referencing that it thrives best when growing near the ocean. That would be us, Orcas! Originating from the Mediterranean, now known world-wide for both its culinary and medicinal benefits, rosemary has a lovely distinctive smell and appearance.  I personally can’t walk by a bush without following the urge to reach out and crush a sprig between my fingers and breathe in the familiar and wonderful aroma.

Historically, rosemary has long been considered an herb associated with remembrance, love and friendship. You may recall the song, Scarborough Fair by Simon & Garfunkel, that warmly references the connection surrounding this special herb. 
“Are you going to Scarborough Fair? Parsley, sage, rosemary, and thyme.
Remember me to the one who lives there. She once was a true love of mine.” 
Over the years, many cultures have incorporated rosemary in life events. Embraced for its symbolic meaning, brides used this herb in arrangements to signify the memory of the woman she had been prior to her wedding. Likewise, rosemary has been included in burial rites to recognize memories of loved ones. Rosemary was once used to ward off evil spirits and nightmares. During the Black Plague, it was even believed that carrying rosemary would protect against sickness. 

Though it was eventually found that the herb would do little to prevent illness, modern research has confirmed its antibacterial, antiviral, and antioxidant abilities.  Other studies have shown that rosemary can potentially help improve gut health, boost memory, and improve mood. It can also reduce inflammation, relieve pain, and protect the immune system. In addition, rosemary can help protect against eye degeneration, stimulate circulation, detoxify the body, and heal many skin conditions.

Rosemary extract oil also has an application as a natural bug repellent for humans and crops. Research shows that a concentrated spray, featuring rosemary oil and distilled water, reduced spider mite infestation on plants by as much as 50-percent, without doing any damage to the plants. Also, studies show that distilled water combined with a 12-percent solution of rosemary extract oil is effective at keeping mosquitos away.
Pictured to the right is my herb spiral with my rosemary prominently in the top center. With the holidays right around the corner, this fresh herb is a favorite addition to all things Thanksgiving but unfortunately, you’ll get less benefit while cooking because the high temperatures destroy the active polyphenols and other benefits they offer.

If you want to consume rosemary for a health effect, supplements or extract oils will provide better results. Before you add rosemary extract to your diet or supplement protocol, make sure you consult with your doctor for advice.

Laura Walker, an aspiring herbalist
Disclaimer ~ While the Orcas Island Garden Club shares information about using essential oils, natural oils, and herbs, these items are not regulated by the FDA. The content included in these monthly medicinal features are for those who are looking for alternative ways to lead a more natural lifestyle. You must not rely on the information in these articles as an alternative to medical advice from your doctor, healthcare provider, or other professional.

"I am excited to join the Garden Club. Thanks to Perri for asking me and reminding me!

Both of my grandmothers gardened -- one in Missouri and one in Virginia. One of my favorite grandmother memories was when my grandma loosened the soil with a fork. I plant purple petunias every year thinking of her.

We had a huge garden in Missouri where tomatoes, corn, iris, okra and melons grow easily. Northwest gardening was a new adventure but where you could grow greens of all kinds year round! I now have a raised bed garden that is fenced, growing veggies and flowers. On our property, we have about 100 rhodies, 1000 daffodils, a hellebore garden, native trees and lovely red currants!

I love gathering flowers and giving them away!"

Perri says: I've been the happy recipient of Suzanne's lovely floral arrangements. Dahlias, cosmos, roses (and rose hips!), saliva, alyssum, plus swiss chard, rosemary... Her creativity keeps surprising me AND the fact that this was delivered at the end of October??? Wow!!!!

Kathy says:
I joined the GC a year ago. I have enjoyed a couple of in-person meetings that I attended as a guest before the pandemic and the Zoom meetings this past year. I have done most of my gardening in containers on my deck because we have a small yard with compacted soil. With a bad back, I can't dig in the compacted soil so containers are suitable. 
My favorite plants are roses, fuchsias, and tomatoes.
In the winter I play with my house plants and try to start basil, fuchsias, and green onions as cuttings. I planted garlic in October in a large container.

Everything in the photos was grown in containers!
Nita Couchman

As we celebrate the harvest from our gardens during the fall months, these words from Robin Wall Kimmerer's book Braiding Sweetgrass came to mind as a reminder that as gardeners and gatherers enjoying the bounty of the earth, the food tastes better with a generous garnish of respect and gratitude.

"The guidelines for the Honorable Harvest are not written down, or even consistently spoken of as a whole--they are reinforced in small acts of daily life. But if you were to list them, they might look something like this:

  • Know the ways of the ones who take care of you, so that you may take care of them.
  • Introduce yourself. Be accountable as the one who comes asking for life.
  • Ask permission before taking. Abide by the answer.
  • Never take the first. Never take the last.
  • Take only what you need.
  • Take only that which is given.
  • Never take more than half. Leave some for others.
  • Harvest in a way that minimizes harm.
  • Use it respectfully. Never waste what you have taken.
  • Share.
  • Give thanks for what you have been given.
  • Give a gift, in reciprocity for what you have taken.
  • Sustain the ones who sustain you and the earth will last forever."

from BRAIDING SWEETGRASS: Indigenous wisdom, scientific knowledge, and the teachings of the plants, by Robin Wall Kimmerer, Milkweed Editions, 2013, p.183.
Helen Huber
My mom was a really great cook. Fabulous family meals. Amazing dinner parties. Which you would never have known if you had eaten her Thanksgiving turkey. The Butterball had a little pop-up timer/button that would pop out just as the turkey reached a sawdust-like consistency. My sister, brother, dad, and I would mix what should have been turkey with gravy, to make a paste which mixed well with mashed potatoes if you ate quickly. Thank goodness for the cranberry sauce which added another, much needed, element of moistness which basically saved our meal year after year. Those days (and my mom) have passed, but Thanksgiving remains my favorite holiday.

Yes, COVID-19 put a damper on the extended festivities, but that 2020 Thanksgiving meal became another memory and added to my repertoire of recipes. I embrace the entire Thanksgiving process, so recipe testing, planning, prepping, and cooking all-the-day remains a yearly delight. My husband and I ate, repurposed, and froze stock and leftovers for a reminiscent walk through our teeny-tiny Thanksgiving for two. And no matter how few or many folks share your Thanksgiving joy, goodness is sure to come. This year, I offer my version of upgraded classics for what my sons called (and avoided) “things that grow” -- vegetables, spices, fruits and nuts. We made it through another year and there’s plenty to be thankful for. First on my list is my digital meat thermometer which allows me to consistently serve a moist, properly cooked turkey, no button needed. As always, adapt and make it your own, but please save your sawdust for the wood shop.

-Helen Huber, Thanksgiving aficionado
Click on the buttons below for the RECIPES !
Perri Gibbons
I'm not going to lie. Summer is hands down my favorite time. But then along come fall and winter, and I find myself appreciating their special qualities too. The changing seasons give me time to rest and reflect since I'm not so busy tending my garden. I wander the woods and am humbled by its casual beauty: the greenness of the world seems to pulse around me, the ground gives slightly where I walk, the air muffles sound. Nature does more than I could ever do, without seeming to try. 
The Japanese have a beautiful word, shinrin-yoku , which means forest bathing or immersing oneself in the forest and, yes, there's a book for that at the Orcas Library Forest Bathing: How Trees Can Help You Find Health and Happiness, by Dr Qing Li, is a primer on how to practice forest medicine. Qing Li shares the science supporting the healing power of trees and the book is filled with lovely photographs. Interestingly, it seems there is benefit to just looking at trees through the window or in photographs. I loved the descriptions of Japanese culture and landscape, but the book is inclusive of forests around the world. Forty of the most beautiful World forests show that Humboldt Redwoods, CA and Salmon-Challis in Idaho are the closest to us. I  learned that Seattle is ranked 5th in cities with the most green space, with Vancouver, Canada second, at almost 26%. But, aren't we blessed on Orcas just to take a stroll almost anywhere on the island and quickly become immersed in nature? 
OIGC TOTE BAGS FOR SALE -- only $20 each
Proud to belong to the
Orcas Island Garden Club ???
Who wouldn't be ???

Spread the word as you carry around your very own totebag --- or buy bags as gifts for your gardener friends far and near.
  • sturdy 12 oz. canvas
  • 14" H x 18" W w/huge 7" gusset
  • Snap closure at top
  • Front pocket with OIGC logo
  • Cotton-bound inner seams
  • 22" handle

This is a great time of year to take inventory of your garden tools and give them some TLC after the busy summer season. Time spent now cleaning and sharpening and oiling will mean that when spring rolls around, your garden tools will be ready to go back to work.
Clean the dirt and rust off your rakes, shovels, garden forks, trowels, and other hand tools. You can use a stiff brush, fine sandpaper or steel wool depending on the condition of your tools.

Sharpen any dull tools. File down the nicks. Be sure to wear gloves so you don't cut yourself.
Check those wooden handles. Do they have cracks or splinters? Smooth out any rough spots with an emery cloth or a piece of sandpaper, and then rub on a thin coat of linseed oil. Next spring your hands will hum with joy as they grab that lovely wood.

Apply a lubricant (light oil or something like WD-40) on the metal parts of tools before hanging them safely out of the weather.

If you prefer, you can keep small hand tools stashed in a bucket of sand mixed with oil to help guard against rust.
Time spent now taking care of your tools will make them last longer and will mean that when spring fever hits, you'll be ready to hit the ground running.
Please take this VERY short and simple survey and let us know how YOU put your gardens to bed for the Fall/Winter. Thank you. We'll share the results in next month's newsletter.
What Are Your Fall Priorities -- October Survey Results:

Our readers were evenly divided between those who prioritize planting spring or garlic bulbs and those who spread mulch or cover. Plus, a few fun write-in votes --

  •          Turn, sift, and spread compost
  •          Talk to all my plants and tell them it's gonna be ok
  •          Eat Harvest 

Going ................................ Going ........................... GONE ! ! !



Nita Couchman
Lene Symes
Perri Gibbons
Karen Hiller
Sally Hodson
Laura Walker 
Margaret Payne
Tony Suruda
Helen Huber

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Orcas Island Garden Club
P. O. Box 452
Eastsound, WA 98245

Newsletter Editors: Nita Couchman & Laura Walker