The Skagit County Master Gardener Foundation supports and promotes the following
WSU Skagit County

Master Gardener Programs:

• Discovery Garden to inspire and educate the public

• Weekly Plant Clinics in Anacortes and Burlington to diagnose plant problems and provide assistance with plants, trees, landscaping and gardens including pest and disease identification

• Monthly Ask a Master Gardener Booth at the Mt. Vernon, Sedro-Woolley and Concrete Farmers Markets to provide assistance with plants, trees, landscaping, and gardens.

• Monthly Know & Grow gardening lectures

• Mentors for Rain Gardens and Community Gardens

DIG-IT! elementary school program

• Skagit Master Gardener Plant Fair, held annually the Saturday of “Mother’s Day Weekend”

• Speakers for events and community groups

Check out our printable Resources Guide

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Discovery Garden

Located at the WSU Northwestern Washington Research and Extension Center (NWREC)

16650 State Route 536; Mount Vernon, WA

Discovery Garden Entrance

Open free to the public from dawn to dusk seven days a week.

Know & Grow Lecture Series

Tuesday, March 17, 1:00 – 2:30 PM

Protect and Support Your Plants

Learn how to build attractive wire cages to protect and support plants. Master Gardener Sandra Swarbrick will also share other examples of plant supports that you could build yourself for plants in your landscape and vegetable garden. Giving plants protection from pests and support will help them to grow better.

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WSU Skagit County Extension Master Gardener Program

The WSU Skagit County Extension Master Gardener Program trains volunteers to be effective community educators in gardening and environmental stewardship.

WSU Skagit County Extension Plant Clinics

Somethin’ buggin’ ya?   Come to one of our clinics or farmers market booths

Find out more and check out the Master Gardeners favorite online references

Discovery Garden Path Project

This year when you visit the Discovery Gardens, you will benefit from new Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) accessible paths winding the way through splendid examples of Pacific Northwest gardening.  In under two years, the Skagit County Master Gardeners have added over 600 feet of 4-foot-wide gravel walkways to the 2 1/2 acre demonstration garden in Mount Vernon.  Budget permitting, another 500 feet of paths are planned in 2020 to complete the project.

Garden Path Improvements

Plans for the demonstration garden started in 1994 converting a tract of farmland into what is now a lush green oasis adjacent to the Memorial Highway.  Much of the garden is subject to flooding during periods of heavy rainfall and sections of the garden become inaccessible both to the public and the Master Gardeners maintaining the grounds.  Some plants and trees have been lost over the years due to standing water.  In 2012, Brian Wolfe and Tricor donated their labor to correct the worst of the storm water drainage problems.  They installed multiple drains and a pipe system from the Plant House to the ditch along Memorial Highway north of the Rose Garden.

Garden Drain

In 2018, the Master Gardeners had a vision to improve garden accessability and extend the drainage system, helping both plants and people.  The designs improved access to the garden year-round for people with limited mobility while enhancing off-season maintenance access with wheelbarrows and carts.  A final benefit is reduced weeding, allowing gardeners to spend more time in the gardens and less on the paths.

The planning team prioritized which paths could be improved by balancing the need for access against maintaining natural areas in the gardens.  The decision to use a semi-permeable material for the paths benefits the soil while offering a good compromise in cost, functionality, and aesthetics.  Drains were incorporated into the design, and the paths now wind through the garden with defined edges and decorative drain covers.  The project proves that gravel walkways don’t have to be ugly.

Master Gardeners initially planned to hire a contractor to complete the project; however, when bids came in at $35-40K, they decided to do the heavy lifting themselves as a volunteer project.  Current expenditures to complete 60% of the paths stand at $5,320.  The Discovery Garden is funded by proceeds from the WSU Skagit County Master Gardener Plant Fair held annually on the Saturday of Mother’s Day weekend at the county fairgrounds.  This year an additional $1,109 was received through a grant from Skagit County.  The path planning and project oversight are a labor of love by husband and wife team, Bill and Janine Prichard.  Dozens of Master Gardeners have volunteered their labor to make the project a reality.  The final stage of the project is planned for 2020.