Whether renovating a local hospital memorial or helping middle school children learn to plant vegetables, Clatsop County Master Gardeners have been busy spreading the dirt and the gardening word.

Recent MG projects have included making over the Columbia Memorial Hospital Memorial Garden, a job that Master Gardener June Lake undertook.

Another group of Master Gardeners has been working with students involved in the Astoria School District's Connections After School Program. The Connections Youth Gardening Program includes 13 students who have been hard at work at the Clatsop County Fairgrounds Demonstration Garden.

Starting Sunday, Master Gardeners will hold Plant Clinics throughout the North Coast. Local gardeners are invited to come to the volunteer staffed booths with their garden questions and plant identification challenges. The first clinic will be held from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Astoria Sunday Market downtown.

"This is a great opportunity for visitors to get their questions answered while shopping at the market," says OSU Extension Agent Justin Williams.

The Father's Day clinic includes gardening demonstrations. Booth volunteers ask that you bring plant samples in bags. Also, it's helpful if you can tell the volunteers about the plant's care and environment.

Additional plant clinics are scheduled for June 29 (the Carousel Mall, Seaside); July 7 (Astoria Sunday Market); July 20 ((Lyle's Nursery, Seaside); July 21 (Astoria Sunday Market) and July 27 (Fitzgerald's in Gearhart).

Meanwhile, Clatsop County Master Gardeners have selected two local high school students to receive college scholarships.

Astoria High School's Leah Golden-Sea and Jennifer Fransen of Knappa High School each won $500 scholarships from the gardening organization.

Golden-Sea will be attending the University of Oregon and majoring in music and botany. She was an instrumental leader in the Area Vocational Center's plant sale, and in organizing the Environmental Club to remove noxious weeds from infested areas in Clatsop County, according to her nomination. She belongs to the Metropolitan Youth Symphony in Portland, the Northwest Philharmonic Orchestra, the Little Ballet Theater Orchestra, the AHS wind symphony, the AHS swim team, Key Club, the National Honor Society, the Environmental Club and the Sunset Empire Orchid Society. She is the daughter of Ann Goldeen and Barry Sears.

Fransen plans to major in business at Oregon State University and hopes to own her own florist business upon graduation. She has been involved with the Knappa High School Leadership Class, basketball, softball, and Business Leaders of Tomorrow as president. In addition, Fransen volunteered for the Doernbecher Golf Tournament, the Great Oregon Beach Cleanup and church youth group activities. She is the daughter of Trygve and Kathryn Fransen.

Applicants must be a graduating senior from a Clatsop County high school or home-schooled student who plans to pursue a horticulture-related career. For additional information, contact the extension office at 325-8573 or clatsopmg1@hotmail.com

Cathy Peterson belongs to the Clatsop County Master Gardener Association. "In the Garden" runs weekly in Coast Weekend. Please send comments to "In the Garden," The Daily Astorian, P.O. Box 210, Astoria, OR 97103 or online to peterson@pacifier.com

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