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Planting party held November 7 from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Pre-registration requested by November 6

SUBMITTED PHOTO - Members of the Portland Garden Club visit Nob Hill Nature Park.Nob Hill Nature Park in St. Helens will soon be getting a facelift thanks to a $500 grant from the Portland Garden Club.

The money will purchase native plants from Sauvie Island Natives. Money will also help out with screening to keep deer away.

Nob Hill Nature Park is a picturesque 7-acre oak woodland overlooking the Columbia River and Multnomah Channel. The Friends of Nob Hill Nature Park have been doing restoration there since 2004.

Park steward Caroline Skinner is happy to receive help from the Sauvie Island business, which — as its name would suggest — specializes in native plants.

Nursery proprietor Jane Hartline is "a longtime park supporter," Skinner noted, "and knows it well. So we are glad to have her help with plant selection."

There is a need to plant new vegetation at the park. Skinner said a lot of native plants are tough and hardy, and "that's what we need."

Skinner recalled when she and Howard Blumenthal visited Nob Hill for the first time.

"We just fell in love with the place when we stumbled upon it and realized that it needed some help. It had been badly overgrown with invasive plants, including English Ivy and blackberry," Skinner said.

Skinner noted another invasive visitor to the park: orchard grass.

"Also, perhaps one of the worst, is a recent arrival called shining geranium," she said. "It's just incredibly invasive."

Looking ahead, Skinner said. "As far as shrubs, we're getting tall mahonia and vine maple — it's a beautiful shrub. There's a shrub called ocean spray that's quite drought-hardy, once established."

Skinner continued, "In some wet areas, we're getting something called red twig dogwood. That's very common all over Columbia County."

Recalling her history with the park, Skinner said, "Howard Blumenthal and I are co-founders of the park and stewards. Back in 2004, we got permission from the city to do a cleanup. We've been holding twice-yearly work parties ever since then."

Of course, Skinner and Blumenthal are out at Nob Hill much more often than that.

"As stewards, Howard and I are there every other weekend or so," said Skinner. "We pick up trash, we pull weeds, we keep an eye on the park in case there's been any minor vandalism."

A work party is scheduled from 1 to 4 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 7, to get the new vegetation planted.

Because of November's unpredictable weather, participants are asked to bring rain gear.

"We're asking our guests, if they can, (to) please bring your own shovel and gloves," Skinner added.

If you are interested, come to the park entrance at 1 p.m. Nov. 7, across the street from the city's wastewater treatment plant, located at 451 Plymouth St. in St. Helens. Masks and social distancing will be required.

The work party will be held rain or shine.

"There's easy parking," Skinner said. "We meet and introduce ourselves. We're going to plant four different areas along the trail. About three areas are in the park. The fourth area is actually on the Fifth Street right of way."

She added, "There's plenty of work to do, and volunteers are welcome."

Skinner calls the planting party a family-friendly event: "It's very flexible and easy-going."

As for clothing, she said, "You're likely to get muddy, so we highly recommend long pants, long sleeves — bring rain gear that can get muddy."

Pre-registration is requested by Friday, Nov. 6, by calling Scappoose Bay Watershed Council at 503-397-7904 or emailing This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Skinner added, "We just want to re-establish a natural ecosystem and make it be a safe haven for birds and wildlife. We're letting the existing native plants be our guide for selecting others that we'll add in."


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