Decoding Plants: Conifers

Juniper_MMM_smHappy new year!

My next workshop is coming up the last two Saturdays in February and will be held in my new little garden studio in North Portland! This workshop is one that I was inspired to teach after camping in the Cascades this summer and being blown away by the diversity of conifers growing around our camp site. I had a lot of fun identifying them and making a cone collection – but I remembered how daunting it felt to learn the conifers when I moved to the Pacific Northwest over a decade ago. There are a lot of them here! Fortunately there are ways to learn and remember the ways they are distinct and unique.

This hands-on course will have you identifying many trees from a distance by clues like habitat context, shape and texture and then confirm your identification from up-close details like needles, bark and cones. We’ll cover both native and introduced species that are grouped into 3 main families. All experience levels welcome.

Course details and registration can be found at

Decoding Plants: Conifers
Portland Underground Graduate School
Date: Saturdays, February 16 and 23
Time: 10 am – 3 pm
Location: Meets in Overlook Neighborhood || North Portland
Cost: Two days, Tiered pricing $99 to 199 || Space is limited to 20 students.
Registration open now at

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2019 Workshops with Sustainable Overlook and Beach School Garden

This year I’m coordinating a workshop series with Beach School Garden and Sustainable Overlook (a committee of the Overlook Neighborhood Association). We’re offering a series of monthly workshops on practical ways to relocalize our food system, help our pollinators and build community. The series starts with seed saving, fruit tree pruning and native wildflower gardening. Everyone and all experience levels welcome. 


Fruit Tree Pruning and Care with April Jamison
Sunday, February 17, from 12-3 pm
Beach School Garden, 1710 N Humboldt St.
Sliding scale $10-25 Details and registration here.

Demystify winter fruit tree pruning with this hands-on workshop with orchard expert April Jamison of Garden EcologyWe’ll start by getting familiar with the basics, and then we’ll have a demonstration and practice time, giving the school garden’s two apple trees some thoughtful and loving care.

In this class you will learn:

• Tools of the trade
• When & why to prune
• Types of cuts & how to make them
• Step-by-step process
• Tips on training, restoration, and more!

Bring gloves and your favorite pruning tools such as hand pruners, folding saw or loppers if you have them. Dress for the weather.


Seed Swap Brunch

Saturday, March 2
9:30 am Brunch, 10:30-1 pm Seed Swap
Alice Busch’s House – 2224 N Willamette. Portland OR 97217
Free! Details and registration HERE.
Get ready for spring and summer by joining our seed swap.  It is intended to help our up and coming gardener gather enough seeds from those of us saving – that they can SAVE money by sharing in our bounty!  Whether you have seeds to share – or are coming to collect seeds to plant for our coming gardening seasons – you are encouraged to join us and our crew of  aspiring and experienced gardeners. If you have seeds to share – bring them, if not, bring containers/envelopes to take home seeds you plan to nurture into bountiful crops of beauty and food 🙂

If folks will be joining us for brunch they should arrive by 9:30am and bring an a brunch item to share: French press ground coffee, cheese(what kind), a veggie (what kind), a syrup (kind), eggs, or fruit (what kind), non dairy milk/cream substitute (what kind),

Alice will provide: compostable plates, utensils, washable napkins, teas, half & half, bacon, potatoes, and pancakes (please let us know if you would like a gluten-free pancake option.)

Wildflower and Pollinator Workshop

Saturday, March 30, 12-3 pm
Beach School Garden, 1710 N Humboldt St.
Sliding scale $10-25 Details and registration here.

Bees need habitat, and habitat needs tending. Engage the human impulse to tend the land in this hands-on workshop at the new 1,000 sq. ft. meadow garden at Beach Elementary. Explore the Willamette Valley native meadow plantings and see early season pollinators in action. You will learn:

  • Weed and native plant identification
  • Tending practices and a little about the background of this important ecosystem in our region – and how you can start your own low-maintenance/low-water use meadow patch to help bees.
  • Take home native wildflower seed!

Bring gloves and your favorite weeding/digging tool. Dress for the weather. Ages 10 and up.
Childcare provided at no cost for kids 5-10. Please register online.


Instructor Mulysa Melco is an ecological landscape designer, horticulturist, and artist with a lifelong passion for plants and exploring our connection with the land. She teaches botany and ecology classes for the Portland Underground Graduate School. 

Upcoming workshops might be on worm composting, gardening with kids and more.

Have a suggestion for a topic you want to learn about in community? Email

Posted in Ecological Restoration, Ecology, Edibles, Events, Food Forest, Food Not Lawns, Grow Your Own, Native Plants, Permaculture, Pollinators, Rewilding, Seasons, Trees, Uncategorized, Workshops | Leave a comment

Annual North American Rewilding Conference

Here is some info from Rewild Portland about the upcoming conference. I’ll be facilitating one of the hands-on sessions on Sunday morning at sites around North Portland. I’m super excited about this event, hope to see you there! 

Annual North American Rewilding Conference

Friday, January 25–Sunday, January 27
St. Johns Community Center – 8427 N Central St, Portland, OR 97203

The term “rewilding” covers a broad spectrum of ideas and solutions for a world in the throws of the sixth mass extinction—from wildlands conservation to the reintroduction of species, from the practice of ancestral skills to ancestral diets, from indigenous sovereignty to traditional ecological knowledge. As we search for meaning and tangible actions in this pivotal point in the human story, rewilding and the many subjects it encompasses are drawing attention from a wide range of communities. To help foster connections among these communities and build social capital across differing practices, Rewild Portland presents the Annual North American Rewilding Conference (ANARC).

ANARC is a grassroots, non-hierarchical, collaborative, social conference. At the conference you will find laypeople and experts sharing ideas, experiences, and knowledge across fields, connecting solutions, clarifying visions, and broadening their perspective while rooting it to place. It’s a think tank of the most innovative rewilders, where people walk away feeling motivated, inspired, and connected to the larger picture of social and environmental justice.

The theme of this year’s conference is “Creating diversity, equity, and inclusion in rewilding.” Rewilding is an important and urgent movement addressing the many challenges we are facing simultaneously. Yet if the movement is to succeed, we need to make it more accessible for everyone. This year we will be looking at how different people are opening up doors to rewilding in various communities, and brainstorming ways to make rewilding attainable for even more folks.

The format of the conference is as follows: Our Friday night opening includes structured social networking to encourage connections, ten lightning-round presenters to inspire dialogue, and a keynote speaker to connect some of these dots and create a shared vision. The Open Space portion of the conference takes place Saturday and Sunday, with participants creating the sessions and programming collaboratively at the onset. This open-format conference is unlike any other. It’s something you have to experience for yourself to really understand. Don’t miss out, register now!

For more details:


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Fall 2018 Workshops

I’m super excited to announce my fall workshops with the Portland Underground Graduate School. Like all of my courses, these are offered with the intention of exploring together our relationship with the land we live on and the earth’s cycles – and how we can reconnect with nature and find our role as humans within our ecosystems. Two powerful paths for this work are embodied by these courses: coming together in community to learn about indigenous ecology, and observing/listening (in this case, by drawing) to plants and seasonal rhythms. Please join us!

Drawing Plants: Fall  Session  – Connecting to Place by Slowing Down
Dates: Wednesdays, October 3, 10, 17, 24
Time:  7-9 pm
Location: People’s Co-Op || 3029 SE 21st Ave
Space limited to 20 students
Registration and details at

Drawing can be a way of knowing a place, a season, a moment. Drawing is a connection between eye, hand, heart and mind that can allow us to tune in to nature’s rhythms and the “more than human world.“ It’s a simple practice that can bring us to a mindful state anywhere we go. In this course, we’ll cultivate an openness to unexpected outcomes as we celebrate the deepening of the year.

Braiding_Sweetgrass_MMM_2_sqReading Braiding Sweetgrass – Restoring our world and ourselves through ecology and Native American wisdom
Dates: November 6, 13, 20, 27
Time:  6:30-8:30pm
Location: Wayfinding Academy, Portland, OR
Instructors: Christine Dupres and Mulysa Melco
Space limited to 25 students.
Registration and details at

Are you compelled by the thoughts on reciprocity and meaning that run so deeply through Braiding Sweetgrass? Do you want to deepen your attachment to the living entities of this land? Are you aware that your thinking on indigenous knowledge could be much deeper? Are you searching for ways forward given the current crises of personal and planetary health? Join PUGS’ highest rated teachers Christine Dupres and Mulysa Melco for a four-week class they’ve created to help you more fully embody the lessons of Braiding Sweetgrass.

Prerequisite: Prior to class, read the first section of Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge and the Teachings of Plants by Dr. Robin Wall Kimmerer.

Christine Dupres (Cowlitz/Cree), Ph.D., is a writer, teacher, and Native citizen. She is the author of Being Cowlitz: How One Tribe Renewed and Sustained Its Identity (University of Washington Press). She has taught at the University of Pennsylvania and the University of Oregon.

Mulysa Melco is an ecological landscape designer, horticulturist, and artist with a lifelong passion for plants and exploring our connection with the land. She teaches botany and ecology classes for PUGS. 

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Echos in Time

Oregon’s oldest ancestral skills gathering is coming up July 22-28th in the Willamette Valley. I’ll be teaching a plant drawing class there. We’ll be exploring plant families in the shady flood plain and river banks and sunny meadow to learn more about the native and introduced plants of the area including many edible and medicinal species. We’ll discuss their relationships with pollinators and other fauna.

Come for the whole week or drop in for a day or two. There will be fantastic instructors leading basketry, metal work, wood crafts, archery, leather work, medicine making, tracking and much more. This family-friendly event is one of the highlights of my summer!

Details about the event here. 

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Plant Sale at Marisha’s Nursery

Plant Sale at Marisha’s Nursery – Woodstock Neighborhood, Southeast Portland
Saturday, June 23, 10 am – 3 pm
4816 SE 50th Ave., just north of Raymond St. (Please avoid alley, turn onto 50th from Raymond)

Join us for our last plant sale of the spring season. It’s time to fill in any holes in your garden to maximize growth and water during this summer.  I’ll be joining Marisha and Zane as a guest vendor this weekend!

Garden Tour at 1 pm

Come see their wonderful permaculture homestead with food, medicine, animals and more. Their neighborhood scale permaculture nursery offers both common and unique varieties of plants that have been bred to thrive in our climate and provide reliable yields.

Browse the Resilience Design plant and seed catalog HERE.
Resilience design accepts cash, check or credit/debit/paypal.

Check out Marisha’s Nursery list at
Marisha’s nursery accepts cash and check.


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Drawing Plants: Summer Session

My next workshop is coming up in June though the Portland Underground Graduate School. It’s blend of art, science and medicine. We’ll be celebrating midsummer and learning about local, edible and medicinal plants (from my food forest guilds plus cool plants at Thicket Nursery) by drawing them. Like my winter drawing class, it’s an invitation to slow down and be present with the season and details of the natural world. A time to set phones aside and practice connecting hands, heart, eye and mind.

All experience levels welcome. Now with more drawing demos, per request!


Drawing Plants: Summer Session
Drawing has a special way of allowing us to tune in to nature’s rhythms. It’s a simple practice that can bring us to a mindful state anywhere we go. In this course, we’ll celebrate the bounty of summer and the high energy of the longest day of the year.
Dates: Wednesdays, June 6, 13, 20, 27
Time:  7-9 pm
Location: Thicket Nursery, 4933 NE 23rd Ave || Alberta Arts District
$199 || Space limited to 12 students
Registration and details:

PUGS believes education should be accessible to all. Radical pricing is available.

Register with a friend and you both get 20% off. Code: YOUVEGOTAFRIEND 


Posted in Botany, Drawing, Ecology, Edibles, Events, Food Forest, Native Plants, Permaculture, Seasons, urban flora, Wildflowers, Workshops | Leave a comment

Spring Plant Sale!

Spring Plant Sale ~ A Fundraiser for Beach School Garden
Beach Elementary School, 1710 N Humboldt St, Portland, OR 97217
Fri. May 11, 3 to 6 pm
Sat. May 12, 10 am to 6 pm
Resilience Design’s spring plant sale will benefit the garden program at Beach School. Come see the renovated garden and pollinator meadow and shop for native plants, fruit trees and berries, herbs, seeds, tomatoes and more!

Cash, check or credit/debit accepted.

Do you have 3.5″ or 4″ plastic pots in good condition? We will reuse them! Bring them to the sale or contact Mulysa. Thanks for helping keep costs down and plastic out of the waste stream.

More info here. 



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Design Your Own Yard Workshop

Design Your Own Yard! 
Create a plan for your yard using permaculture design principles. A series of 6 collaborative work sessions will guide you through the design process, plant selection, budgeting and making a plan of action. Starting with a look at the flow of energy, water and nutrients in our household ‘systems’, we’ll chart a path towards a more efficient, useful, beautiful and realistic yard for you. This class will build on what you already know and draw on Mulysa’s extensive experience designing, building and maintaining urban homesteads. You’ll leave with a plan for your yard!

Dates: 6 sessions, Wednesday evenings, April 18, 25, May 2, 9, 16, 23
Time:  6:30-8:30 pm
Location: Thicket Nursery, 4933 NE 23rd Ave || Alberta Arts
Cost: $480 || Sign up with a friend or partner for $680 total! || Work trade and sliding scale available.
Space is limited to 12 students.
Register here:

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Permaculture Workshop at Xera Plants

Planting the Multi-functional Garden:
A Permaculture look at the Xera Plants catalog 

Update: The workshop is full! Thanks for all your interest. Check the events pages for more upcoming courses.

Sat. March 24, 10 am – noon 
Xera Plants
Retail Shop 1114 SE. Clay St. Portland,  Oregon 97214
Instructor: Mulysa Melco
Cost: Free!
Space is limited. Please register below to reserve your spot.

Xera Plants’ mission is to grow unusual and high quality plants – and to espouse  “a viable alternative to the water-intensive gardening aesthetic.” You probably caught on from their name that many of their plants can withstand our summer dry (xeric) season without a lot of supplemental water. But did you know they offer many plants that are benefical in other ways?

Among Xera’s beautiful selection are plants for soil restoration, carbon sequestration, food, drinks, medicine, dyes, crafts, creating a regional sense of place – and plants that can help create habitat for birds, pollinators and wildlife in the Pacific Northwest.

Explore Xera’s incredible plant offerings through the lens of permaculture (a design methodology based on natural systems). Learn some ways ecological thinking can be applied to create multi-functional gardens such as creating guilds of plant species.  Join us to discuss how gardens and gardeners can have a positive role in the ecosystem!

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