Winter 2018-19
Winter's sweet, fragrant treats
There's nothing like a juicy, fragrant tangerine to brighten a winter day, or a squeeze of zesty lemon to perk up a meal, or a splash of lime for a little zing in a favorite cocktail. Thanks to our sublime climate, we can grow these and many other varieties of citrus in our own backyards. The recipe for success? Warm summers, cool winters, and plenty of sunshine. Here's how to grow delicious citrus .
Ornamental grasses enliven Marin gardens
Ornamental grasses add texture and movement to gardens. They also use significantly less water than conventional lawn grasses, come in a wide variety of sizes and colors, are easy to grow and -- as a welcome bonus -- they're not tasty to deer. Everywhere we look these days, striking seed heads wave in the breeze atop graceful, drought tolerant grasses of most every shape and size. Here's how to select and grow grasses for years of carefree gardening.
Who are the beneficial insects
and why do they matter?
There are many more insects on earth than humans. And like humans, most of them are good. In fact, every day in our gardens the good guys -- the beneficial insects -- are helping to keep the bad guys in check. That's why using pesticides can end up causing more problems than solutions: when you try to eradicate the damaging insects, you end up nailing some of the beneficials as well. Here's how to lure common garden good guys into your garden.
Ask the Experts
Dear Help Desk

Q. Last spring and summer my apples and pears were disgusting, filled with a nasty pest. We had to throw many of them out. What should I do to my fruit trees to prevent this from happening again?

A.   Sounds like your apples have been visited by codling moth, familiar pests on apples and pears. The larvae tunnel into the core of the fruit, leaving holes filled with reddish-brown, crumbly droppings called frass. Codling moth can cause serious damage. Here's how to prevent a codling moth invasion .
Stop snails
in their tracks
Snails are slimy, year-round pests that are small but can cause significant damage. The good news is there are some easy, non-toxic ways of beating these slimy pests. Here's how to keep snails from ravaging your garden .
Seasonal Advice

Antidote for the winter blahs: garden color!
It might be gray and cold outside, but that doesn't mean your garden needs to look dreary and empty. There are numerous plants that shine in winter. All it takes is a little planning and planting -- and perhaps a trip to the nursery - to enjoy a winter scape that's just as pleasing as springtime. Here are plants that bloom in winter . Hint: be sure to plant them where they're easily viewed from your favorite cozy indoor reading chair.
Caring for holiday
gift plants
‘Tis the season for festive greenery! Many have been gifted with holiday plants associated: brilliant red pointsettia, fragrant paper whites, and bold amaryllis to name a few. With a little knowledge and TLC, many of these can continue to brighten your home or garden for months, and sometimes years. Here's how to extend the life of holiday gift plants .

Winter chores to help keep your garden healthy
It's time to get your hand pruners sharpened, flip through seed catalogs, and go shopping for bare root roses. But don't forget some other key winter garden chores: check your irrigation system, cut back woody shrubs, and apply dormant sprays to fruit trees. Here's a list of winter chores to keep the garden healthy and looking its best.
Growing Edibles
What's growing in the winter veggie garden?
The days are cool and short, but thanks to our temperate climate there's still plenty of opportunity to eat from the garden. Think Swiss chard, peas, onions, leeks, radishes, and potatoes. These and other greens are among the many winter edibles that can be grown in Marin.
Artichokes: tasty and oh so easy to grow
Looking for an eye-catching, drought tolerant, healthy plant to add to your edible garden scape? Artichokes are delicious and, if left to flower, amazingly beautiful! The ruffled gray-green foliage adds contrast to the garden border. These perennials are relatively easy to grow and thrive in our Mediterranean climate. Here's how to grow and care for artichokes .
Project Spotlight
Native plant propagation efforts restore critical Marin flora
The plant communities we enjoy on hikes throughout Marin are what give our County its sense of place. Keeping invasive plant species at bay and restoring native plant communities is a major focus of Marin County Parks. Since 2006, UC Marin Master Gardeners has partnered in this effort by propagating thousands of native California plants for County open space projects. This is important work because there are numerous advantages to native plants: they use less water, help reduce fire risk, and provide food and shelter critical to the survival of local birds, insects, and other wildlife. Here's how UC Marin Master Gardeners help propagation efforts for Marin County Parks restoration projects .
Upcoming Garden Talks and Events
Don't miss our upcoming classes! UC Marin Master Gardeners cover many topics throughout the year. Here's what's on tap now.

Saturday, January 12
Pruning roses and basic rose care with UC Marin Master Gardener Paula Jaffe
11 am to 12 noon at the Mill Valley Library, 375 Throckmorton Avenue in Mill Valley

Saturday, January 19
Winter pruning of fruit trees with UC Marin Master Gardeners Judy Simmons and Susan Pearson
10 am to 12 noon at the College of Marin's Indian Valley Organic Farm & Garden, 1800 Ignacio Blvd. in Novato

Thursday, January 31
Water: yesterday, today and tomorrow with UC Marin Master Gardener Peggy Mathers
7 pm to 8 pm at the Sausalito City Hall Council Chambers, 420 Litho Street in Sausalito

Wednesday, February 6
About succulents with UC Marin Master Gardener Gary Bartl
10 am to 11:30 am at Landmarks Art & Garden Center, 841 Tiburon Blvd. in Tiburon

Saturday, February 23
Basic pruning with UC Marin Master Gardener Gary Bartl
11 am to 12 noon at the San Anselmo Library, 110 Tunstead Avenue in San Anselmo

Wednesday, March 6
Alliums: onions and garlic and leeks, oh my! with UC Marin Master Gardener Jenine Stilton
10 am to 11 am at Landmarks Art & Garden Center, 841 Tiburon Blvd. in Tiburon

Saturday, April 27
Tomato Market - Mark your calendar! The 2019 Tomato Market opens at 9 am at Pini Hardware in Novato and the Bon Air Shopping Center in Greenbrae.
What's that plant?
Here's one of the first bloomers of the year, a vine that explodes into a purple waterfall of color in winter and keeps on blooming as it twines its way up an over arbors, fences, and other climbable surfaces. It performs in sun or shade, growing up to 16' long and requiring little maintenance or water once established. What's that plant ?
Love the Leaflet?
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Video explains
Master Gardener role  
Wondering what Marin Master Gardeners do? A 3-minute video highlights who we are, what services we offer, and where you can find us. Our trained group of 300+ volunteers is busy providing research-based gardening advice as part of the University of California Cooperative Extension (UCCE) and UC Master Gardener Program.  Watch us at work .
Photo credit
Citrus - Jonathan Pielmayer, Unsplash
Ornamental grasses - Gardensoft
Beneficial insects - Pixabay
Codling moth - UC Regents
Snail - Krzysztof Niewolny, Unsplash
Ribes - Marybeth Kampman
Pointsetia - Google Commons
Swiss chard - Unsplash
Artichoke - Gardensoft
Native propagation - Marie Narlock
What's that plant - Gardensoft
Camellia - Gardensoft