- UC Marin Master Gardener Events & Classes
Garden Help from UC Marin Master Gardeners
- Farmers Markets
- Help Desk
- Chamomile: easy to grow and makes a nice cup of tea
- Ferns: ancient plants
- Harvesting summer crops
- Help cut flowers live longer
- Blueberries: healthy, tasty, and pretty
- Growing and harvesting beets
- Oak trees of Marin
- Hummingbirds, nature’s extremists
- The benefits of houseplants
- What to do with spent bulbs
- Fruit trees: benefits of thinning young fruit
- Microgreens: tiny plants, big flavor
- How to grow delicious beans
- All about citrus
- Ornamental grasses
- Beneficial insects
- Preventing a codling moth invasion
- Stop snails in their tracks
- Winter garden color
- Caring for holiday gift plants
- Propagating native plants
- Japanese maples
- Container gardening
- Growing gorgeous camellias
- Redwood trees
- Pomegranates: an ancient tree
- Bulbs for spring
- Nothing quite like a freshly picked bouquet
- Seeds hold the miracle of life, so save, swap and share them
- Sold on Salvia
- Sudden Oak Death: a million trees gone and counting
- Habitat gardens
- Growing In Your Garden Now - Fava Beans
- Using water effectively in the garden
- Yikes, thrips
- Growing a salad in a pot
- Rain gardens: an attractive solution to a challenging environmental problem
- How to select bare root roses
- Lovely birds... or pests?
- Australian plants in winter
- Get a head start on spring with cold frames
- Snails and slugs: keep them out of the garden
- Sow seeds now for flowers in spring and summer
- Fire-safe landscaping
- Plants made for the shade
- Chinese pistache tree glows in autumn
- Attracting honey and native bees to your garden
- Sow wildflower seeds in fall for spring show
- Native shrubs create a visual anchor in landscapes - fast
- What to plant in the fall-winter veggie garden
- Proper pruning of wisteria for a plethora of blossoms
- Compost for every corner of your spring garden
- All about mushrooms
- Butterflies in the garden
- Growing blueberries
- How to plant a fruit tree
- Protecting plants from frost
- What's that plant?
- Bright spots of color lift the drabness of the winter garden
- Books for Marin gardeners
- Benefits of School Gardens
- Trees: not just nice to look at
- Dealing with mosquitos
- Epilobium – California fuchsia
- Why bees matter, and how you can help
- Picking the Right Plant for the Right Place in Your Garden
- What's That Plant?
- Keeping Cut Flowers Fresh
- Late Summer Color
- Growing Summer Squash
- Short on space? Containers!
- Herbs: tough, attractive, practical
- These plants are true companions
- Companion planting in the vegetable garden
- Get Grounded – Healthy Soil Does Matter
- Mushrooms on the March
- Our Gentle Winters are Good for Vegetables
- Rodents like it Warm
- Know What Makes an Invasive Species Invasive
- California Natives - Plant Like a Native
- Consider a Simple Water-Catchment System and Rain Garden/Bioswale Before Winter Rains Arrive
- Have You Scheduled a FREE Bay-Friendly Garden Walk?
- A Green Autumn
- Rx for Pests: Ants
- Fine Tune Your Garden
- Colorful Drought-Tolerant Plants Thrive in Marin
- Water Restrictions and Recognizing Signs of Water Stress
- UC Researcher Is Helping Plants Survive the Drought
- Summer Is Perfect For Peppers
- Do the Leaves on Your Trees Look Scorched?
- Fine Tune Your Garden
- How to Recognize Drought and Water Stress
- Spring is the Time for Potatoes, Asparagus and Citrus
- Don't Let Stink Bugs... Bug Your Vegetables
- Harvesting Berries
- Water Heroes
- Natural Cold Storage
- Fruit Trees; Why We Treat Them in Dormancy
- Fondness for Old Friends
- What Happens to Garden Bad Guys in Winter?
- Plants that aren't blown away by the wind
- A hill o' beans
- Fruit tree thinning
- Fragrant plants: Add some chocolate or Kool-Aid to your garden
- Top 10 resolutions for Marin gardeners
- Trees with interesting bark shine in winter
- Who says your garden has to be green?
- Plant bulbs now for spring beauty
- Gardener's checklist for fall
- Cover crops boost soil in vegetable beds
- Rx: Living with deer
- Growing berries in Marin
- How to build healthy soil
- Gardener's checklist for summer
- Water-saving tips for the home garden
- Gardener's checklist for spring
- Stop the popping - Controlling hairy bittercress
- How to control aphids
- Brightening up the winter garden
- Selecting a fruit tree
- What to plant and harvest in the winter vegetable garden
- Rain, rain, don't go away
- Gardener's checklist for winter
- Getting rid of rats
- Fall: a time for planning and planting
- Asparagus: spears for years
- Lawn: use it or lose it
- Rx for powdery mildew
- Echeveria imbricata
- Pruning hydrangeas to maximize bloom
- Plant sweet peas in fall
- Community Outreach Projects of UC Marin Master Gardeners
- Great Gardening Information
- Selecting Plants
- Marin Master Gardener Independent Journal Articles
- How to Become a Master Gardener
- UC Marin Master Gardeners Opportunity Fund: Providing for the Future
Brightening up the winter garden
Every season has its knockouts: roses in spring, daylilies in summer, maples in autumn. But what about winter? Somehow our cool, rainy season gets forgotten. Wintertime does not have to mean gray skies and a bland garden. Instead, plan ahead and place a few winter bloomers where you can see them from the warmth and comfort of indoors. Come February, you'll be glad you did. Here are some suggestions.
Three feet and under
Winter daphne (Daphne odora) -- Here's one to put near your front door or wherever you pass by frequently. Although this evergreen shrub is innocuous for the rest of the year, in winter its demure light-pink flowers emit a luscious fragrance that is both powerful and intoxicating. Select a variety with white-margined leaves for more interest. Daphne is not bothered by deer.
Euphorbia (Euphorbia spp.) -- Not all euphorbias bloom in winter, but those that do provide an exotic touch to the winter landscape. There are more than 2,000 species of this deer-resistant plant. The most famous? The lovely poinsettia (Euphorbia pulcherrima), which is a festive indoor decoration but too frost tender for most outdoor applications.
Bleeding heart (Dicentra formosa) -- Here's a fragile-looking low bloomer that sprouts up in winter and early spring and then disappears for the rest of the year. It gets its name from its distinctive flowers. Bleeding hearts prefer a little shade.
Lenten rose (Helleborus spp.) -- The Lenten rose provides subtle yet stunning color and texture. There are numerous varieties, and there is likely to be a new hybrid in your nursery each winter. As an added bonus, the Lenten rose is deer resistant and has low water requirements.
Camellia (Camellia japonica) -- Despite the fact that camellias are extremely common, their beautiful rose-like flowers are always a pleasure to behold on a cold winter day. Camellias are related to rhododendrons and azaleas and thus prefer a little shade and acidic soil. Flower colors range from bright white to pink to deep red.
Flowering quince (Chaenomeles spp.) -- If it's a six-foot punch of bright color you're after, look no further than this powerhouse. When the rest of the garden sleeps, the flowering quince shyly drops its leaves and then buds out with tremendous Asian-inspired flare. Often found in bright coral, red or white, flowering quince branches make striking indoor decorations.
Coast silktassel (Garrya elliptica) -- Here's one for gardeners who appreciate the texture and beauty of California native plants. As its name implies, the coast silktassel is draped in long, slim, rope-like tassels in winter. The rest of the year, this evergreen plant is a tumble of leathery dark green leaves that resemble coast live oak leaves.
Flowering currant (Ribes sanguineum) -- The flowering currant is a California native that turns heads. In late winter and early spring its long, drooping pink flowers are a beacon of color. Flowering currant attracts hummingbirds and is drought tolerant. It also offers gorgeous cut branches.
Forsythia (Forsythia spp.) -- The neon yellow blooms of forsythia light up even the dreariest of winter days. This plant is frequently confused with one of our most invasive enemies, broom. Be sure the label says Forsythia.
Dogwood (Cornus spp.) -- There are many different types of dogwoods, and all of them are gorgeous late winter-early spring bloomers. Most are native to colder and wetter regions, which is a clue that these trees might need a little extra water and would appreciate some of Marin's cold pockets. Dogwoods also like a little afternoon shade.
Witch hazel (Hamamelis) -- These 12 to 15-foot trees are prized for their interesting yellow winter blooms as well as their bright fall foliage. Most witch hazels are fragrant and bloom over a long period. Like flowering currants and quince, the witch hazels provide stunning stems to include in winter bouquets.
Coral bark maple (Acer palmatum 'Sango Kaku') -- The young bark of this tree gleams bright red in winter. This is a good choice for Marin's coldest spots -- Marinwood, Novato and other frosty locations -- where the chilly weather helps redden the branches. Full disclosure: the reddest branches are those that are two years old or younger. As the tree ages the oldest branches turn a brownish green tinge.
Lilac vine (Hardenbergia spp.) -- The lilac vine is a common choice for covering chain link fences and other eyesores, with the bonus of spectacular purple color every winter. Its twining tendrils scramble quickly over anything in its way. Hardenbergia needs room to roam but does not demand much else. It requires little to no summer water but appreciates well-drained soil.
Pink jasmine (Jasminum polyanthum) -- Pink jasmine oozes with fragrance most of the year and appreciates cool winter weather where it grows in every imaginable condition. Its blooms are white and the buds are burgundy to pink, giving the vine a multicolor look. This is one to keep an eye on: its speedy climbing tendrils will attach to anything, including house shingles and other shrubs.
Evergreen clematis (Clematis armandii) -- This evergreen climber may reach up to 30 feet, and its fragrant white flowers sweeten the air in late winter and early spring. It tolerates sun or part shade, although it likes shade on its roots. Like many climbers, the evergreen clematis must be kept in check and needs a strong support.
Aloe ferox, Aloe arborensces, and Aloe ‘Johnson’s Hybrid’ are all winter bloomers. The beautiful coral aloe (Aloe striata) blooms at San Rafael’s Falkirk Cultural Center in late winter early spring. Drop by for a little winter inspiration.
Contributors: Faith Brown, Marie Narlock, Jessica Wasserman