- UC Marin Master Gardener Events & Classes
Garden Help from UC Marin Master Gardeners
- Farmers Markets
- Help Desk
- 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
- 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
Native plant propagation efforts restore critical Marin flora
Picture your favorite Marin hike. Perhaps it takes you through oak woodlands with a diversity of flora, including sword ferns, trilliums and milkmaids bordering your path. Or maybe it loops through grasslands with a breathtaking array of wildflowers like California poppies, sky lupines and blue-eyed grass. Now picture a trail dominated by a monoculture of non-native French broom and tangles of blackberry canes. Not so inviting!
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.
Why are native plants so important? They are the foundation of healthy ecosystems. Native plants have co-evolved with local birds, insects and other wildlife, providing food and shelter critical to the survival of these animals. Native coyote brush can support more than 200 species, while non-natives like French broom support only a handful. Native plants are far more efficient at utilizing water than invasive species. In fact, a major reason for eradicating invasive plants is that they are water hogs and often fire-prone as well. After invasive plants are removed, native plants are needed to repopulate the area, otherwise the aggressive non-natives will reinvade.
UC Marin Master Gardeners support the full cycle of native plant propagation for Marin County Parks restoration projects. In late spring and through the summer, we collect ripe seed at designated open space preserves. We work at the County nursery near the Marin Civic Center, cleaning seeds of chaff; sowing them into containers; then weeding, thinning, and transplanting the seedlings to successively larger cells until they are ready to be planted in the ground. Some of the seed is saved for direct sowing and some goes into “seed cookies.”
Propagating California natives is a multi-step process. First, seeds are collected at designated locations. Next, the seeds are cleaned, planted into small containers, thinned and weeded, and moved into larger containers. Finally, the sprouted seedlings are planted back into the landscape.
Photos: Faith Brown, Marybeth Kampman, and Marie Narlock
During the rainy season, Master Gardeners work with school and scout groups to plant the seedlings at habitat restoration sites. We take care to return the seedlings to the same watershed where the seeds were collected to preserve the genetic diversity of locally adapted populations.
Since 2006, we’ve had a hand in diverse projects:
Santa Venetia Marsh, San Rafael
Master Gardeners propagated coyote brush and marsh gumplant to be planted along the levees. The objective was to provide shelter for the endangered salt marsh harvest mouse and the Ridgeway’s rail. As incoming tides force these animals to higher ground, they now have hiding places from predators, dog walkers and hikers.
Bothin Marsh, Mill Valley
For this tidal restoration project, Master Gardeners grew hundreds of seedlings, then supervised fifth graders from Mill Valley’s Greenwood School in planting them out.
Ring Mountain, Corte Madera
Regrading work on a fire road disturbed soil along the shoulders, an invitation for weeds to move in. Marin County Parks also wanted to obliterate several social trails that were cutting through habitat for the rare Tiburon mariposa lily. Master Gardeners helped propagate thousands of native grass seedlings to plant in these disturbed areas.
Another fun aspect of this project was to work with second graders at Corte Madera’s Cove School to make “seed cookies.” Under Master Gardeners’ watchful eyes, the students mixed pinches of native seed with clumps of moist compost and clay. They rolled their clumps into little balls, then flattened them into disks. The disks were left to dry and, at a future date, the students will spread them in an area of Ring Mountain. Rains will dissolve the clay mixture, leaving the seeds in contact with the soil.
Old St. Hilary’s Open Space, Tiburon
A berm cleared of French broom, poison oak and blackberry needed to be revegetated before those invasives could regain a foothold. Master Gardeners grew and planted native grasses, soaproot lily, gumplant, blue-eyed grass, and other species on the berm, which now looks like part of the surrounding grasslands instead of a weed patch! Community volunteers have been hand weeding the area to keep invasives at bay.
Other projects are under way at Hal Brown Park at Creekside, Mount Burdell Open Space Preserve and Gary Giacomini Open Space Preserve.
UC Marin Master Gardeners is pleased to be part of native plant restoration in Marin’s beautiful open spaces, improving wildlife habitat and adding to the enjoyment of human visitors.
by Faith Brown