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Get your garden on at the Marin County Fair

  • June 29, 2019
  • Doris Gates
  • The Fourth of July is coming up, and that means it’s time for the Marin County Fair, a favorite time of year for UC Marin Master Gardeners. As we do every year, our team is busy planning our exhibit.

    We always look forward to the fair as an opportunity to meet other Marin gardeners and to share our knowledge of Earth-friendly gardening practices. Docents will be available from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. July 3 through 7 to talk about our exhibit and to answer questions, although the fair stays open until 11 p.m. In addition, we will have speakers every afternoon, with presentations on plant care and plants suitable for Marin gardens.

    We will feature plants that are native to five regions around the world with Mediterranean climates like our own. In addition to California, these regions include the Mediterranean basin, western and southern Australia, the southwestern cape of South Africa, and a small area on the central coast of Chile.

    What is a Mediterranean climate?

    Regions with Mediterranean climates have weather patterns consisting of warm, dry summers and mild, wet winters. The name comes from the Mediterranean basin, which is the largest of these zones.

    Mediterranean climates usually occur on western or southwestern sides of continents, between 30 and 45 degrees north or south of the equator and near large bodies of water. At these latitudes, areas of high pressure during the summer are responsible for the lack of rainfall.

    Because of the climate similarities, plants native to all these regions are very much at home in Marin gardens. We will display a selection that is low-maintenance, drought-tolerant, pollinator-friendly and deer-resistant. You may be surprised to learn that some of your favorite plants come from far-away places.

    Over the moon garden

    This year, the overall theme for the fair is “Over the Moon,” commemorating the 50th anniversary of the first landing on the moon. In celebration of that theme, our exhibit will include a moon garden, also starring easy-care plants from Mediterranean climates.

    What is a moon garden? Generally speaking, it is a special garden planned to be attractive in the evening hours. Blossoms are usually white or pastel in color and shimmer in the moonlight. Often, they are aromatic. Foliage may be white, pale grey or silvery. Moon gardens are frequently placed near a patio or deck, to be leisurely enjoyed from a comfortable spot after sunset, perhaps with dinner or a cocktail.

    The day after the fair, we will have a plant sale at our booth, and most of the plants from our exhibit will be for sale from 8 to 11 a.m. July 8.

    Perhaps at next year’s fair, as a new UC Marin Master Gardener, you will help us plan and build our exhibit, be one of our docents, or even one of our speakers.