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Marin IJ Articles

Wild west gardening

  • Nanette Londeree
  • Want a flavor of the early Western frontier, replete with California sagebrush, desert cacti and succulents, along with tumbleweeds and native grasses from the Great Plains? Come to the Marin County Fair and be transported to the bygone days as the Marin Master Gardeners present “Landscapes of the Wild West.”

    With a broad display of drought-tolerant plants native to the American West, you can explore the art of gardening with plant species that require little to no water and learn to develop your own water-wise landscape. Drought or no drought, reducing water usage in your garden will save you money and conserve an important natural resource.

    “We’ve made the leap from accepting drought to embracing it,” says Master Gardener co-president Pat Randolph. “We have an amazing palette of plants to choose from, ones that thrived in the West before we ever even thought about irrigating our landscapes.”

    Along with the display of plants, our garden experts will be on hand to share their expertise on a variety of topics, including:

    • “Just for Kids” — 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. July 1

    UC Marin Master Gardeners from the Marin County Farm Day program will guide budding young gardeners through an arts and crafts project that aids in their learning about soil, flowers, roots and bugs, and creating a vivid scene they can take home and enjoy.

    • “Consider Your Irrigation Technique” — 1 to 4 p.m. July 2

    As we face another drought year, learn how to conserve water while helping your garden thrive. UC Marin Master Gardener experts will be available to discuss the basics of irrigation, setting irrigation timers and watering schedules, and how to make the switch to drip irrigation. You’ll get some hands-on tricks along with answers to your questions.

    • “Creating a Vibrant, Low Water-use Garden” — 1 to 4 p.m. July 3

    You can have a gorgeous, bountiful garden brimming with flowers, colors and textures along with birds, bees and butterflies, all on a water-wise budget. Get tips on finding the right plants for your particular needs, location and conditions, improving your soil using compost and mulch, effective irrigation techniques and the abundant variety of readily available low water use plants.

    • Succulents of All Things — 1 to 4 p.m. July 4

    Want to create your own beautiful succulent garden? If you have a window box or cool recycled container, or if you want to transform a tired square of your garden into a succulent haven, our experts will share information about design considerations, soil mixture, color, balance and caring for these dynamic hard-working low-water use plants

    • “Edibles in Dry Climates” — 1 to 4 p.m. July 5

    Edibles Guild experts will offer tips for growing edibles with less water. Learn the most important water-wise practices you can use now in your edible garden, along with strategies for design, plant care, soil conservation and irrigation to help reduce water consumption in the years to come.

    Drop by the Master Gardeners tent from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. July 1 to 5 for a trip back to the Wild West. Volunteers will be available to answer questions about your home garden and provide information on the Master Gardener Program and our many countywide projects, educational programs and events.