UC Master Gardeners of Butte County
University of California
UC Master Gardeners of Butte County

The Real Dirt Blog

Native Plants for Shade

Catalina perfume, Cindy Weiner

By Cindy Weiner, UC Master Gardener of Butte County, June 15, 2018 On our hot summer days, shady garden areas can offer welcome respite from the heat. One of the challenges of gardening in shade, though, is adding interest through color, because it can be difficult to find plants that bloom in shade. Incorporating native plants in your garden can greatly increase the choices available to you. One plant suitable for dry shade is Catalina perfume or evergreen currant (scientific name Ribes viburnifolium). Native to Catalina Island and Baja California, it is a small evergreen shrub with glossy dark green leaves that have a spicy fragrance. The arching red stems reach 3 feet tall and spread...

Posted on Friday, June 15, 2018 at 5:00 AM
Focus Area Tags: Yard & Garden

Oh, No, Not Fire Blight!

Fire blight on pear, J. Alosi

By Lynnde Sharpton, UC Master Gardener of Butte County, June 1, 2018 If you notice droopy, dried-out flower clusters on your pears, Asian pears, quince, apples or crabapples, fire blight may be the cause. Fire blight is caused by a bacterium and is a common and frequently destructive disease that shows up in April and May.  Fire blight can also affect pyracantha, ornamental pear trees, and some other landscape plants. The first sign of fire blight is often blackening of flowers, shoots or leaves followed by a watery, light tan ooze from affected shoots.  Open flowers are the most common infection site and remain susceptible until petal fall.  Initially, fire blight...

Posted on Friday, June 1, 2018 at 5:00 AM
Focus Area Tags: Yard & Garden

What’s New at the Master Gardener Demonstration Garden?

Butte All-Star Garden, L. Kling

By Brent McGhie, UC Master Gardener of Butte County, May 18, 2018.  The Butte County Master Gardener program began in 2008, and in 2013 the organization formed a partnership with the Patrick Ranch Museum.  As a result of this partnership, the Patrick Ranch Museum dedicated about an acre of land for the Master Gardeners to develop a series of gardens that demonstrate sustainable gardening practices and highlight climate appropriate plants for the home gardener. Most of California, including Butte County, is in a Mediterranean climate zone.  From a global viewpoint, Mediterranean zones are relatively uncommon.  In addition to California, Mediterranean climates exist...

Posted on Friday, May 18, 2018 at 5:00 AM
Focus Area Tags: Yard & Garden

For the Love of Bats

Mexican free-tailed bat surrounded by young

By Laura Lukes, UC Master Gardener of Butte County, May 4, 2018. Years ago, while standing at the mouth of a large cave, Dr. Shahroukh Mistry felt his face kissed by air that was stirred by the movement of millions of bat wings. These bats, lactating mothers, were leaving the cave for their nightly forage run, and he knew then that bats would not only replace birds as the topic of his scholarly research, but that they'd also become the focus of his career.  Dr. Mistry is a professor of biology at Butte College, and an adjunct professor of biology at CSU, Chico. He recently presented a talk titled “The Fascinating Biology of Bats” as part of the Butte County Master...

Posted on Friday, May 4, 2018 at 5:00 AM
Focus Area Tags: Yard & Garden

Getting Started When You Don’t Know What (or How!) to Plant

May Night Sage (Salvia 'May Night'), B. McGhie

By Emilee Fowkes Warne, UC Master Gardener of Butte County, April 13, 2018. The weather is warming up and it's difficult not to turn our attention to the outdoors.  Brightly colored flowers have begun to pop up in fields and yards, and for many of us the desire to plant something in the ground intensifies.  But what to plant?  Vegetables and herbs are relatively easy to understand, but flowers and foliage and shade versus sun — it can seem overwhelming!   Let's start from the beginning.  What does full sun really mean?  A plant requiring full sun needs at least 6 hours of direct sunlight each day in order to thrive.  If a plant that requires...

Posted on Friday, April 13, 2018 at 5:00 AM
Focus Area Tags: Yard & Garden

Pollinator Plants in the Home Garden

Scarlet bugler and foothill penstemons by B. McGhie

By Brent McGhie, UC Master Gardener of Butte County, March 30, 2018. Pollinators, animals that pollinate plants, are essential for the functioning of virtually all terrestrial ecosystems.  The most common pollinators are insects, including both social and solitary bees, butterflies, moths, beetles and flies.  Birds (primarily hummingbirds) and bats are the most common vertebrate pollinators.  Pollination is the transfer of pollen from the male part of the flower (the stamen) to the female part of the flower (the pistil).  Sperm cells from pollen fertilize a plant's eggs, resulting in the formation of seeds and the fruit that surrounds the seeds.  Pollinator...

Posted on Friday, March 30, 2018 at 5:00 AM
Focus Area Tags: Yard & Garden

Gardening Questions?


Visit or Call the Hotline
Wednesday 9-12pm
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Call 530-538-7201

Or, drop by the Butte County Cooperative Extension Office
2279-B Del Oro Avenue 
Oroville, CA 95965

Catch us in person at local Farmers’ Markets or at one of our informational booths. Check out where we'll be on the Events page.

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