The upcoming Paul Schrader film, "Master Gardener," fuses the gripping elements of a thriller with the serene world of horticulture, crafting a narrative that contrasts the real-life commitment of a UC Master Gardener.
The drama “Master Gardener” brings to the screen the journey of meticulous horticulturist, Narvel Roth (played by Joel Edgerton), whose tranquil life at Gracewood Gardens - a magnificent estate managed for wealthy dowager Mrs. Haverhill (Sigourney Weaver) - gets entangled in a web of dark secrets with the arrival of Mrs. Haverhill's troubled great-niece, Maya (Quintessa Swindell).
This film draws parallels between this captivating story and the dedication of real-life UC Master Gardeners, who are similarly committed to fostering growth, not just in gardens, but also in their communities. The intriguing blend of thrilling drama with the art and science of gardening provides a fascinating backdrop to the film. Interestingly, it's also a nod towards the real-life commitment and expertise demanded from UC Master Gardener volunteers.
In the real world, becoming a UC Master Gardener isn't about unlocking dark secrets but rather about unlocking the secrets of nature. It requires a willingness to learn, dedication, and a keen eye for detail – traits our fictional Master Gardener, Narvel Roth, seems to have.
The journey to becoming a UC Master Gardener can be as intriguing (though, fortunately, far less dangerous!) as the plot of Schrader's film. Joining the UC Master Gardener Program begins with robust training with 50 hours of instruction in horticulture fundamentals. From understanding plant biology, integrated pest management, soil health, to irrigation principles, the learning curve is steep but rewarding.
Much like Narvel, UC Master Gardeners in real life spend a significant portion of their time nurturing gardens and landscapes. They are deeply committed to the plants in their care, developing a bond that might seem strange to those who don't share this passion. However, the role of a UC Master Gardener extends far beyond gardening for personal enjoyment. They are volunteers at heart, dedicated to sharing their knowledge with their community. This might involve educational programs, workshops, or community garden projects – a far cry from the chaos that descends upon Narvel and his new apprentice.
The film, as thrilling as it promises to be, paints a stark contrast to the joyful, community-focused reality of a UC Master Gardener. Yet, both convey the same underlying message: gardening is a serious commitment and a lifelong passion that can require dedication, patience, and constant learning.
So, as we await the edge-of-the-seat suspense and drama of "Master Gardener," let's raise a toast to the real-life UC Master Gardeners who, amidst their toil with soil, seeds, and shears, continue to bring beauty, knowledge, and growth to our communities. Without the added drama, of course!
If you are interested in learning more about becoming a UC Master Gardener volunteer, please visit our website at mg.ucanr.edu/findus, and connect with your local county program. Here, you'll find information about the next training class and how to take the first step toward becoming part of the UC Master Gardener community.
It's time to come together and support the UC Master Gardener Program's mission, mark your calendars! On May 18-19, from noon to noon the UC Master Gardener Program is launching its statewide giving day, UC ANR Giving Day. This special event invites you to join hands and contribute to our mission of extending sustainable gardening practices to thousands of community, school, and demonstration gardens across California. By donating to the UC Master Gardener Program, you can help bring the knowledge and resources of the University to your local community.
Get ready to dig deep, spread the word, and make a difference!
As gardeners, we understand the importance of sustainable practices in nurturing green spaces and preserving the natural environment. The UC Master Gardener Program has been at the forefront of promoting sustainable gardening for decades, empowering individuals and communities to cultivate vibrant and resilient gardens. By supporting the UC Master Gardener Program, you contribute to the advancement of sustainable gardening practices throughout the state, fostering healthier gardens and communities.
UC ANR Giving Day offers various ways for you to show your support and get involved. Whether you are an avid gardener, a passionate environmentalist, or simply someone who recognizes the value of sustainable practices, there's a place for you in this collective effort.
- Make a Gift:
Visit donate.ucanr.edu/givingday during the 24-hour giving day on May 18-19 (noon to noon). Every donation, regardless of size, makes a significant impact on the UC Master Gardener Program's ability to continue its valuable work. Whether you contribute $5 or $500, your support helps fund educational resources, outreach programs, and training opportunities for dedicated UC Master Gardener volunteers who drive sustainable gardening efforts across the state.
- Help Spread the Word:
Mark your calendar and spread the word about UC ANR Giving Day! Share the event details with your friends, family, and fellow gardening enthusiasts. Encourage them to join you in supporting this important cause. Together, we can create a ripple effect of positive change by raising awareness and inspiring others to get involved.
- Engage on Social Media:
On May 18-19, be part of the excitement by joining in the conversation on social media. Use the hashtag #GivingDay to share your support for UC ANR Giving Day. Let your online community know why sustainable gardening is important to you. Together, we can amplify our message and inspire others to take action.
UC ANR Giving Day is an opportunity to unleash the power of giving and support sustainable gardening practices across California. By supporting the UC Master Gardener Program and UC ANR, you contribute to the extension of knowledge and resources to communities across California. Remember to mark your calendar for May 18-19, and join in the celebration of sustainable gardening. Let's dig deep, donate, spread the word, and make a lasting impact together!
To make your contribution and learn more about UC ANR Giving Day, visit donate.ucanr.edu/givingday.
It's California Wildfire Preparedness Week 2023 (May 1-8), it serves as a crucial reminder of the importance of preparing home landscapes to help mitigate wildfire risks. With the increasing threat of wildfires in California, adopting preventive measures and adapting landscapes can significantly reduce the vulnerability of homes and communities.
UC ANR fire and natural resource advisers developed strategies for homeowners to make adjustments for a home that is more resilient to wildfire.
Design and implement a defensible space:
- Create fuel breaks surrounding your house and within your garden.
- Create space vertically and horizontally via plant placement and pruning.
- Use hardscape and noncombustible materials around structures and to separate individual plants and groups of plants.
- Use the right plants in the right places with fire, climate, and irrigation needs in mind.
- Create plant islands that have similar sun, nutrient, and water needs.
- Replace combustible gates that attach to the house with materials that will not burn.
Maintain your landscape:
- Keep your garden free from dry and dead wood, dry grasses, and leaf litter, especially near any structures.
- Prune plants to provide horizontal and vertical space throughout your garden and surrounding structures.
- Eliminate fire ladders. A grass fire can move up into shrubs and then into trees.
- Hydrate plants with a water-wise irrigation system. Use non-combustible mulches near the house.
Fire-resistant landscaping is a critical aspect of wildfire preparedness. The UC Master Gardener Program plays a vital role in educating and assisting Californians in creating fire-resistant landscapes and implementing best practices to protect their properties. UC Master Gardener volunteers help guide homeowners in designing and maintaining their landscapes to reduce fire risks. Planting fire-resistant ground covers, shrubs, and trees, as well as maintaining proper spacing between plants and removing dead vegetation can significantly minimize the spread of wildfires.
California Wildfire Preparedness Week 2023 serves as a reminder of the importance of creating fire-resistant home landscapes to protect our communities from wildfires. UC Master Gardener volunteers help provide education and assistance to homeowners through community workshops, webinars, and other outreach events. For information on an event or workshop near you connect with your local UC Master Gardener Program by visiting: https://mg.ucanr.edu/FindUs/.
By working together, we can foster wildfire preparedness and resilience, ensuring the safety of our communities in the face of increasing wildfire threats!
- UC ANR Fire in California, https://ucanr.edu/sites/fire/Prepare/
- Ready for Wildfire: http://ReadyForWildfire.org
UC Master Gardeners create positive change in their communities by teaching gardening skills and improving food access. In this feature, we recognize several exceptional volunteers, recognized as Gardeners with Heart, who have demonstrated unwavering dedication and made a significant impact in their communities. We invite you to explore their inspiring stories and join us in celebrating their invaluable contributions!
Florence Nishida has dedicated her time to teaching vegetable gardening in South Los Angeles. Florence's work has made gardening accessible to countless new gardeners, many of whom come from low-income backgrounds across Los Angeles County. She was one of the first UC Master Gardeners to teach “Grow LA Vegetable Gardening” classes helping residents learn how to grow their food. Florence also shares her talents and expertise in growing Asian vegetables through workshops and community events.
As the co-founder of LA Green Grounds, Florence has helped convert vacant spaces into edible gardens, creating a network of community gardens throughout South Los Angeles. She also played a pivotal role in legalizing edible gardening in parkways in the City of Los Angeles, which helped increase food access for residents in food desserts. Florence's tireless efforts have built strong connections with community organizations, establishing a lasting presence for the UC Master Gardener Program across Los Angeles County.
Barbara Davidge's unwavering commitment to public education and community engagement has made a remarkable difference in the UC Master Gardener Program in Monterey County. As the driving force behind the Portable Edible Garden project, she offers bi-lingual instruction and resources for families to cultivate culturally meaningful herbs and vegetables. The project's primary goal is to address food insecurity and foster healthy eating habits among local communities, with a focus on reaching underserved populations. The Portable Edible Garden classes deliver bi-lingual education in a classroom setting, coupled with hands-on training at the Cesar Chavez Library in Salinas and, upon completion, at the UC Teaching and Demonstration Garden in Salinas. Participants receive a portable garden to take home and grow herbs and vegetables to nourish their families. Funds raised from community partners and individual gifts help ensure that each attendee leaves with the necessary materials to grow their food gardens successfully.
Noreen Goff & Ed Morin
Noreen Goff and Ed Morin have brought the joy of tomato tasting to Amador County by organizing an annual event at their local Farmer's Market. Noreen and Ed help promote food literacy and engage with their community encouraging more people to grow unique varieties of tomatoes and other vegetables. The tomato tasting is a fun and interactive way for people to learn more about the UC Master Gardener Program of Amador County and helps to build connections and program awareness. By handling everything from communications, recruiting and training volunteers, coordinating logistics, and finding judges for the event, their dedication to outreach is truly commendable!
We are incredibly grateful for the dedication, passion, and hard work that Florence Nishida, Barbara Davidge, Noreen Goff, and Ed Morin demonstrate. These exceptional UC Master Gardener volunteers have significantly impacted their communities by promoting food growing, increasing access to fresh fruits and vegetables, and fostering connections among community members.
Each of their stories inspires all of us who care deeply about gardening, education, and improving the lives of those around us. Their creativity, enthusiasm, and tireless efforts are what make the UC Master Gardener Program a driving force for positive change in communities across California. We extend our heartfelt gratitude to these Gardeners with Heart and look forward to seeing their continued impact in the years to come. Thank you, Florence, Barbara, Noreen, and Ed, for all that you do!
About National Volunteer Month and Gardeners with Heart
During National Volunteer Month (April 1 - 30), the UC Master Gardener Program celebrates its 6,300 incredible UC Master Gardener volunteers and their contributions to California communities. Throughout the National Volunteer Week, will feature stories of special volunteers or Gardeners with Heart from across the state who use their skills to improve program delivery. Gardener's with Heart volunteers were nominated by their local county leadership for the impact they make every day in their communities.
We are thrilled to introduce you to six outstanding UC Master Gardener volunteers: Nanette Londeree, Marie Narlock, Lisa Stahr, Husam Yousef, Alex Shippee, and Paula Pashby. These talented UC Master Gardeners have earned recognition as Gardeners with Heart due to their remarkable contributions as sustainable landscaping stewards within their communities. Join us as we showcase the inspiring work of these exceptional gardeners and celebrate their unwavering dedication to nurturing the environment and enriching the lives of those around them!
Nanette Londeree and Marie Narlock
Nanette Londeree and Marie Narlock took up the challenge to lead the charge for sustainable practices in Marin County. They developed Earth-Friendly Gardening, a project promoting environmentally conscious gardening techniques. As a result of their efforts, they've reached thousands of people through videos, webpages, and a demonstration garden at the Marin County Fair. Their work has laid the foundation for new member training, public outreach lectures, and more in the UC Master Gardeners of Marin community.
Lisa Stahr joined the UC Master Gardener program in Sonoma County in 2022 with a clear mission: to spread the word about the vital role California native plants play in our global environmental struggle. As a UC ANR California Naturalist, Lisa combines her Master Gardener and Naturalist training with her marketing expertise to educate others about the importance of choosing, growing, and maintaining native plants. Her ongoing video series builds awareness and inspires everyone to nurture native plants, support wildlife, and rebuild fragile ecosystems one backyard at a time. “People should know that by providing "nurseries" for local insects, food for bees, moths, and birds, and shelter for a wide range of insects, birds, and mammals, native plants can have an outsized role in increasing biodiversity, rebuilding lost habitat, and combatting climate change within our own communities,” shares Lisa.
Husam Yousef and Alex Shippee
Husam Yousef is a dedicated leader in the Trees for Tomorrow project, providing tree care talks and free trees to residents in low-shade neighborhoods all around San Bernardino County. Over the past three years, more than 900 trees have been given away, thanks to Husam's commitment and expertise in tree planting and care. He's helped ensure these trees grow strong and healthy, maximizing their societal and ecosystem benefits.
Alex Shippee is a talented graphic designer and translator who has contributed significantly to the Trees for Tomorrow project. Alex's work has enabled over 100 residents to receive trees and care information in both English and Spanish in just six months. His dedication has ensured the longevity and impact of the project as well as helped to ensure the benefit of climate-adapted trees for anyone in San Bernardino County.
Paula Pashby is a passionate gardener who's always eager to make new connections within her community in Solano County. She's been instrumental in the restoration of the Pena Adobe Garden, a native plant garden that had fallen into disrepair. Through her outreach efforts, Paula has connected with various community groups, helping to raise awareness of sustainable gardening and the importance of pollinators.
We celebrate the remarkable Gardeners with Heart – Nanette, Marie, Lisa, Husam, Alex, and Paula – for their unwavering dedication to sustainable landscaping and environmental stewardship. Their collective efforts have made a tangible difference in their communities and serve as an inspiration to all of us. We thank them for their invaluable service and for encouraging everyone to embrace sustainability and make a positive impact on the environment.
About National Volunteer Month and Gardeners with Heart