- Author: Janet Hartin
It's a scary time of year! Plants are amazing life forms, coming in a wide array of forms, shapes, and colors. Here are some of my favorite Halloween plants that are sure to scare the living daylights out of you!
Doll's Eyes (Actaea pachypoda)
Devil's Claw or Ram's Horn (Proboscidea louisianica)
This unfriendly looking species is native to the South Central USA and sports a unique horn-shaped pod. In addition to its attention-grabbing visual appeal, pigments contained in the pod are used for black dyes by several Native American tribes.
Bleeding Tooth Fungus (Hydellum peckii)
White Ghosts or Indian Pipes (Monotropa uniflora)
These eye-catching specimens have bright white droopy flowers reminiscent of ghosts found in spooky dark, dank basements. They hide in shady spots and live in a symbiotic relationship with a fungus in their roots providing food.
- Author: Lauren Snowden
Volunteers don't necessarily have the time; they just have the heart! – Elizabeth Andrew
Volunteers make a huge impact in counties across the entire state of California, from educating the public on sustainable landscaping practices to saving millions of gallons of water a year in home landscape use. Thank you for sharing your valuable time and volunteering with the UC Master Gardener Program. We hope you consider applying for reappointment and that you continue to serve as a volunteer for the UC Master Gardener Program for the next year fiscal year (July 1 – June 30). Volunteer appointments are made annually and serve as an agreement between the volunteer and the University of California.
Annual reappointment is required for all volunteers working under the UC Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources and the UC Master Gardener Program. Please read this how-to guide thoroughly and direct any questions regarding the reappointment process to your county's Program Coordinator, Advisor or County Director.
Reappointment begins June 1 and must be completed by all Active, Limited Active, First-Year, Gold Badge and Platinum Badge volunteers. If you haven't finished the process already, it can be done in three easy steps!
Step One: Select “Complete Agreement Now” in VMS
- Log into VMS, vms.ucanr.edu
- Select “Complete Agreement Now” from prompt box at top of VMS home screen
Step Two: Complete all three sections to fulfill county requirements for participation
Step Three: Verify Date Completed displays and Print a copy for your records
Quick Tips and FAQ's:
Who must complete the reappointment process? The Appointment process is mandatory for all UCCE Master Gardeners / Master Food Preservers, including:
- Limited Active
- Gold Badge
- Platinum Badge
How many hours do I need to volunteer for reappointment? The minimum hours required to remain a certified UCCE Master Gardener / UCCE Master Food Preserver are:
- 25 hours - Volunteer
- 12 hours - Continuing education
- Date Range - 7/1/2015 - 6/30/2016
Note: First year UCCE Master Gardeners / UCCE Master Food Preservers are required to complete a minimum of 50 volunteer hours (no continuing education requirement) before the next certification cycle.
2015 marks the 45th anniversary of Earth Day, which is celebrated by more than 1 billion people worldwide. The national theme for this year's Earth Day is It's Our Turn to Lead, a phrase that directly describes the more than 6,000 UC Master Gardener volunteers actively leading in their local communities.
UC Master Gardeners are critical in supporting UC Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources' (UC ANR) strategic initiatives for healthy communities, healthy environments and healthy plants across the state of California.
“UC Master Gardener volunteers represent the most passionate and dedicated group of people I have encountered,” said Missy Gable, statewide director of the UC Master Gardener Program, “they are enthusiastic about sharing their knowledge of research-based gardening information with the public and their commitment of time to this practice is both generous and inspiring. UC Master Gardeners are an unbelievable resource for all residents in California and I want to recognize their efforts this Earth Day. Volunteers are taking the lead to provide sound advice to CA gardeners as we all work to use water appropriately, connect to our food systems and protect our environment.”
Join us on Earth Day 2015!
Perhaps you've seen your local UC Master Gardeners answering questions at the Farmer's Market or you've read an article by a volunteer in your local paper. If the 45th anniversary of Earth Day has inspired you to become more active with your environment, consider connecting with your local UC Master Gardener Program.
Sample of UC Master Gardener Events Happening Across the State the Week of Earth Day:
- Calaveras County:
Open Garden Day
April 25, 10 am – 2 pm
- Contra Costa County:
Antioch High School Earth Day Festival
April 22, 12 – 3 pm
Lafayette Earth Day Festival
April 26, 11 am – 3 pm
- El Dorado County
Rainwater Harvesting/Greywater Use
April 25, 9 am – 12 pm
- Lake County:
Yuba College Earth Day
April 22, 10 am – 1 pm
- Napa County:
Earth Day Celebration
April 25, 10 am – 3 pm
Sierra College Earth Day 2015
April 22, 10 am – 3 pm
- Sacramento County:
Plant Clinic - Greener Gardens Expo and Garden Tour
April 25, 10 am – 3 pm
- San Diego County:
Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton Earth Day Celebration
April 22, 11 am – 2 pm
- Santa Clara County:
Earth Day - San Jose
April 22, 10 am – 3 pm
- Sonoma County:
Drip Irrigation - Rincon
April 25, 10:30 am – 12:30 pm
- Ventura County:
Front Yard Landscape Irrigation and Water Usage
April 22, 1 – 3 pm
UC Master Gardener volunteers receive University training in horticulture from experts in the field, mostly UC Cooperative Extension Advisors and Specialists. In exchange for training, UC Master Gardener volunteers extend research-based information on sustainable home horticulture practices to the public. Whether you are looking to reduce your landscape water use, grow tomatoes or even become a UC Master Gardener yourself, volunteers are ready to help you. Find a program or event near you!
Standing in the usually snow-packed Sierra Nevada Mountains, Gov. Jerry Brown called for a mandatory reduction of water use across California the beginning of this month. For the first time in the state a required water conservation action has been called, shedding light on the severity of California's drought conditions.
At the direction of Gov. Brown the State Water Resources Control Board will require local water districts to impose a 25 percent water restrictions on all resident's water use.
These new mandatory restrictions have left many home gardeners to wonder what this means for their home landscape.
Reducing Water Use in the Garden
According to The California Garden Web, an informational website about gardening hosted by the UC Master Gardener Program, water use in the home landscape can often be easily reduced by 20 to 40 percent because overwatering is a common mistake by homeowners. Slowly start to reduce water supplied to plants over the course of a few weeks, giving the plants time to adapt to the change.
It is important for residents to remember to not introduce new plants to your landscape during a severe drought. Even California native plants aren't drought-tolerant until they become well established. When water restrictions are lifted and new plants can be introduced, select drought-tolerant varieties appropriate for your climate zone.
Planting in the fall as opposed to the spring allows plants to become established by winter rains. Residents should prioritize water use in their landscape, saving established trees and large shrubs first because they are typically more expensive to replace and require years to mature.
UC Master Gardener Program Offers Help
The UC Master Gardener Program has volunteers across the state, trained by University of California Cooperative Extension (UCCE), available to answer the public's questions about how to save established trees, plants and reduce water use in their yards.
Many of the program's 50 county-based locations offer free to the public hotline services, home irrigation analysis and workshops for the public that are aimed at helping California's residents reduce their water use. Contact a local UC Master Gardener Program for more water saving information and resources.
The new second edition of the California Master Gardener Handbook from the UC Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources (UC ANR) is a great resource for drought tips and home landscape water conservation methods. With an extensive chapter dedicated to water conservation methods, best practices for irrigation, plant selection, and tips for protecting water quality in urban landscapes.
Another great option is to use the irrigation worksheet for homeowners that was recently developed by Dr. Loren Oki, CE Specialist, Landscape Horticulture with UC ANR and UC Davis. The worksheet is designed to calculate an irrigation schedule for a landscape zone for one calendar year.
The trusted California Master Gardener handbook is a valuable resource that is packed with research-based information and more than 21 in-depth home horticulture topics. The handbook offers advice on home vegetable gardening, plant propagation, landscape design, insects, water management, weeds and much much more!
What's new inside?
The completely redesigned handbook has updated tables, graphics and color photos throughout. Technical information has been updated by University and industry experts and the handbook is more reader-friendly with a reorganized flow of information.
“The second edition handbook has been a true labor of lots of hard work and dedication and the result shows! The handbook includes many updates and expanded coverage of important topics of interest to UC Master Gardeners and avid backyard gardeners as well. The Water Management chapter include timely topics such as use of graywater and more coverage of edibles than the first edition. Controlling Garden Pests Safely, Landscape and Garden Design, Poisonous Plants and other chapters have been updated and expanded to reflect accurate information pertinent to the needs of today's environmentally-conscientious gardeners.” - Janet Hartin, Environmental Horticulture Advisor, San Bernardino, Riverside and Los Angeles Counties and UC ANR Environmental Horticulture Associate Editor
How to order
“We received our new handbooks yesterday and believe me, they are well worth the wait--a beautiful publication that we can all be extremely proud to have as our primary educational resource. Congratulations and thanks to everyone at UC ANR who worked on updating this truly impressive publication!!” - Linda Baity, Program Coordinator, Santa Clara County
If you are a currently certified UC Master Gardener volunteer check with your local program coordinator about purchasing the new publication. All active UC Master Gardeners receive a 40 percent discount on the publication which retails for $37 to the public. Members of the public can order a copy of the publication through a local UC Master Gardener Program or by using the UC ANR online catalog.
Do you already have a copy of the new handbook? We'd love to hear your feedback in the comments section below!