UC Master Gardener Program
University of California
UC Master Gardener Program

UC Master Gardener Program News:

We’ve launched! VMS 3.1 Ready to Soar

While the UC Master Gardener Program has been around since the 1980s, thankfully our technology has changed with the times. Most recently, the Volunteer Management System (VMS) received its long overdue upgrade – we've launched version 3.1! 

VMS 3.1 has a responsive design for tablets and smart phones, making it easier to navigate and enter hours from the field.

Great feedback was collected from volunteers and coordinators to lay the foundation for the new system. VMS 3.1 maintains all the functionality of the old system with up-to-date branding and design. Additionally, VMS 3.1 has many of the new features YOU requested. 

New features and upgrades were added to enhance the system, based on feedback from counties across the state.

Check out what's new!

  • Updated hours display (year and lifetime)
  • User-centric navigation
  • Automatic alerts and reminders
  • Search bars
  • ... and so much more!

It's exciting to have a system designed specifically to meet the needs of the UC Master Gardener Program. Enjoy the new features built just for you! If you have any feedback for future improvements, please submit your comments through the Feedback Survey at ucanr.edu/vmsfeedback

Need help? 

If you have any questions about the new system, help is only a click away. Check out our VMS help page, which includes a new VMS User's Guide and How-To videos for commonly used functions. See for yourself at: ucanr.edu/sites/vmshelp.

Posted on Thursday, April 26, 2018 at 1:09 PM
  • Author: Katelyn Ogburn

PlantRight Takes Time Out on Survey in 2018

A volunteer looks for invasive plants being sold as part of PlantRight's Spring Nursery Survey. (Photo credit: PlantRight)
The UC Master Gardener Program and its volunteers have been a key partner in PlantRight's annual Spring Nursery Survey  since its inception in 2010. Last year marked the 8th year of the Survey, and thanks to UC Master Gardener volunteers, it was a huge success!

2017 by the numbers:

  • 172 volunteers
  • 332 garden centers
  • 45 counties

According to PlantRight's Spring Nursery Survey Fact Sheet, the rate of nurseries selling invasive plants continues to decline. In 2014, 44% of nurseries surveyed were selling locally invasive plants; this rate dropped to 35% in 2015, to 31% in 2016, and 29% in 2017. 

Of the nurseries that were selling any invasive plants in 2017, only 8% had more than one species of invasive plant for sale. This is down from 2016, when 10% of stores (that sold any invasive plants) had more than one invasive plant for sale.

Mexican feathergrass (Stipa tenuissima) was a wildly popular invasive plant being sold in nurseries across Calif. (Photo credit: PlantRight).

No Spring Nursery Survey in 2018

PlantRight will not be conducting the Spring Nursery Survey in 2018. This one year break from the survey allows PlantRight to make a more concerted statewide outreach effort to landscape professionals (e.g. architects, designers and contractors), and the most influential water districts promoting sustainable landscaping.

Successfully engaging these professionals and districts will accelerate PlantRight's work to keep invasive plants off California wildlands and promote climate appropriate alternatives. That's because these groups have significant influence on the nursery supply chain -- what horticultural growers grow, what plants get specified in landscape design, and the plant material that contractors source. Engaging water districts is a cost effective way to educate members of the gardening public, especially those interested in replacing thirsty lawns with lovely looking, climate appropriate landscape plants.

PlantRight provides alternative options to invasive plants like Highway iceplant(Carpobrotus edulis) - pictured here. (Photo credit: PlantRight)

Survey Pause is No Pause in Planting Right

This pause in surveying is in no way a pause in planting right. PlantRight.org remains a trusted resource for UC Master Gardener volunteers. Engage with PlantRight on social media, including: Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Instagram. Let PlantRight know about any good works or upcoming events so that it can share your news and announcements on social media or in its email newsletter. You can support PlantRight's Retail Nursery Partners by shopping at their stores.

Volunteers interested in learning more about invasive ornamental plants in California can still earn continuing education hours by completing PlantRight's Continuing Education Program. The online format makes it easy for anyone with an account to participate. After completing the curriculum, participants can pass a 12-question quiz and earn a certificate of achievement.

PlantRight is committed to being UC Master Gardener volunteer's go-to resource for science-based information about horticultural invasive plants. UC Master Gardener volunteers and coordinators can contact PlantRight anytime with questions, PlantRight@suscon.org

Questions? Contact:
Stephanie Falzone
PlantRight Project Manager
Email: sfalzone@suscon.org
Phone: (415) 977-0380 ext. 350

Posted on Thursday, February 1, 2018 at 8:46 AM
  • Author: Stephanie Falzone, PlantRight Project Manager

Thank you! We wish you the very best in 2018

The UC Master Gardener Program plays a critical role in extending research-based information to the public and simply put, we could not do it without people like you.

In 2017 you helped:

  • Extend sustainable landscaping practices to more than 2.1 million people in California!
  • Support more than 1,000 demonstration, community and school gardens around the state; creating beauty, outdoor classroom training opportunities, and increasing science literacy in schools, jails, hospitals, senior centers and more.
  • Combat food insecurity in our local communities by giving people the skills and knowledge to grow their own healthy fruits and vegetables.
  • Reduce pesticide use and inspire habitats for pollinators and other beneficial insects.

While we've had an incredible year as a program, we've also seen devastating loss with the fires that burned and continue to burn across California. We will continue to come together as a community and support one another, especially as our friends and colleagues deal with the overwhelming loss of their homes and property damage.

During the holiday season of giving, those interested in providing support can submit their contact information into the UC Master Gardener Fire Relief survey and be connected to local programs in need. Looking into the future we will work together to rebuild the gardens, landscapes and the communities we serve.

As we embark in the New Year we sincerely appreciate your efforts and thank you for the work you do to support the mission of the UC Master Gardener Program.

Happy holidays to you and yours!

Missy Gable 
Director, UC Master Gardener Program

Posted on Tuesday, December 19, 2017 at 12:26 PM

Raising Awareness and Support On #GivingTuesday

Thanks to passionate UC Master Gardener volunteers, partners and friends, we raised $10,050 during #GivingTuesday!

Social media was buzzing with activity and "UNselfies" celebrating the program for #GivingTuesday!
#GivingTuesday provided an opportunity to raise awareness and talk about the UC Master Gardener Program and the incredible volunteers that make a difference across California's landscape. Funds raised will be used for both local county initiatives, school, community, demonstrations gardens, and statewide funds raised will be used to support advanced training opportunities to volunteers across the state in 2018. 

The UC Master Gardener Program plays a critical role in extending research-based information to the public and simply put, we could not do it without people like you. 

In 2017 you helped:
  • Extend sustainable landscaping practices to more than 2.1 million people in California!
  • Support more than 1,000 demonstration, community and school gardens around the state; creating beauty, outdoor classroom training opportunities, and increasing science literacy in schools, jails, hospitals, senior centers and more.
  • Combat food insecurity in our local communities by giving people the skills and knowledge to grow their own healthy fruits and vegetables.
  • Reduce pesticide use and inspired habitats for pollinators and other beneficial insects. 

Social media was buzzing with activity on #GivingTuesday, with volunteers and program supporters sharing reasons why they love the program. "UNselfies" or unselfish selfies were posted in support of the incredible impacts the UC Master Gardener Program makes across California. Check out the fun slideshow of #UNSelfies that were shared across social media on #GivingTuesday! 

With much gratitude,

Missy Gable
Director
mjgable@ucanr.edu
(530) 750-1266

Posted on Thursday, December 7, 2017 at 9:20 AM

Halloween Plants that will Scare the BOO out of you!

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)

Doll's eyes plants are not only poisonous but host eyeball-like berries that are highly toxic to humans but don't harm most birds. Unless you're visiting friends or relatives or vacationing in the Midwest or Northeast USA you may never set your own orbs on this plant!


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)

This startling-looking fungus oozes fake blood through minute pores. (The red goo is actually a result of guttation that forces water into the roots during osmosis.) Fortunately for Southern Californian's, it is found mostly in the Pacific Northwest and Europe living peaceably in a symbiosis with conifers.

White Ghosts or Indian Pipes (Monotropa uniflora)

Photo credit: Jay Sturner / Flickr

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.

Happy Fall!
Janet

Posted on Monday, October 30, 2017 at 9:18 AM

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