Master Gardener Monthly Newsletter

November 2023

Featured Articles

Tompkins Stairway Garden, San Francisco

Google Volunteers and Master Gardeners have made an impact at Tompkins Stairway Garden in San Francisco. On Wednesday, October 18, 2023, 50 Google volunteers with guidance from Master Gardeners helped with a fall cleanup of the Tompkins Stairway Garden. HandsOn Bay Area helped connect the Google Energy/Data Team, responsible for all aspects of data center development and construction worldwide with this fun day of customized volunteer service. Read more.

The Wonder of Fibonacci in Our Gardens

UC Master Gardeners

Enjoyment of the world around us and in our gardens is a deep-rooted and multifaceted aspect of the human experience. The serenity of a well-maintained and organized green space that includes vibrant colors of blooming flowers, branching of trees, the arrangement of seeds in many plants, and the arrangement of leaves on a stem are some of the many reasons why people derive such pleasure from gardens. The human brain has evolved to recognize patterns in the environment, and the Fibonacci sequence and golden ratio can be seen as pleasing patterns that are both simple and complex. Read more.

Upcoming Events

Checklists for


UC Master Gardeners

Find information for the current season, or view other seasonal checklists using the left panel of our main website.

Plant Clinic at the San Mateo Arboretum

UC Master Gardeners

San Mateo Arboretum in Central Park

101 9th Avenue

San Mateo, CA 94401

November 5, 2023, 12:00pm-3:00pm

Master Gardeners will be available to answer your questions from general information to advice about specific problems. Bring samples of your problem plants in clear plastics bags for better diagnosis. If you suspect insect damage, try to include some of the insects so they can be correctly identified. Registration is not required.

Cover Crops Help Climate Change

UC Master Gardeners

Lyngso Garden Materials

Zoom presentation

November 8, 2023, 1:00pm-3:00pm

This is an updated presentation about the many benefits of cover cropping. The amazing ability of cover crops to sequester carbon into your soil and all the benefits that does for your soil. Learn about many successes as well as mistakes. Registration is required.

Serramonte Farmers Market

UC Master Gardeners Education Table

Serramonte Mall

133 Serramonte Center

Daly City, CA 94015

November 9, 2023, 9:00am-1:00pm

Visit the UC Master Gardener education table at the Serramonte Farmers Market. Master Gardener volunteers are available every other Thursday to answer questions regarding plants, planting techniques and more. The Farmers' Market is located behind Macy's. No registration required.

Sheet Mulching Workshop

UC Master Gardeners

Burlingame Public Library, Lane Room

480 Primrose Road

Burlingame, CA 94010

November 18, 2023, 10:00am-12:00pm

Learn how to remove a lawn without tearing it out. Introducing sheet mulching: a simple technique used to remove a lawn without using pesticides while also enriching the soil. Sheet mulching involves placing a biodegradable weed barrier on top of bare soil, weeds, or mowed grass. The weed barrier consists of layers of mulch, compost, and cardboard that mimics the way that layers of leaves build up on forest floors and break down naturally. This workshop will consist of a classroom lecture to go over the basics of sheet mulching followed by a hands-on demonstration where you will have an opportunity to roll up your sleeves and join us as we sheet mulch part of the lawn at Burlingame City Hall. Registration is required.

Divisadero Farmers Market

UC Master Gardeners Education Table

1377 Fell Street

San Francisco, CA 94117

November 19, 2023, 9:00am-1:00pm

Visit the UC Master Gardener education table at the Divisadero Farmers’ Market. Master Gardener volunteers will be available every third Sunday to answer questions regarding plants, planting techniques, garden pests, and more. The Farmers Market is open Sundays year-round, 9:00am-1:00pm. Read more.

Landscape Fabric: A Cautionary Tale

UC Master Gardeners

Do those nice, neat rolls of “weed blocking” fabric seem like the perfect solution in your battle against unwanted vegetation? Visions of freeing oneself from this perennial struggle are enticing and the task seems simple enough: just lay it on the soil, cover with an attractive layer of mulch and the foul demon weeds that lie in wait will wither and die in the darkness. Read more

Plant Notes and Slides

UC Master Gardeners

Our goal is to have plant information tailored to our region, in a thorough and concise format, to make it easy to learn about, grow, and maintain each featured plant. View various images of plants, along with their descriptions. Read more

Giving Tuesday -- Save the Date!

November 28, 2023

Coming soon, an article will be posted on our website about Giving Tuesday on November 28, 2023. What is new will be the option to donate to the SMSF Master Gardener Endowment Fund. Read more about the Endowment Fund.

Nature's Seed

Nature’s Seed is proud to offer a curated selection of native seed in partnership with California seed producers, farmers, and wildland collectors. Beyond their native statuses, they also offer specific ecotypes for many of these species that ensures the most locally adapted grasses, wildflowers, and forbs available for California landowners. Read more.

Our Mission Statement

Our Mission Statement is to extend research-based knowledge and information on home horticulture, pest management, and sustainable landscape practices to the residents of California and be guided by our core values and strategic initiatives. Follow us on WebsiteFacebook, Instagram, Threads, X, and YouTube.

Gardening Resources


Choose the affected plant from photos displayed, click on the photo, remove any selections that do not apply, click on the plant names, and continue to filter selections to view the results for a possible diagnoses. Learn more.


Select links to access gardening resources, California Backyard Orchard, Integrated Pest Management (IPM), publications, and finding a local Master Gardener program.  Learn more.


Do you need help picking plants for your sustainable home garden? Selecting from the “Arboretum All-Stars” list is an easy way to start making “green” choices for your great looking garden. Arboretum All-Stars are top plants recommended by the horticultural staff of the UC Davis Arboretum. They thrive in California’s Mediterranean climate and have qualities that make them great choices for sustainable home gardens. Use searchable plant database to pick the perfect All-Star for your garden conditions. For more information, view their website.


Looking for plants native to California that are not only pretty but are pollinators and drought resistant? A few resources are: Xerces SocietyCalifornia Native Plant Society, and Calflora, Or try a native plant database for plants within your zip code. This website will help you find the best native plants specifically for your area that attract butterflies and moths and the birds that feed on their caterpillars, based on the scientific research of Dr. Douglas Tallamy and Research Assistant Kimberley Shropshire.


Browse the website to see all plants on the California Invasive Plant Council inventory, including both invasive plants and “watch” species. Clicking on the scientific name will take you to the Plant Profile where you will find links to more information on the plant.

Ask a Master Gardener

 UC Master Gardener volunteers are ready help you and your garden. Have a question about gardening? Have a pest problem? Curious about what will grow well in your region? Submit your inquiry online. Or visit the Master Gardener Helpline by phone, email, on the web, or in person. For more information visit our website.

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