Master Gardener Workshops
Western Municipal Water District partners with the University of California, Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources, University of California Cooperative Extension (UCCE) Master Gardener Program of Riverside County to host FREE monthly workshops that focus on gardening and efficient outdoor water use.
Workshops are hosted on the second Saturday of each month.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, workshops are being held virtually.
Incorporating California Natives into Your Landscape
Join us for a practical introduction to using our unique and diverse native plants in our landscapes. Topics will include: reasons for planting native species, things to know and do before you plant, basic planning and design considerations, planting and maintenance requirements and a review of some native plants that can be grown successfully in our area.
For the past 15 years, George's primary area of gardening interest has been California native plants, which now comprise approximately 70 percent of his own landscape. Landscape Integrity Films and Education (LIFE) produced a series of 23 short videos featuring native plants in George and his wife Elaine's yard. In addition to providing information on native plants, George has given presentations on Pollinator Gardening and Maximizing Enjoyment in Your Garden. George has been a docent at the UC Riverside Botanic Gardens since 2014, providing tours to youth and adult groups. He also hosted a series of short videos on California native plants at the Botanic Gardens. In 2020, George became a UCCE Master Gardener to expand his knowledge of sustainable gardening practices and provide information to the public. In 2022, he joined the Board of the Rivers and Lands Conservancy to support the conservation of our natural landscapes and habitats.
Oct. 14, 2023 | 10 a.m.
Speaker: George Spiliotis
Creating Fire-Resilient and Beautiful Landscapes
Native Landscapes of Color, Safety, & Water Efficiency
Come explore the wonders of our exclusive California native plants that have evolved with our local climate, soil types, and animals over thousands of years. Becky Levers will cover how you can add beauty to your yard by proper plant placement. California natives are, by necessity, efficient water users. They provide color and habitat for pollinators, butterflies, and birds throughout the year. And for those of us who must add defensible space techniques to our home landscaping, natives can be excellent choices.
May 13, 2023 | 10 a.m.
Speaker: Becky Leavers
Soil Health and Happy Tomatoes
Thurman will take us through the steps of soil preparation, proper irrigation, and sanitation which all play a part of your successful planting. Learn to choose and plant the right seedlings for you, whether you want hybrids, heirlooms, indeterminate or determinate. After discussing the structure and planting, we will look at the plant and the fruit to see how we should adjust to produce a great harvest.
April 8, 2023 | 10 a.m.
Speaker: Thurmand Howard
Home Composting — Build a five-star hotel for your worms!
Vermicompost has a number of benefits. Learn the ins and outs of home composting and what an enormous difference it can make in your own home garden. Healthy soil holds more water than a nutrient deficient soil. This is an easy money and water-saving practice available to all. Learn how to create and maintain your own five-star hotel for worms and many other beneficial bugs.
March 10, 2023 | 10 a.m.
Speaker: Kathy Steckman
Greywater 101: Your garden can flourish with greywater as a resource
Greywater can help you grow an abundant landscape, even in the face of drought. Brook Sarson will introduce you to greywater including policies and benefits. We will discuss what is greywater and what isn’t greywater, how to access your greywater, what is legal and what requires a permit, how to estimate your greywater volume, how to use greywater in your garden, and what loves greywater and what might not like greywater. You will leave with a better understanding of what is possible at your home, and how to engage a professional to help you install your greywater system or where to find the tools and resources to install your own greywater system.
February 11, 2023 | 10 a.m.
Speaker: Brook Sarson, Catching H2O
Permaculture in Your Own Garden
What if you could have the garden of your dreams using limited water, low maintenance, and no manufactured fertilizers, insecticides or herbicides? What if you could have this garden at low cost using natural materials that you may already have? This dream is very possible and easy to achieve through permaculture. Come meet Diane Kennedy of Finch Frolic. Her Permaculture Garden in Fallbrook is a food forest planted in poor soil and minimally watered with salty well water. However, it delivers fruit, nuts, herbs, medicine, building materials, flowers, and critical habitat without a drop of fertilizer. Food production is a large aspect of permaculture, yet the techniques can be used for agricultural properties, postage-stamp backyards or balconies, and ornamental landscapes of any design, be they informal or heavily manicured.
January 14, 2023 | 10 a.m.
Speaker: Diane Kennedy
How Much Water do your plants need?
Join Lynn Coffman as she shares how to stop wasting water and what you need to know to optimally manage your water to maintain a beautiful landscape during a drought and beyond. Using a bit of horticultural knowledge, sustainable practices and improved technology, you can have a beautiful landscape that requires less water, and less maintenance and gives California back a sense of place.
November 12, 2022 | 10 a.m.
Speaker: Lynn Coffman
Create a colorful habitat garden with low water needs
Join Susan Cline as she shares her knowledge with us and experience the beauty of your new garden areas by planting water-wise and native plants. You can restore a very special and unique ecosystem in your yard that can save water, ease maintenance, and add color while bringing pollinators and life to your own beautiful, sustainable habitat.
October 8, 2022 | 10 a.m.
Speaker: Susan Cline
September 10, 2022 | 10 a.m.
Speaker: Patti Bonawitz
"Transition" is the journey to change; while "Transformation" is a result of that journey...
Want to make a transition in your landscape? But you haven't a clue how to get started to make that transition? Then this workshop is just for YOU!
Patti Bonawitz shares her journey in transitioning her water-thirsty lawn into a beautiful sustainable, low-maintenance landscape. She'll share tips and things she learned along her journey of "Garden Transformation." Hope you can join us!
June 11, 2022 | 10 a.m.
Speaker: John Huddleston, Owner, Precision Tree Experts
Trees are valuable! Did you know that a healthy and well-placed tree with a good structure could be worth tens of thousands of dollars...sometimes hundreds of thousands?! And think about the wildlife, aesthetics, and shade trees bring to the landscape. According to the study, the right amount of tree cover can lower summer daytime temperatures by as much as 10 degrees Fahrenheit. Let's discuss how to keep our trees healthy in this drought period and beyond.
Water harvesting methods for your home and garden
May 14, 2022 | 10 a.m.
Speaker: Daniel Aaron Francis, Industry Expert
Water harvesting in the landscape and home is the best practice in an arid climate. Daniel Aaron Francis will take us on a journey through rainwater, irrigation, and greywater harvesting project that passively repatterns a landscape to actively sequester water. Water harvesting is our future!
April 9, 2022 | 10 a.m.
Speaker: Becky Levers, UCCE MG
Join us for an informative conversation on 'defensible space' landscaping surrounding your home and yard. UCCE Master Gardener and California Native plant enthusiast, Becky Levers, will walk us through the necessary steps to keep you and your family as safe as possible in the case of wildfire.
Low-water edible gardening
March 12, 2022 | 10 a.m.
Speaker: Lucy Heyming, UCCE MG
Join us today as Lucy Heyming, UCCE Master Gardener, walks us through the necessary steps to create and maintain a beautiful and bountiful edible garden. Lucy will share her years of experience in successful vegetable gardening.
Beyond citrus in your yard
February 12, 2022 | 10 a.m.
Speaker: Larry Dodson, UCCE MG
Larry Dodson, UCCE Master Gardener, Board member and past president of California Rare Fruit Growers, will discuss the alternatives to citrus such as stone fruit trees in Inland gardens. Larry will share a wealth of knowledge covering the essentials such as choosing your plants, caring of plants prior to planting, how to plant, water, fertilize, and mulch. This presentation will be followed by a Question-and-Answer session.
Protecting your backyard citrus: HLB Greening Update
January 8, 2022 | 10 a.m.
Speaker: Sonia Rios, Area Subtropical Horticulture Advisor
Join us for an update on the impacts of Citrus Greening—HLB disease—from Sonia Rios, Area Subtropical Horticulture Advisor, UCCE Riverside & San Diego Counties.
POP – The Power of Pollinators
November 13, 2021 | 10 a.m.
Speaker: Michele Felix-Derbarmdiker, Naturalist
The Power of Pollinators (POP) presentation, introduces you to the subjects of natural resources, pollinators/pollination, human pollinator relationships, Western Monarchs and native milkweed. At the end of the presentation, participants will have the knowledge go forward and take meaningful action to be stewards of native pollinators, Western Monarchs and milkweed.
Current drought status—what it means to you
October 9, 2021 | 10 a.m.
Speaker: Celeste Cantú, UCCE Master Gardener
Join us for an important discussion on the impacts of the current drought conditions with Celeste Cantú, UCCE Master Gardener: climate change and impact on gardens, water-efficient gardening, and maintaining your garden through proven water-wise practices.
Adding style to your landscape
September 11, 2021 | 10 a.m.
Speakers: Rob Whipple and Alison Loukeh
Join us for a presentation by co-author of Western’s new Landscape Style Guide, Rob Whipple. Rob, and local plant expert, Alison Loukeh, will discuss the Guide’s eight landscape styles and plant lists. We are sure we have a style for you!
Speaker: Linda Mullins, UCCE Master Gardener
Linda Mullins is a certified organic farmer in the Temecula Valley growing a variety of avocados and giant winter squash for restaurants and local grocers. She and her husband have been farming here since 2012 and have been certified organic since 2019. Linda has been a UCCE Master Gardener since 2015 and has taught the avocado session of the Master Gardener training classes in 2019 and 2020. The Mullins grow a wide range of fruits and vegetables on their farm for home and commercial markets.
Grow an edible bounty in containers
Saturday, April 10, 2021 | 10 a.m.
Speaker: UCCE Master Gardener, Kathy Swanson
UCCE Master Gardener, Kathy Swanson, will show you how to create an edible bounty in containers. With her proven techniques, all you need is a small space and a few various containers to be successful.
Bees, pollinators and backyard wildlife
Saturday, March 13, 2021 | 10 a.m.
The humming of bees is the music of a garden. Chris McDonald, Ph.D. will take us through the natural history of backyard wildlife including bees, butterflies, and birds and teach us how to attract more wildlife to your yard with drought-tolerant and native plants.
Speaker: Chris McDonald, Ph.D.
Christopher McDonald Ph.D. Natural Resource Advisor, San Bernardino, Riverside, San Diego, and Imperial Counties. University of California, Cooperative Extension. Chris is the Natural Resource Advisor for Southern California. His expertise is in managing plants in wild lands with an emphasis on managing difficult weeds. He conducts research on habitat restoration by reducing weed populations as well as actively increasing native plant populations. He also conducts research on early detection of weed species, sensitive species habitat restoration and management techniques, including chemical and mechanical control methods. He educates the public about using native plants in backyards and to increase pollinators, sustainability and wildlife. Chris has conducted research and outreach activities in the southwestern US for nearly 20 years working almost exclusively in arid and semi-arid ecosystems.
Saturday, Feb. 13, 2021 | 10 a.m.
Relax in your vibrant and lively water-wise garden instead of toiling in a traditional turf landscape. Lynn Coffman, UC Master Gardener, will take us on a world tour of Mediterranean plants that also thrive in the Inland Empire. Join us as we continue our landscape design series.
Speaker: Lynn Coffman, UC Master Gardener
Lynn Coffman is a 3rd-year Master Gardener and life-long nature enthusiast. She began her horticultural and design studies in earnest after her children went into high school by selling plants in a wholesale/retail herb specialty nursery in San Diego County. Lynn had no idea that years later, she would become Qualified Water Efficient Landscaper (QWEL) Certified and become a garden coach for homeowners looking to transform their water-thirsty turf landscapes into water-wise oases.
Webinar recording: Drought-tolerant plants (Passcode: 3=M^Az32)
Home landscaping design
Saturday, Jan. 9, 2021 | 10 a.m.
Learn a simple process for creating a basic landscape plan Whether re-landscaping or updating an existing yard, you will learn to recognize unique conditions and apply design principles leading to your living work of art.
Speaker: Ralph Thompson, UC Master Gardener
Ralph and his husband, Jim, relocated to the Coachella Valley when they retired in 2016. Like many desert ‘transplants’ they soon discovered that their coastal gardening experience wasn’t directly transferable to the conditions of their new home. However, in the process of re-doing their new home’s landscaping, they realized that, while details may be different, the basics of plant care and landscaping are the same no matter the climate. Like many retirees, Ralph and Jim give back to their communities by volunteering with the Riverside County UC Master Gardeners, the Coachella Valley Plumeria Society, the Boys and Girls Club of Cathedral City, and the Cathedral City Senior Center. Their week is as busy in retirement as when working full time.
Hydroponics: Gardening without soil
Saturday, Nov. 14, 2020 | 10 a.m.
Join us to learn how to grow healthy hydroponically-produced foods using commonly available household items.
Speaker: Kelli Shaw-Hague, UC Master Gardener
Kelli Hague-Shaw, UC Master Gardener and elementary school teacher, is certified in hydroponics from the University of Arizona. With a United States Department of Agriculture Farm to School Grant, and in partnership with her elementary school staff and students and with the City of Perris, she has provided fresh food for her school's lunch program. Presently, she is involved with the management of nine aeroponic towers—a type of hydroponics—and a commercial farm system.
Learn about our plant of the month:
Baja Fairy Duster (Calliandra californica)
Amidst the landscapes of California, the Baja Fairy Duster stands tall, a medium-sized shrub that enchants with its tropical allure. Its verdant foliage, twice divided and one inch in length, adorns the shrub, lending it an air of otherworldly charm. But it is the tufted flowers that truly bewitch the senses, blooming in scarlet red to red-orange hues, year-round. When the winter months grace the land, the shrub takes on an even more enchanting visage, with intermittent blooming during the summer. The long red stamens of these wondrous blooms resemble the tufted head of a dusting brush, a sight that beckons hummingbirds from far and wide. These winged creatures, known for their territorial nature, fiercely guard their beloved Baja Fairy Duster. For those seeking to add a touch of magic, the Baja Fairy Duster is a wondrous choice. Its year-round color and low maintenance nature make it a beloved addition to any garden.
Baja Fairy Duster is a resilient shrub that thrives in full sun, although it can also tolerate partial sun and reflected heat. While it can grow in most desert soils, it prefers well-drained, drier soils. This xeric shrub is water-efficient, but regular irrigation during summer months can lead to more robust growth and blooming.