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.

  1. Upcoming Workshops
  2. Past Workshops


Creating Fire-Resilient and Beautiful Landscapes                                                                   

California's landscapes will always be characterized by wildfires, making homes and properties vulnerable to their impacts. A key component of wildfire preparedness involves proper placement and maintenance of the vegetation surrounding the home. Understanding how fires approach a house and potential vulnerabilities is critical for designing fire-resilient landscapes. In this presentation, we will discuss the key concepts of defensible space and home hardening strategies necessary to create a fire- resilient but aesthetically pleasing landscape. 

Luca is a UC ANR fire advisor based at the South Coast Research and Extension Center in Irvine. He collaborates with universities, agencies, and organizations to provide science-based solutions for wildfire preparedness and create fire-resilient communities across Southern California. His research focuses on the fire risks associated with Wildland-Urban Interface vegetation and structures. Previously, he was a postdoctoral researcher at the Berkeley Fire Research lab at the University of California, Berkeley. He graduated from the Joint Doctoral Program between the University of California, San Diego, and San Diego State University in Engineering Sciences, after obtaining his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in Aerospace Engineering from the University of Pisa (Italy).

Sept. 9, 2023 | 10 a.m.

Speaker: Luca Carmignani, Ph.D.

Workshop Replay

Learn about our plant of the month:

Purple Owl's Clover (Castilleja exserta)

Castilleja_exserta_image5Owl's Clover is a species in the Orobanchaceae (Broomrape) family. The genus Castilleja, which includes the Indian paintbrushes, includes numerous species. It was formerly included in the genus Orthocarpus, and some sources may still refer to it by that name. This species is native to the southwestern United States but may be found in places where it has been introduced, such as Hawaii. In California there are three recognized subspecies with fairly distinct geographical ranges.

The plant is an annual about a foot tall with a hairy stem covered in thready leaves. Although this species is variable in appearance and easily hybridizes with other Castilleja, it generally bears a brightly-colored flower cluster of shaggy pink-purple or lavender flowers that resemble clover (but they are not related). The thin, erect leaves are usually tipped with the same color, giving the flower cluster the appearance of a paintbrush. It produces pods containing seeds. Like other related plants in the family, this is a hemiparasite which derives some of its nutrients directly from the roots of other plants by injecting them with haustoria; this is the reason for its small, reduced leaves. Therefore, it is almost always planted with a perennial species to serve as the host plant.