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Help for Matilda The Plant

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Matilda sits forlornly on the dining room table. She is obviously unhappy and unwell. There is a droopiness and lack of color about her. What to do? Is there a doctor in the house?

Who has not felt that way when their plant starts to turn up its toes? It is sick, you know it, so what do you do?  Nowadays the first option is to turn to the internet. Google may provide pathways to turned-up plant toes in Madagascar, which is little help and gives incorrect advice for your particular situation. Where do you get local help that knows and understands the Mother Lode’s plants, soils, water, and environment? Here are the most knowledgeable garden people in your local county.

Tuolumne County (and the Mother Lode) is filled with gardeners that are like busy bees, available throughout the area. All you have to do is find them. The list is long; Master Gardeners, local nurseries, garden clubs, and even your most successful neighborhood gardener.

A visit to your local nursery will provide knowledgeable nursery people. If you are inclined to bring Matilda with you, leave her in your vehicle until the nursery person gives you instructions. That way Matilda’s illness is not spread throughout their nursery. As you know, plants do not wear masks.

Garden Club or Plant Society members also have a great depth of knowledge. Most clubs have an internet or Facebook page with a contact name and number. In today’s world, a picture and a detailed email may find your needed prescription with help from a garden club member.

The gardening group that is like a busy bee hive is Master Gardeners. They provide in-person help at various locations, newspaper articles, open garden days, educational radio shows, demonstrations, classes, hotline help, and more.  How do you find those busy bees?

You can meet Master Gardeners face to face at several locations in Sonora. Saturdays you will find them at the Master Gardener booth at the Farmer’s market on Theall in downtown Sonora. Visit with Master Gardeners at Nature’s Whole Food Depot on Thursdays 9:00 to 1:00, 19073 Standard Road. Another spot is Peaceful Valley Farmer’s Market on Peaceful Valley Road on Fridays 4:00 to 6:00.

The easiest way to find local Central Sierra Master Gardeners is by going to their UCCE Central Sierra website, You can then choose your local program. On the Tuolumne County page, you will have access to Master Gardener schedules, pages and pages of archived newspaper articles, the educational radio program “Over the Garden Gate,” contact information for personalized help through the hotline, and an email address. Master Gardeners also maintain the Demonstration Garden at the Dome on the Campus of Cassina High School. The garden and its classes are open to the public the first Saturday of each month, February through November 10:00 to 1:00. (There is also a Calaveras County demonstration garden with a separate schedule.)

To contact UCCE Tuolumne County Master Gardeners, use the following:

MG Hotline    209-533-5912

MG Email

MG Website

To receive quality answers that are research-based and locally-applied, visit with local garden folks. Get Matilda well and broaden your plant knowledge. Just look for the folks with smiles and dirt under their finger nails.

Julie Silva is a University of California Cooperative Extension Master Gardener of Tuolumne County.