Orb weaver spiderWhile watering in my garden today I came upon this beautiful Orb weaver spider, a welcome visitor who will help to keep many an unwanted insect pest in check. (These are in no way harmful to humans). Seeing this spider reminded me of yesterday afternoon when I had the pleasure and honor to speak to a group of over 30 Master Gardeners of the Monterey Bay at an IPM (integrated pest management) workshop held at a beautiful private residence in the Elkhorn/Royal Oaks area.

My topic was the use of plants in the landscape that attract beneficial organisms (insects, birds, reptiles, amphibians etc) to the garden. What a treat to be in the company of so many eager, intelligent, dedicated folks! Master gardeners, after completing a lengthy course of study and passing a final exam are certified and then volunteer their time on a variety of projects within their communities that utilize their horticulture knowledge and skills. They also man a hotline at the UCCE office in Watsonville to answer garden related questions called in by the public three days a week.

Thank you to the coordinators and hosts of this special event, Alicia and Tim.  (And for the great food and drink afterwards!) Also thanks to the new friends I made there yesterday. I look forward to seeing you all again soon!