As part of our efforts to make the MAGC grounds more fire resistant, we recently removed a couple of large junipers near the bridge in front of the Main Office. Junipers are among the garden plants identified as being fire-prone and therefore removal was recommended by the Ross Valley Fire Department.  These beds have now been planted with Mahonias, which are already flourishing.

In fact we have six different varieties of this plant around MAGC, and starting in the late fall, they will put out blooms for us until well into the spring. Pictured above, in front of the Main office we have Mahonia x. media ‘Marvel’ – blooms mid-autumn through early winter, and the plant has more architectural form than the other varieties. Elsewhere on the grounds you can find Mahonia aquifolium, the Oregon Grape, which is native to the Pacific Northwest, and is Oregon’s state flower. We have two species from China: Mahonia fortunei or Chinese Mahonia, blooms in late fall, while Leatherleaf Mahonia, Mahonia japonica ‘Bealei,’ will bloom in late winter. Mahonia pinnata, California Holly Grape,  another local native, blooms in spring, while Creeping Mahonia, Mahonia repens blooms mid-spring. Some thrive in full sun while others prefer some shade, but all have fragrant yellow flowers followed by dark blue or purple berries which wildlife—especially birds—enjoy.