Feeling Blue in the Garden

Every so often, a particular color seems to stand out more than others in the gardens here at Marin Art & Garden Center, and right now, it’s blue. Don’t be downcast, though, because these are a couple of plants that are both eye-catching and low maintenance.

Looking for an easy-to-grow plant that blooms for months, attracts hummingbirds, and looks like a tiny Angel’s Trumpet? You’ll want to get to know Iochroma (Iochroma cyanea). You’ll find this plant growing near the Fountain Pond arbor, and our variety has striking violet-blue flowers that can bloom for most of the year in our climate. You can also find varieties with red to pink and even yellow flowers. They’re easy to propagate from cuttings, and do well in containers since they don’t get too big. These shrubs like good drainage and not too much sun, but as long as you keep them well fed and don’t let them get soggy, you can expect to keep getting blooms. Hummingbirds love these nectar-rich flowers and you will too.

The planted bed in front of the Main Office of Marin Art & Garden Center is appealing throughout the year: at the end of January, the Daphne blooms and fill the air with perfume, while later in the spring, the Hellebores are center stage, with their distinctive downward-facing flowers. But it is in the summer that this part of the grounds gets the most attention, when the electric blue berries of the Flax Lilies start to appear.

Our flax lilies (Dianella tasmanica)have plenty of lush foliage, and thrive in the partial shade cast by the oaks around the courtyard. You probably don’t even notice them among the other plants, even when they’re blooming. But once those berries form, you can’t miss them. These plants spread by rhizomes under the soil and can really take over if they have plenty of sun and water, but you can keep them under control by planting them in shadier spaces and limit their irrigation. Vivid berries, drought tolerant, and even deer resistant? That’s a plant to cheer you up.

More to explore

IRS Guidelines for Gifts from Donor Advised Funds to Support MAGC Events

Thank you for your interest in giving to the Marin Art & Garden Center events from your Donor Advised Fund (DAF) or Family Foundation.

We sincerely appreciate your generosity and support!

To ensure your gift follows the current IRS guidelines for DAF/Family Foundation support of an event, we would like to share the below guidelines with you.

  • Raffle tickets, tickets to galas and other special events, auction items, and benefits conferred in connection with a DAF/foundation grant are not permitted.
    • IRS has specifically ruled that fair market value associated with fundraising events cannot be separated, a practice known as “bifurcation.”
      • For example, with Edible Garden, if the price of the ticket is $200 and the FMV fair market value (non-tax-deductible amount) is designated to be $50, the donor must pay from sources other than her DAF/foundation for the full value of the ticket ($200) and not just for the non-tax-deductible amount ($50).
    • We recommend you confer with your financial advisor to confirm if any of these examples of how donors may still use their DAF to support an event would work for you:
      • A donor could sponsor the event, and not attend, and pay fully out of the DAF/foundation.
      • A donor could sponsor the event using DAF/foundation funds and attend by purchasing an individual ticket through non-DAF/foundation funds.
      • A donor could sponsor the event, join the event as a guest of another donor/table guest, and pay fully out of the DAF/foundation.
      • A donor could sponsor the event and host the afforded number of people at their chosen level as long as they pay for the seats at the lowest ticket price ($200 for Edible Garden) outside of their DAF.
        • As an example, a $1,500 sponsor that covers 2 guests, could pay for their sponsorship with $400 from a different source of funds, and then give an additional gift of $1,100 out of their DAF.


Please email Tod Thorpe, Director of Development at tod.thorpe@maringarden.org to discuss your gift to Marin Art and Garden Center