In Bloom: Mahonias

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.

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 to discuss your gift to Marin Art and Garden Center