O Christmas Berry

DECORATING THE HOUSE for the holidays is a cherished pastime for many. But what if you could let Mother Nature do the work for you? Margaret Graham of Mostly Natives Nursery in Tomales explains that planting local fruit-bearing shrubs like wax myrtles or toyons can give your yard a festive touch. The bright-red pomes produced by the toyon have helped it earn an especially appropriate nickname — the Christmas berry. The shrub is visited by butterflies and birds alike and has a mild, hawthorn-like scent. The benefit of this and other local vegetation is more than cosmetic. “The coastal ecosystem needs these plants,” says Graham. “All the native insects evolved to coexist with them.” This is the final nursery season for Graham and her husband Walter Earle; they are closing after 33 years and moving on to enjoy their retirement — but worry not, a new owner will open a shop under the same name in Point Reyes Station this spring.

Kasia Pawlowska

Kasia Pawlowska loves words. A native of Poland, Kasia moved to the States when she was seven. The San Francisco State University creative writing graduate went on to write for publications like the San Francisco Bay Guardian and KQED Arts among others prior to joining the Marin Magazine staff. Topics Kasia has covered include travel, trends, mushroom hunting, an award-winning series on social media addiction and loads of other random things. When she’s not busy blogging or researching and writing articles, she’s either at home writing postcards and reading or going to shows. Recently, Kasia has been trying to branch out and diversify, ie: use different emojis. Her quest for the perfect chip is never-ending.