San Diego, California - With spring upon us, novice and veteran gardeners are pulling out the gloves and getting their hands dirty in preparation for planting. But after one of the driest winters we’ve had and a state-declared drought emergency, keeping a healthy garden can seem daunting.

Enter: Master Gardener Association of San Diego County.

The group is holding its annual Spring Seminar this Saturday and will be placing a big focus on water-saving tips and drought-tolerant plants.

“The drought is definitely an emphasis this year, but we always look at incorporating water-wise issues,” said Master Gardener Coordinator Scott Parker. “In Southern California, it’s always going to be an issue.”

The Spring Seminar is broken up into three sessions, with seven different workshops to choose from in each session. Gardeners can choose one workshop or three, with each costing $15. One class, the Staghorn Fern Workshop, costs $25, Parker said, because attendees take home plants they learn how to mount and care for in the class.

“You get a lot of bang for your buck with this seminar,” Parker said. “The experts teaching the workshops offer outside classes at a much higher rate.”

Some examples of water-saving classes offered at the event include Water Smart Landscaping with California Native Plants; Rainwater Storage Solutions; Succulents Simplified; Beautiful Drought Tolerant Plants from Down Under; and So Much Beauty with So Little Water.

The Spring Seminar will take place at the County Operations Center (5500 Overland Ave., San Diego, 92123) on Saturday, March 22 from 7:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m. A marketplace will be set up in conjunction with the workshops, offering gardening resources and even tools and accessories available for purchase to help make your thumb greener.

Online registration ends March 19 at noon, but walk-ins will be available on March 22, depending on class availability. As for what you need to bring to the seminar? Parker suggests just three things.

“Bring your questions, bring your pocketbook so you can take advantage of the wonderful deals at the marketplace and come with an open mind, ready to explore home horticulture in San Diego County.”

The Master Gardener program uses trained volunteers to offer gardening expertise to the public. It is overseen by the UC Cooperative Extension, which staffs the County’s Farm and Home Advisor Department.