Flower shows, butterfly contests: things to do in LA in March


February tends to fool us…it starts out like a normal winter month and then suddenly, phew, it’s March, spring is approaching and high time to start planning and preparing our SoCal summer gardens.

So don’t let this recent cold snap put you off. Hot weather is definitely coming, so this is the time to decide which vegetables you are going to grow this year. Tomatoes are at the top of most gardeners’ bucket lists — and for them the big question is, “How many varieties can I cram in this year?” Tomatomania’s itinerant pop-up sales of more than 200 varieties of tomatoes and 100 varieties of peppers begin this year weekend and last throughout Southern California through April.

And for new gardeners, the Los Angeles County UC Cooperative Extension’s Master Gardeners program offers vegetable gardening classes at 13 LA locations. The classes are part of the Grow LA Vegetable Garden Initiative and are designed to help beginners learn how to start a vegetable garden in containers, yards or community garden plots. Most courses are a mix of online and in-person sessions (referred to as “hybrid” courses) and cost $55 or $25, depending on what students can afford. Each session consists of four classes offered over four weeks. Dates vary, with sessions starting in March or April.

Hybrid courses at Northridge are already full, but others will be available at Brewery Artists Lofts in Lincoln Heights, Columbia Park Community Garden in Torrance, East Hollywood Community Garden, Farm at Fairplex in Pomona, Firehouse Community Farm and the Santa Fe Community Garden offered, both in Long Beach; Fountain Community Garden in Hollywood, Grow LA Vegetable Garden in Boyle Heights and Monrovia FoodEd. Two additional sessions at Burbank/Glendale and Ishihara Community Garden are offered online only. You can register online or get more information.

In the meantime, we’re nearing peak flowering for many flowers, so be sure to visit a botanical garden – Descanso Gardens, for example, offers tours of some of its finest flowering areas on March 12th and its pollinator garden on March 26th. And if you love exotic flowers, don’t miss the last of this year’s camellia shows on February 26-27, or the Clivia show on March 12-13 – the first since the pandemic began two years ago.

E-mail with gardening and plant-related events at least three weeks before they take place and we can add them to the calendar.

Until May 31st
The first Butterfly Garden Contest for gardens in southwestern Riverside County, sponsored by the Santa Margarita Group of the San Gorgonio Chapter of the Sierra Club. Gardens should contain native California nectar plants for adult butterflies and host plants for the caterpillars (based on information in the California Native Plant Society’s database under the “Butterflies” tab). Gardens must be located in the communities of Canyon Lake, Hemet, Lake Elsinore, Menifee, Murrieta, Perris, Temecula, Wildomar, or Winchester and are rated in four categories ranging from extra small (25 square feet or less, including container gardens) to larger gardens than 125 square meters. Gardens are judged on their general beauty and functionality for all local butterflies; To be eligible, they must consist primarily of native plants. Entry is free. Winners will be announced June 10, with prizes ranging from $50 to $125 depending on garden size. Visit the website for registration forms and information.

February 25 – March 6
Tomatomania! at Roger’s Gardens, 2301 San Joaquin Hills Road in Corona del Mar, daily from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. This is Tomatomania’s first event of the 2022 tomato growing season and features more than 100 pepper varieties and 250 varieties of heirloom and hybrid tomato plants.

February 26th
California Botanic Garden and Grow Native Nursery reopen after a severe storm on January 21 felled more than 70 trees. The garden and nursery were closed to allow the trees and fallen branches to be safely removed and other debris cleared from the paths. The garden will resume its normal hours, open Tuesday to Sunday from 8am to 5pm and closed on Mondays. The day care center is currently only open on February 26 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., further dates will be announced in the future. Tickets can be purchased online or at the gate for $10 ($6 for seniors over 65 and students with ID, $3 for 3-12 years. Children under 3 and members are admitted free.)

26-27 February
Southern California Camellia Council 62nd Spring Camellia Show at Descanso Gardens, 1418 Descanso Drive, La Cañada Flintridge, on February 26 from 1:00 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. and on February 27 from 9:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. This show is a joint event of the four area camellia societies in Kern and San Diego Counties, as well as the Pacific Camellia Society and the Southern California Camellia Society. The general public can enter camellia flowers for judging on February 26 from 7:00 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. The show is free to visitors after $15 admission to the Gardens ($11 for seniors 65+ and students with ID, $5 for children ages 5-12. Members and children under 5 are admitted free). Masks are compulsory indoors.

5th-6th March
Tomatomania! at Mission Hills Day Care, 1525 Fort Stockton Drive in San Diego, daily from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. This is Tomatomania’s second event of the 2022 tomato growing season and features more than 100 varieties of peppers and 250 varieties of heirloom and hybrid tomato plants.

11-12 March
Tomatomania! in the tree nursery Otto & Sons, 1835 E. Guiberson Road in Fillmore, daily from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. SoCal’s renowned rose nursery makes way for Tomatomania’s more than 200 heirloom and hybrid plants of tomatoes and about 100 varieties of peppers.

11-13 March
Tomatomania! at Fig Earth Supply, 3577 N. Figueroa St., in Mount Washington, daily from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.

March 12th
Spring Bloom Tours at Descanso Gardens, 1418 Descanso Drive, in La Cañada Flintridge, join a guided walking tour at 11:00 AM and 1:00 PM to see what’s in bloom. Reservations are not required; Just meet at the Center Circle. Free with $15 admission to the Gardens ($11 seniors 65+ and students with ID, $5 ages 5-12. Members and children under 5 enter free).

12-13 March
19. Clivia Show & Sale presented by the Southern California Chapter of the North American Clivia Society, at the Huntington Library, Art Museum and Botanical Gardens, 1151 Oxford Road, in San Marino, both days from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Society members will offer more than 200 plants for sale along with unusual Clivia strains. Visitors can also vote for the show’s “People’s Choice” award. The show is free with $29 admission to the Huntington ($24 for seniors over 65, active military and students with ID and $13 for ages 4-11. Members and children under 4 enter free.)

March 13th
South Coast Cactus & Succulent Society is presenting a free, in-person talk on New Mexico’s cacti and succulents by succulent expert Woody Minnich from 1-3 p.m. in the Peninsula Center Library Common Room, 701 Silver Spur Road, in Rolling Hills Estates. Minnich grew up in the Mojave Desert and now lives in New Mexico. This is the Society’s first in-person event since the March 2020 COVID shutdown; Please check the website for last minute changes.

18-20 March
Annual International Spring Show and Sale of the San Diego Orchid Society at the Scottish Rite Center, 1895 Camino Del Rio South, in San Diego, March 18 from 3:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m., March 19 from 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. and March 20 from 10:00 a.m. 00 to 16:00. The show includes four orchid classes on March 19th and four on March 20th on topics such as caring for a new orchid, re-blooming an orchid, repotting an orchid and growing orchids outdoors. The society will also provide free printed orchid materials to take home, including care sheets for each of a dozen different species of orchids. Admission is $10 for a day or $12 for the weekend. Children under 12 have free entry.

Tomatomania! at the Tapia Bros Farm, 5251 Hayvenhurst, Encino, daily from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.

March 19, April 29 and 2
Three-part bee workshop led by community scientist and photographer Krystle Hickman at Theodore Payne Foundation Nursery, 10459 Tuxford St., in Sun Valley, March 19 and 29, and at a private garden in Altadena on April 2, daily 1pm-3pm Clock. Hickman will discuss how to identify and photograph native bees, their relationships with native plants, and how to garden for native bees. The workshops take place both indoors and outdoors and are limited to 15 people. Participants should prepare for walking on steep, uneven surfaces and dress in layers, as classroom windows are open for ventilation. Participants must show they are fully vaccinated or have a negative COVID-19 PCR test result and wear a mask indoors. Register online, $150 ($130 for Theodore Payne Foundation members).

March, 20th
Spring Equinox Herbal Walk at Taft Gardens in Ojai, from 8:45 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., led by Ojai naturalist Lanny Kaufer of and author of Medicinal Herbs of California. Kaufer will point out the medicinal and edible plants along the trails in the undeveloped portions of the Taft Gardens Conservation Area. Pre-registration is required. Tickets cost $60.

25-27 March
Tomatomania! at Underwood Family Farms Moorpark Farm Center, 3370 Sunset Valley Road, in Moorpark, daily from 9am to 5pm.

26th of March
Spring Festival at Descanso Gardens includes tours of the pollinator garden and new nursery, as well as native milkweed and other plants growing in the pollinator support gardens, from 10am to 3pm at 1418 Descanso Drive in La Cañada Flintridge. Tours are scheduled in English at 10am and 2pm and a tour in Spanish at 1pm. The event also includes information desks staffed by the garden’s partner organizations – Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County, Latino Outdoors, Arroyos and Foothill Conservancy, California Native Plant Society, Theodore Payne Foundation and Kidspace Children’s Museum, from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m :00 am. All activities are free with $15 admission ($11 for seniors 65+ and students with ID and $5 for 5-12 year olds. Members and children under 12 enter 5 free). Flower shows, butterfly contests: things to do in LA in March

Russell Falcon

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