Garden and Plant Lovers: What to do in SoCal right now


Remember rain? You know, the wet stuff that fell out of the sky in Southern California in January and February? Well, once again, precipitation forecasts are looking pretty grim in drought-prone SoCal, with dry blue skies forecast well into March.

But that makes the need for a water barrel all the more important because when we do When it rains, SoCal gardeners will want to save every drop they can. For those Angelenos who already have rain barrels, LA Sanitation is hosting a free webinar on March 5 at 10:30 am on how to care for those rain barrels. Pre-registration is required. For those who don’t have water butts, now is the time to install them, especially since the Metropolitan Water District is offering up to two $35 rebates for water butts ranging in capacity from 50 to 199 gallons. They also have discounts of $250 to $350 for cisterns that store 200 to 1,000+ gallons.

In the meantime, take advantage of our relatively mild weather to attend some flower shows, plant sales and gardening classes well into March. 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 February 19th
The Theodore Payne Foundation Winter Plant Sale at the Foundation Nursery, 10459 Tuxford St., Sun Valley, from 8:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. The sale includes native seeds (including native milkweed for monarchs), books and other merchandise, as well as one of the largest selections of native seed plants in the region. Members receive a 15% discount and non-members receive a 10% discount on all plants, seeds and basic equipment. Masks are compulsory on the premises. Admission is free, but buyers must register in advance for specific dates and times. Each reservation is for one vehicle with up to four passengers (who do not need to make separate reservations).

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.

19th of February
Apple Grafting Workshop with Master Grafter Arnold Bernstein at Ganna Walska Lotusland on Cold Spring Road in Montecito from 9:30am to 11:30am. The course explains how to graft a desirable branch or bud onto a compatible new tree to produce fruit from the parent tree, a process used to produce most of the fruit we consume. In this hands-on workshop, participants will graft and take home a semi-dwarf producing apple tree suitable for the coastal climate. All materials are provided. Masks are compulsory for the workshop. Register online. $125 ($95 for Lotusland members). The course will be canceled in the event of heavy rain.

19-20 February
16th Pacific Camellia Society Exhibition at Descanso Gardens, 1418 Descanso Drive, La Cañada Flintridge, February 19 from 1:00 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. and February 20 from 9:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. February 19. The show is free to visitors after $15 admission to the Gardens ($11 for seniors 65 and older and students with ID, $5 for children ages 5-12. Members and children under 5 are admitted free). Masks are compulsory indoors.

February 25 – March 6
Tomatomania! at Roger’s Gardens, 2301 San Joaquin Hills Road, Corona del Mar, daily from 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 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 – including the ‘Bronze Torch’ Tomato of the Year, a grape-style brick-red fruit with dark green and gold stripes. Tomato plants can be pre-ordered online from February 4th to 20th.

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, 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.

9th March
“Monarchs and Milkweeds: What Gardeners Need to Know” is the subject of Ron Vanderhoff’s presentation at Sherman Garden & Library’s Lunch and Lecture, 2647 East Coast Highway in Corona del Mar. Vanderhoff, General Manager of Roger’s Gardens Nursery and Chair of the Plant Science Committee for the Orange County Chapter of the California Native Plant Society, will be the discuss the monarch butterfly’s close relationship with milkweed, its status as an endangered species, and how gardeners can help with its recovery. Tickets are $45 ($35 for members) and include lunch, prepared by Cultivar Restaurant. Lunch starts at 11:30 a.m. and the lecture starts at 12:00 p.m. Admission for those who just want to attend the lecture is $5 (free for members).

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., Los Angeles, daily from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.

March 12th
Nature Immersion Walk at Taft Gardens in Ojai, led by Elena Rios, a certified nature and forest therapy guide, from 8:45am to 11:00am. The 2-mile walk begins with a welcome and introductory circle and takes participants beyond the cultivated parts of the garden into the 200-acre Taft Gardens Nature Preserve and ends with a ceremony where tea made from native plants from the area is shared will. This is a slow, moderately incline walk over rocky terrain, with no benches or chairs, so participants are welcome to bring their own lightweight camping stools or yoga mats if they don’t want to sit on the ground. Tickets are $35 and advance registration is required.

Spring Bloom Tours at Descanso Gardens, 1418 Descanso Drive, La Cañada Flintridge, at 11:00am and 1:00pm, a guided walking tour to see what is blooming in Descanso Gardens. 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 5-12 years. 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, San Marino, both days from 10am to 5pm. 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 presents 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, 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, San Diego on 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 to 4pm on March 19th and four on March 20th on topics such as caring for a new orchid, reblooming 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., Sun Valley, on March 19 and 29 and in a private garden in Altadena on April 2, from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m . 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. Garden and Plant Lovers: What to do in SoCal right now

Russell Falcon

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