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HomeLifestyleFall things to do in L.A. for plant lovers: Hayrides, pumpkins

Fall things to do in L.A. for plant lovers: Hayrides, pumpkins


How can it possibly be September?

Since August came and went in a flash, at least around my house, the only way I can really understand that summer is over is by looking at my garden. My zucchini and tomato plants are producing with wild abandon, uninterested in whether I am drowning in both; my massive sunflowers are shriveling, their thick trunks toppled by the weight of their heavy seed heads; and my once-vibrant native plants are brown and spent, retreating to dormancy until resurrection with the winter rains …

Assuming we get any winter rains.

But I’m not too fussed. With the end of summer comes my favorite season — fall! — ripe with anticipation and color and full of fresh opportunities for planting and participating, assuming we can still safely gather. Pro tip: Always bring a mask, even for outdoor events.

Here are a few classes, garden-y Halloween events and other activities to keep you busy. Email garden and plant-related events to at least three weeks before the event and we might include them in the calendar.

Through Sept. 26
“World of Bromeliads” exhibit at the San Diego Botanic Garden, 300 Quail Gardens Drive in Encinitas, features interactive displays throughout the 37-acre garden of these tropical, exotic plants, which range from Spanish moss and air plants to pineapples and houseplants with extraordinary blooms. The exhibit includes a station where visitors can use microscopes to see the biodiversity of organisms living in a bromeliad’s “water tanks,” the natural reservoirs where some of the plants store water. The gardens are open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesdays through Sundays (closed Mondays and Tuesdays). Admission is $18 ($12 seniors, active military and students with ID, $10 ages 3-17. Children under 3 and members enter free.)

Through Oct. 31
Roger’s Gardens “Cabinet of Curiosities” Halloween Boutique, 2301 San Joaquin Hills Road in Corona del Mar, pays homage to Hollywood’s classic horror movies, with lifesize depictions of Dracula, Frankenstein, the Bride of Frankenstein, the Creature From the Black Lagoon and the Mummy. Each “creature” has its own room of merchandise, from a thick archway of grinning skeletons to beakers of slimy green liquid and very menacing insects safely encased (one hopes) in resin. It’s more creepy than scary, and everything is for sale, open 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily. Masks are required for unvaccinated visitors (based on the honor system) and the number of people inside the store will be limited, so be prepared to wait in line. Admission is free.

Sept. 4-5
Orange Empire Bonsai Society’s Bonsai Show at Sherman Library & Gardens, 2647 E. Coast Highway in Corona del Mar, from 10:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. both days. The show features bonsai trees created by members of the society and, on Sept. 5, a free, two-hour demonstration of how to transform a 20-year-old ‘Femina’ juniper tree “to look like the victim of a severe lightning strike.” Club members began shaping the tree about 18 months ago, removing about 30% of its new growth. This will be an ongoing project and demonstration for the next three to four years to get the tree to its final desired shape. Admission is free with admission to the gardens.

Sept. 4
Bonsai kusamono display workshop at Sherman Library & Gardens, 2647 E. Coast Highway at Corona del Mar, is taught by Debra Mauzy-Melitz of the Orange County Bonsai Society, from 9 to 11:30 a.m. Class projects will include designing and planting a kusamono — a potted arrangement of grasses and flowers — in a wet felted pot and creating a suiseki accent, the small stones or petrified wood used to suggest a natural setting. Supplies will be provided. The workshop costs $120 ($100 for members).

Restoring habitat at the Los Cerritos Wetlands is a volunteer event hosted by the Aquarium of the Pacific to restore habitat at the 66-acre wetlands by collecting seeds from rare plants, planting varieties native to the region and removing invasive nonnatives. Takes place the first Saturday of every month through Dec. 4 from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Volunteers should meet at Pacific Coast Highway and 1st Street in Seal Beach at 10:15 a.m. Children under 14 must be accompanied by an adult. Closed-toe shoes are required; hats and sunscreen are strongly recommended. Water will be provided, but this is a plastic-bottle-free event, so bring your own reusable water bottle. Registration is not required.

Sept. 5 and 19
How to garden for butterflies: pro tips at UC Riverside’s Botanic Garden, 1 Botanic Gardens Drive in Riverside from 9 a.m. to noon the first and third Sundays of the month. UC Riverside’s master gardener docents will answer questions in the butterfly garden about the life cycle of butterflies and which plants are best for attracting butterflies. Admission is free, but a $5 donation is encouraged.

Sept. 11
Backyard edible gardening family workshop at Sherman Library & Gardens, 2647 E. Coast Highway in Corona del Mar, from 10 to 11 a.m. The class explains how to grow food in a small yard or containers. One ticket covers up to six family members and costs $60 ($50 for members). Register online.

Sept. 11-12
Hibiscus Show & Sale sponsored by the Southern California Hibiscus Society at Sherman Library & Gardens, 2647 E. Coast Highway in Corona del Mar, from 10:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. both days. The show features a special canopy of hibiscus blooms, more than 100 varieties of hibiscus plants, all of which can be purchased on site, and information about the care, pests and history of these exotic plants. Free with $5 admission to the gardens. (Children 3 and under and members enter free.)

Sept. 18-19
Southern California Begonia Society Show & Sale at Sherman Library & Gardens, 2647 E. Coast Highway in Corona del Mar from 10:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. both days. The show features a variety of begonias on display and for sale, as well as classes on begonia cultivation on Sept. 18 and begonia propagation on Sept. 19. Both classes begin at 11:30 a.m. Free with $5 admission to the gardens. (Children 3 and under and members enter free.)

Sept. 19
How to grow a winter vegetable garden in your backyard or containers is a class presented by master gardener George Pessin, curator of Greystone Mansion, at the Greystone Demonstration Garden, 905 Loma Vista Drive in Beverly Hills from 10 to 11:30 a.m. The class includes instruction in which vegetables grow best in Southern California’s mild winters, as well as tips on fertilizing, mulching, irrigating and harvesting. Admission is $15 ($12 for Beverly Hills residents).

Sept. 23 – Oct. 31
Haunted Hayrides return to Griffith Park. The event, which has been quite crowded in the past, includes scary hayrides, trick-or-treating in the spooky town of Midnight Falls, a “midnight mortuary” haunted house, Scare Zone haunted mazes and Dead End Diner. Warning: The event includes monsters, witches and other creepy creatures and may be too intense for children 12 and younger. Tickets are $39.99 each, but discounted presale tickets — for $29.99 each — are available through Sept. 7.

Oct. 11-31
Descanso Gardens Carved event features a mile-long walkway lined with hundreds of carved pumpkins, oversize sculptures made from natural materials, a pumpkin house and a hay maze. Tickets for timed entries between 6:30 p.m. and 10 p.m. are available now for members ($25-$28) and go on sale Oct. 1 for nonmembers ($32-$35).


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