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Southern California plant, garden events in August, September


Mid-August was always my favorite part of summer: still time to loll in the relaxing heat of the season with the sweet anticipation of a new season waiting in the wings. Of course, those were the days when school didn’t start until after Labor Day and the “heat” was in the 90s, not 108 degrees.

Nonetheless, August is still a time for lazy learning and abundant harvests, especially if you planted too many zucchini like yours truly. It’s also great for a few last-minute explorations of botanical gardens or new nurseries, and prepping your garden for fall and winter.

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

Hide and Seek — Art Meets Nature at the South Coast Botanic Garden gives garden visitors a chance to seek out eight hidden sculptures — six on loan from the Los Angeles County Museum of Art — while exploring the 87-acre gardens at 26300 Crenshaw Blvd. in Rolling Hills Estates, open daily from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. (last permitted entrance at 4:30 p.m.). You can download a list of the sculptures and their location in the garden online. Free with $15 admission to the garden ($11 for seniors and students with ID, $5 for children 5-12 and free to children under 5 and members).

Aug. 12
California Native Container Plants is a class offered by Flora Ito, sales manager of the Theodore Payne Foundation nursery, from 8:30 to 9:45 a.m. at the nursery, 10459 Tuxford St. in Sun Valley. The class offers tips on the best native plants for containers and for creating habitat for pollinators like butterflies and bees as well as a guided walk through the nursery. Masks are mandatory on the nursery grounds, and participants are encouraged to wear long pants and closed-toe shoes for walking on uneven surfaces. Full water bottles and sun protection also are recommended. Tickets are $25 ($20 for members). Register online.

Aug. 14-15, 21-22, 28-29, Sept. 4-6
Summer Evening Strolls at the Huntington Library, Art Museum & Botanical Gardens continue through Labor Day, permitting visitors to visit the gardens at 1151 Oxford Road in San Marino on weekend evenings between 4:30 and 8 p.m. The special admission pricing for the strolls is $20 for adults. $15 for seniors 65+, military and students with ID, and $5 for ages 4-11. Children under 4 and members enter free. Reservations are required and members are limited to one evening per week per household. The 1919 Cafe will be open until 7 p.m., and the Huntington Store will be open until 8 p.m.

Aug. 14
Soil Regeneration at Arlington Garden, taught by Lynn Fang, a specialist in soil and compost ecology. The hourlong class starts at 10 a.m. and discusses techniques for composting, building soil and the ecology of gardening, with an optional hands-on workshop after the class for people who want a deeper understanding of soil health and regeneration, at Arlington Garden, 275 Arlington Drive in Pasadena. Tickets are $20.

How to Take Photos of Hummingbirds is a 10 a.m. workshop at Roger’s Gardens nursery, 2301 San Joaquin Hills Road, Corona del Mar, taught by photographer Steve Kaye. The class will provide tips and tricks anyone can use to photograph perched and flying hummingbirds and will feature more than 120 of Kaye’s photos. Advance registration is required. Tickets are $10, with $5 donated to the Sea & Sage Audubon Society.

Aug. 15 or 29
Fruitstitute’s Citrus 101 Workshops at Arlington Garden, 275 Arlington Drive in Pasadena, will teach participants how to care for backyard citrus trees using regenerative gardening practices — that is, gardening techniques that nourish and replenish the soil. Each Fruitstitute workshop includes lessons on the seasonal care of citrus trees plus two to three hours of hands-on instruction in pruning in the garden’s citrus grove. Fruitstitute is a Los-Angeles based company dedicated to teaching Angelenos how to care for their backyard fruit trees and grow quality fruit. Each workshop is a complete session and costs $50 with advance registration.

Aug. 19
Growing Indoor Plants the Easy Way is a class taught by Sherman Library & Gardens horticulturist John Bishop about the best way to keep your houseplants healthy with the right watering, light and pest control. The class runs from 10 to 11 a.m. at the garden, 2647 E. Coast Highway in Corona del Mar. Tickets are $15 ($10 for members) and registration is required.

Aug. 21
Los Angeles Plant Swap/Fundraiser at the Sill’s West Hollywood store, 8125 W. 3rd St. from 4 to 7 p.m. The event is co-sponsored by the Sill, MadreMonstera, PlantManP and TheRealPlantLadyP and the $5 admission fee will be donated to the Ron Finley Project, which encourages individuals and communities to grow their own food even in urban settings. Participants can swap healthy plants or cuttings (with nodes or roots) as well as pots and other planters. Tickets have one-hour timed entries and capacity is limited, so choose a time slot from 4 to 5 p.m., 5 to 6 p.m. or 6 to 7 p.m. Masks are required.

California Native Plant Garden Maintenance: Summer Tasks is a workshop sponsored by the Santa Monica Mountain Fund that begins with a short tour of the Santa Monica Mountains Interagency Visitor Center at King Gillette Ranch, 26876 Mulholland Highway in Calabasas. The class runs from 9 to 11:30 a.m. and includes instruction in summer installation of native plants, how and what to prune, deadhead and shape during the dry season, correct hand-watering methods for established plants, and how to identify and collect mature seed. The workshop is free but requires advance registration. Attendees should be prepared to stand for more than two hours in the sun, so bring a water bottle, sunscreen and hat.

Aug. 26
Native Plant Maintenance Basics is a walk-and-talk class taught by Erik Blank of the Theodore Payne Foundation, 10459 Tuxford St. in Sun Valley, from 8:30 to 9:30 a.m. Blank will walk participants through the foundation’s demonstration gardens, discussing ways to care for native plants during the summer, when many become dormant and brown. Participants should wear long pants and closed-toe shoes for walking on sometimes steep and uneven terrain; full water bottles and sun protection recommended. Masks are mandatory at the nursery. Tickets are $15 ($12 for members), and advance registration is required.

Aug. 28
Gates Cactus and Succulent Society’s 46th Plant Sale at Redlands Church of the Nazarene, 1307 E. Citrus Ave. in Redlands, promises to have thousands of succulents and cactus on sale, including rare and unusual plants. Vendors also will be selling pottery, ornamental garden and dish decor and decorative garden rocks. Club members will be on hand to answer questions and provide tips for growing healthy succulents. The sale runs from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. 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 am. Class projects will include designing and planting a Kusamono — a potted arrangement of grasses and flowers in unique pots or trays — in a wet felted pot, and creating a Suiseki accent, the name for the small stones or even 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 non-natives. 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 the corner of 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.


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