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<strong>Workshop on drought gardening:</strong> Even a torrent of recent rain has failed to replenish water supplies enough to wash away the drought.

If water remains in limited supply into spring, how can home gardeners conserve and still grow?

The Sonoma County Master Gardeners are holding a free workshop March 1 on "Spring Food Gardening in a Drought Year."

A team of specialists will cover everything a conscientious gardener needs to know, from locating the garden and options for planting beds to soil components, compost, fertilizer, working the soil, crop selection and planting, irrigation, pest control and harvesting. Helpful handouts will be available addressing such questions as how to food garden with less water, how to select drought-tolerant crops and varieties, planting dates for spring crops, a sample garden layout and suggested vegetable varieties for Sonoma County.

The free talk will be from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at the Windsor Town Green Community Garden, located at the corner of Windsor Road and Joe Rodota Way. For information email mgsonomafood@ucdavis.edu or call 565-2608.


<strong>Landscaping for the bees:</strong> Master Gardener Janet Calhoon is using her expertise in insects to champion the plight of native "mason" bees.

Colhoon, who has a degree in entomology, will offer an introduction on creating bee-friendly landscapes during a talk March 6 before the Valley of the Moon Garden Club.

Gardeners will learn how to make their gardens a magnet for native bees with proper food and shelter. These important pollinators are a key component to creating a healthy garden.

Calhoon will bring reference materials, displays, informative hand outs and creative homes for mason bees.

The talk is free and will include refreshments. 7 p.m. at the Sonoma Veteran's Memorial Hall, 126 1st St. W., Sonoma.

<strong>SANTA ROSA</strong>

<strong>Compatible plants and fish:</strong> Discover the positive symbiosis between plants and fish during from an expert in the burgeoning practice of Aquaponics.

Samantha Rodriguez, the founder of EZ Farms and Fish, will talk about the co-cultivation of plants and fish within a single recirculating environment during the next meeting Feb. 24 of the Santa Rosa Garden Club.

Rodriguez designs Aquaponic systems, offers how-to-classes, conducts tours and sells equipment and kits out of her Aquaponic Farm in the Dublin/Pleasanton area in the East Bay.

Aquaponic systems combine warm water fish like Tilapia and uses the enriched water from their tanks to feed food crops from herbs and greens to tomatoes and berries. The free talk is open to the public. 1 p.m. at the Luther Burbank Art and Garden Center, 2050 Yulupa Ave., Santa Rosa. For information call 537-6885 or email gardenclubevents.@yahoo.com.


<strong>Win the pest war:</strong> Are you at war with pests in your garden? Learn how to take "A Balanced Approach" to maintaining a healthy garden during a free workshop Feb. 22.

A team of master gardeners who are specialists in "Integrated Pest Management" will talk about drip irrigation, less toxic pesticides, compost and beneficial insects during a presentation that includes demonstrations and displays. Windsor Regional Library, 9291 Old Redwood Highway, Bldg. 100. 565-2608 or sonomamastergardener.org.


<strong>Bouquets to Art at de Young:</strong> The Santa Rosa Garden Club offers a chance to see the creative process behind the de Young Museum's longstanding Bouquets to Art event with a demonstration by one of its veteran floral designers.

Marsha Heckman, who has also written seven books on floral design, will create arrangements inspired by the works of five Sonoma County artists during a special workshop on March 7. At the same time she share tricks of her trade.

Bouquets to Art, now in it's 30th year, invites leading Bay Area floral designers to create elaborate arrangements inspired by select paintings within the museum's collection.

Heckman, of Marin, is well-known in her field and was recently invited to work in the White House flower shop for a week.

Bouquets will be auctioned off after the presentation and door prizes to the de Young Bouquets to Art exhibit March 18-23 will be given away.

The workshop, running from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m., is a fund-raiser for the club's Santa Rosa Junior College horticultural scholarship program. Tickets may be purchased by sending a check for $25, made payable to SR Garden Club, PO Box 251, Cotati, CA 94931. Seating is limited. The event will be held at the Luther Burbank Art &amp;amp; Garden Center, 2050 Yulupa Ave., Santa Rosa. For information call 537-6885 or email gardenclubevents@yahoo.com.

<em>You can direct Home and Garden news to Meg.McConahey@pressdemocrat.com or by calling 521-5204.</em>