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Soil health starts with developing an active biological ecosystem for delivering nutrients to the roots. A workshop March 8 at Harmony Farm Supply & Nursery in Sebastopol will explore the the science of the process, including appropriate nutrient levels, good irrigation practices and problems that arise when the system is out of balance.

Rick Williams of Harmony will lead the free workshop. 9:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. 3244 Gravenstein Hwy N., Sebastopol. 823-9125, harmonyfarm.com or email Phamilton@harmonyfarm.com.

In this drought year, everyone is thinking about how to save every drop. One way is through drip irrigation, a more efficient way to deliver water to your garden. It will lead to higher crop yields and healthier ornamentals.

Expert Robert Kourik will lead a free workshop March 1 at the Cavanagh Community Center in Petaluma on Roots and Drip Irrigation. He is a leader in low water use design and has written several books, including "Roots Demystified: Change your Gardening Habits To Help Roots Thrive."

Kourik will explain where to put water, fertilizer and mulch around your plants as well as discuss how root growth indicates where to place drip lines.

To help participants gain confidence and skills, they will be enlisted to help install a drip irrigation system at the newly planted rain garden at Petaluma City Hall. 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Put on by Daily Acts. 426 8th St. and at Petaluma City Hall, 11 English St. For information call 789-9664 or email shea@dailyacts.org.

Tulips are a harbinger of spring in Central Asia. As they push through the receding snow, they herald warmer days to come and signal that it is time for nomads to move with their flocks and families to summer pastures, something they have done for 1,000 years.

With high passes free of snow, merchants set out along the Silk Road, that ancient network of trails that once linked the Imperial empires of Rome and China. And it was along the Silk Road that tulips traveled west, through ancient Persia, Constantinople and eventually to Holland where they became a multi-million dollar business.

In the spring of 2010 Angela Neal Grove set out along the Silk Road, watching and photographing as spring unfolded across China and Central Asia. She published two books visually chronicling her journey. Grove, a recognized tulip historian, will give a talk March 1 at Quarryhill Botanical Garden in Glen Ellen.

The talk will be from 10:30 a.m. to noon. Cost is $15. Space is limited so to reserve a seat call 996-3166. Quarryhill Botanical Garden is located at 12841 Sonoma Highway 12, Glen Ellen. Quarryhillbg.org.

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.

Master Gardener Janet Calhoon is using her expertise in insects to champion the plight of native "mason" bees.

Calhoon, 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.

Debra Atwood of Napa Valley Orchids will talk about "Things I Wish I had Known in the Beginning" as part of a presentation before the Sonoma County Orchid Society on March 11.

The talk, geared toward people who are new to orchid growing, will offer her top 10 tips for basic orchid care, including watering. There will also be plants available to view ad purchase.

The meeting will be from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. at the Santa Rosa Veteran's Building, 1351 Maple Ave., Santa Rosa. For more information visit SonomaOrchids.com.

Donlyn Lyndon, one of the original team of architects for The Sea Ranch, will talk about the challenges of designing a community in harmony with nature on March 13 at Cornerstone in Sonoma.

Lyndon, who still maintains a home at the famed coastal enclave along the Sonoma coast, has just released an updated version of his book, "The Sea Ranch: 50 Years of Architecture, Landscape, Place and Community on the Northern California Coast."

Lyndon collaborated on the book with arts photographer Jim Alinder, who worked with Ansel Adams and has a gallery in Gualala.

The pair will join in with Tito Patri, a member of the Sea Ranch Design Review Committee, for a panel discussion moderated by Alex Bergtraum, a Berkeley-based architect who has a recent project featured in the book.

The talk will be followed by a book signing and wine reception. The event will be from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. at Artefact Design & Salvage, 23570 Arnold Drive, south of Sonoma. Arrive early for a 4:30 p.m. tour of the art garden installations that are the founding attraction at Cornerstone.

Cost is $20. Seating is limited so book in advance at https://theSeaRanch.eventbrite.com. 933-3010.

The Santa Rosa Garden Club offers a chance to see the creative process behind the de Young Museum's long-standing Bouquets to Art with a demonstration by one of the event's 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 & Garden Center, 2050 Yulupa Ave., Santa Rosa. For information call 537-6885 or email gardenclubevents@yahoo.com.

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

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