Spring plant sales put on by garden clubs and nonprofits are a good place to stock up on plants at low prices while supporting community causes. Coming up:
Occidental Arts & Ecology Center: This intentional community, which teaches sustainable living skills, offers many heirloom vegetables and unusual varieties of plants from Asia and South America as part of its mission to protect biodiversity. Its spring plant sale is from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. today and Sunday (April 5-6) as well as April 12-13. The summer plant sale is held May 3-4. From May 17 to June 22, the center's nursery will be open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on weekends for sale of perennials only. 15290 Coleman Valley Road, Occidental. 874-1557.
Willowside School: This plucky little nursery, a laboratory for students, offers an impressive selection of plants, many donated. Shop for abutilons, salvias, roses, grasses, small Japanese and Trident maples, deodar cedars, redwoods, cypress, bonsai crabapples, quince, elms and succulents. $3 per gallon container. Red/yellow magnolias up to 6 feet tall run from $25 to $40. 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. today (April 5), April 26, May 17, June 7 and June 28. Rain or shine. 5299 Hall at Willowside roads, Santa Rosa. 569-4724.
Santa Rosa Men's Garden Club: Members grow all the plants offered at this sale, at which the star attractions are tomatoes ($1 each) and geraniums ($4 a plant). Many other plants and specialty plants, including house plants, sell for $3-$5 in 1-gallon containers. 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Friday (April 11); 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. April 12 at Coddingtown Mall in Santa Rosa.
Sonoma County Jail Industries Nursery and Teaching Garden 20th Anniversary Plant Sale: Low-risk inmates learn vocational skills by working in this garden and nursery, including growing all the plants without pesticides or chemical fertilizers. They offer a wide range of plants, from trees, shrubs and perennials to vines and grasses. They also sell wooden planters, picnic tables and barbecue rings. The Sonoma County Master Gardeners have created a demonstration garden featuring "Sonoma Superstars," plants that are drought-tolerant and available for sale. Master Gardeners will also be on hand to help customers select plants. 9 a.m. to noon April 12 and May 10. 2254 Ordinance Road at Airport Boulevard, Santa Rosa. 525-8310.
Graton Community Club: The folksy club celebrates its 100th anniversary during its annual flower show, which features thousands of plants, mainly perennials, as well as entertainment, lunch, a thrift shop and novelty items for sale. 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. April 25-26. Located at Graton Road and Edison Street in Graton. 542-0797.
Santa Rosa Garden Club: Plants are propagated by Santa Rosa Garden Club members, with an emphasis on drought-tolerant plants including succulents and perennials. The sale also includes a white elephant sale of garden-related items and other fun finds. 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. April 26, rain or shine. Luther Burbank Art & Garden Center, 2050 Yulupa Ave., Santa Rosa.
Harvest for the Hungry Garden: This volunteer-run garden grows and donates more than 20,000 pounds of food annually for local charity food programs. The plant sale is one of the area's largest, with thousands of organic vegetable starts, habitat plants, herbs and locally grown flowering plants. Tomatoes rule with more than 100 varieties, including several bred right in Sonoma County for local conditions. Also choose from among 50 varieties of hot and sweet peppers. The sale also features vendors offering herbs, bee products, gardening supplies and native plants. 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. April 26. Visit harvestgarden.org.
Quarryhill Botanical Garden: This extraordinary public garden with 25 acres of rare and endangered plants from Asia celebrates Earth Day on April 26 with a big lineup of family-friendly festivities, including a sale of rare plants at affordable prices. 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Free entry for Earth Day. 12841 Sonoma Highway 12, Glen Ellen. 996-3166 or quarryhillbg.org.
Luther Burbank's Experiment Farm at Gold Ridge: This historic site, where the famed horticulturist Luther Burbank developed many amazing plants, throws a spring open house and plant sale with some of Burbank's own introductions, including Kniphofia "Tower of Gold," the Burbank Rose, Penstemon "Firebird" and Shasta Daisy "Becky." There also will be information about worm bins, grafting, plant breeding and beekeeping. 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. April 26-27. Free. Adjoining Burbank Heights and Orchards senior housing complex. Turn in at 777 Bodega Ave. and go to the top of the hill.