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Trees are a prized feature in any garden, but once they start spreading their branches that shade comes at a price.

Longtime Sonoma County garden designer and educator Maile Arnold will give a talk June 5 before the Valley of the Moon Garden Club on how to plant an attractive and water-wise garden with partial shade.

Arnold will talk about which trees allow for plantings under their canopies and which don't. She will offer a PowerPoint presentation showing photos of sample plantings in her own Sebastopol garden.

Arnold, a strong proponent of organic, no-till gardening, has been featured in Sunset magazine, taught classes at the San Francisco Botanical Garden and done notable design projects, including The Lodge at Sonoma.

The public is invited to the 7 p.m. meeting for a cost of $5, which can be applied to a $20 membership. The meeting features refreshments and drawings for plants. 126 First St. W., Sonoma. 337-3415.

WINDSOR/PETALUMA: Master Gardener to share water-wise planting tips

The Sonoma County Master Gardeners wrap up their free spring library workshop series with a talk in Petaluma on planning a low-water-use garden. Linda King discusses swales and berms and the right plant in the right place, all to use water wisely on the home front. 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. May 31 at the Petaluma Regional Library, 100 Fairgrounds Drive, Petaluma.

For information on the program and help with your backyard gardening questions, call 565-2608 or visit sonomamastergardeners.org.

SEBASTOPOL: Learn the basics of drip irrigation

The most efficient way to water your garden is through drip irrigation. Chad Griffith will give a free class on the basics of residential and small agricultural irrigation systems from 9 to 10:30 a.m. May 24 at Harmony Farm Supply & Nursery. He also will conduct a Q&A session for more advanced gardeners who want to improve on their systems. 3244 Gravenstein Highway N., Sebastopol. 823-9125 or harmonyfarm.com.

CALISTOGA: Forni-Brown offers herbs, vegetable starts

There is still time to get things growing in your garden. And while the plant-sale season is winding down, there are a few more chances to grab some bargains to spruce up your landscape.

Forni-Brown Gardens, a commercial garden, has been supplying fine Napa Valley restaurants for years. In April and May they open their gates to the general public, selling an inventive array of vegetable starts and herbs, many heirlooms. Most are in 4-inch pots with some 1- and 5-gallon pots and some six-packs. Open from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. May 23 and 24. 1214 Pine St., Calistoga. Look for the sign. 942-6123 or email ForniBrowngarden@aol.com.

PETALUMA: Choosing plants that tolerate clay soil

The heavy clay soil in Sonoma County has confounded many a would-be gardener. But Garden Delights Nursery has some ideas.

The Petaluma nursery is hosting a free talk at 11 a.m. May 24 on double morning glories and other plants that can tolerate clay soil. 2115 Adobe Road, Petaluma. 773-1133 or gardendelightsnursery.com.

OCCIDENTAL: Weekend sale continues at Arts & Ecology Center

Many of the great perennials featured at the Occidental Arts & Ecology Center's big plant sales can be purchased any weekend through June 29 at the center's big nursery.

It is one of the few nurseries in the Bay Area that is 100 percent California Certified Organic in every aspect of production, from the potting mix used to the amendments and foliar sprays.

The nursery features permaculture plants, food crops, culinary and medicinal herbs, bee and butterfly habitat plants, ethnobotanicals and ornamentals. Everything is grown on-site from open-pollinated seeds or rooted cuttings from the center's own mother plants. It also uses recycled pots and EnviroStakes, recyclable and biodegradable pot tags.

The nursery will be open weekends from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Free tours of the mother gardens and grounds will be given at 1 p.m. June 8 and June 22. 15290 Coleman Valley Road, Occidental. 874-1557, ext. 103, or oaec.org.

You can direct Home and Garden news to meg.mcconahey@pressdemocrat.com for call 521-5204.