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Gourd celebration melds art, wine, music

The garden at Food for Thought in Forestville is at its most delicious in October. The richly textured food garden is filled with mysterious-shaped gourds of many varieties.

Each year the food bank, which serves people with AIDS and HIV, celebrates this intriguing and sculptural member of the Cucurbitaceae family with "Calabash -- A Celebration of Gourds, Art and the Garden."

This year's bash is Sunday, and includes a huge spread of food made from fresh-harvested local crops as well as Sonoma County wine. Event-goers are also treated to live music played on hand-made gourd instruments while strolling the garden and browsing among a huge selection of gourd art contributed for silent auction by more than 100 Sonoma County and Bay Area artists.

This year's event highlights a new AIDS Memorial, the only one in Sonoma County. Garden plantings around a water feature and artistic archway include traditional herbs and flowers used in healing and remembrance, such as echinacea, ashwaganda, borage, lemon balm and angelica.

The celebration will be from 1 to 5 p.m. at 6550 Railroad Ave., Forestville. Tickets are $45 in advance either online or at Food for Thought directly, or $50 the day of the event.

The garden is a collaboration between Food for Thought and the Occidental Arts and Ecology Center's Horticultural Therapy Program.

For information call 887-1647 or fftfoodbank.org.


Flower, fabric and fiber show

Fabric, Fiber and Flowers is the theme of this year's Fall Flower Show, put on by the Graton Community Club.

The autumn event takes place Oct. 12 and 13 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. each day.

The show is traditionally held at the historic clubhouse in downtown Graton, 8996 Graton Road.

Show-goers can buy lunch for $10, including beverage and dessert. Admission to the show however, is free. It includes a plant sale, a crafts sale and collectibles for purchase. Proceeds benefit college scholarships and a building fund.


Last seasonal tours at Digging Dog

Digging Dog Nursery in Albion, with its famed gardens featured in Martha Stewart Living and House and Garden Magazine, is offering its "last chance" guided tours of the season today.

Set amid a redwood forest on a ridge above the Mendocino Coast, Digging Dog is famous for its ease-to-grow garden plants including many rare varieties. Visitors can join co-owner Deborah Whigham for a free tour at 2 p.m., then take advantage of a free garden consultation and light refreshments.

On Oct. 12, 13 and 14 the nursery will hold its "Dog-Gone Super Fall Plant Sale" from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Digging Dog, which is wheelchair accessible, is located at 31101 Middle Ridge Road, Albion. 937-1130 or diggingdog.com for a full catalog.


Plant sales offer perennials for fall

Fall is a fantastic time to plant perennials and a couple of upcoming sales offer a good selection for proactive autumn gardeners.

Today, the Sonoma County Jail Nursery and Teaching Garden will hold is fall plant sale featuring drought-tolerant plants, California natives, succulents, perennials and shrubs as well as pumpkins and owl houses. 9 a.m. to noon at 2254 Ordinance Road, Santa Rosa. 525-8310.

On Oct. 13, the California Native Plant Society will hold its annual Plant Sale with a smart selection of trees, shrubs, perennials, bulbs and seeds. The sale, held from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Santa Rosa Veteran's Memorial Building, 1351 Maple Ave., is the chief annual fund-raiser for the Milo Baker Chapter of the society, which is dedicated to preserving California's native flora. Expert gardeners will be on hand to answer questions. There will also be books, note cards, plant posters and t-shirts for sale. For information visit cnpsmb.org.

Willowside School Nursery in Santa Rosa holds its next sale on Oct. 13 with deals on Japanese maples, deodar cedars, hornbeam, olive trees, Trident maples, roses, hydrangeas, grasses, magnolias, elms, succulents, redwoods and more.

The sale will be from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. rain or shine. 5299 Hall Road at Willowside, Santa Rosa. If you can't make it they will hold another sale on Nov. 3. For information call 569-4724.


Libraries host classes on flower arranging

Professional floral designer Ellyn Pelikan will lead several workshops at Sonoma County library branches on how to make inexpensive floral arrangements with things harvested from your house and garden.

Pelikan, a master gardener, will give a talk from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Oct. 20 at the Rohnert Park/Cotati Library and on Nov. 3 at the Windsor Library. Visit ucanr.org/sites/scmg for more information.


Interesting facts, advice on bees

Bee specialist April Lance will give "The Buzz About Bees" Oct. 9 at the Luther Burbank Home & Gardens.

Lance, a Sonoma County Master Gardener, will share interesting and useful facts about these busy creatures, including the types of plants to keep them happy and productive.

The talk is the last in a Second Tuesday Lecture Series at the historical Burbank Home & Gardens, located at the corner of Santa Rosa and Sonoma avenues. Cost is $10. To reserve a seat, go to lutherburbank.org or call 524-5445.


Flower, bulb pot ideas at King's

King's Nursery in Santa Rosa has long been famous for its colorful flower pots and hanging baskets.

On Oct. 6 Nursery Manager Susan Hatch will share some King's secrets for how to create fabulous flower and bulb pot combinations. Workshop-goers will learn how to plant containers featuring spring flowering bulbs with many different flowers planted over them for a three-season display.


Designers show off craft at Cardinale

Traditional Home Magazine will sponsor its first-ever Showhouse in the Napa Valley with eight designers contributing their talents towards transforming 10 interior and two exterior spaces.

The 4,500-square-foot house is at the Cardinale Winery Estate, 7600 Highway 29, in Oakville.

The showcase, open to the public through Nov. 11, benefits the Napa Valley Film Festival.

The house will be home from 10:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesdays through Sundays. Cost is $25 in advance and $20 at the door. Each guest will get a timed ticketed self-guided tour, along with a Showhouse journal and complimentary wine tasting. For $50, guests can get a private wine tasting.

For more information or to schedule a tour visit TraditionalHome.com/NapaShowhouse.


Enjoy scenery, draw it, at Western Hills

The gates to Western Hills Garden in Occidental will open on the second Tuesday of every month for artists who want to work en plein air, seeking inspiration in one of the most legendary gardens on the West Coast.

Starting Oct. 9, artists (although no commercial photographers) are invited to bring their pencils, paints and easels between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. and then stake out a spot among the changing fall colors, including zelkova and maples.

Cost is $9 and all ages are welcome. Space is limited, however. To reserve call Mary Zovich at mary@westernhillsgarden.com or call 872-5463.

You can direct Home and Garden news to Staff Writer Meg McConahey at meg.mcconahey@pressdemocrat.com or 521-5204.

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