Expert tips on growing trendy succulents: Succulents are versatile additions to any part of the garden, from stone walls and between patio pavers to rock gardens and even rooftops.

Aaron Ryan, a succulent propagation specialist who works for Cottage Gardens of Petaluma, will talk about these trendy plants during the Nov. 7 meeting of the Valley of the Moon Garden Club.

Ryan will share tips for using succulents in garden beds and artful containers, mixing them with plants like salvias to add texture, shape and design. He also will talk about how to care for them and grow them.

These fleshy-leaved plants thrive in the simplest of pots, and their distinctive shapes and colors provide endless opportunities for creativity.

His presentation will include a hands-on planting demonstration as well as ways to use them for holiday tables and gifts.

The free talk, open to nonmembers, begins at 7 p.m. in Room 110 of the Sonoma Community Center. Refreshments are included. 276 E. Napa St., Sonoma.

For information, call 935-5939.


Advice on olive harvest: Make the best of your olive harvest, whether you have one tree or an orchard, using tips from Don Landis, the olive man. Landis will give a comprehensive talk Sunday, beginning with the history of the olive and focusing on tips for how to debitter this winter fruit to make it edible without lye.

11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Free but RSVP required. 940-4025. Held at Cline Cellars, 24737 Arnold Dr., Sonoma.


Free seed swap and talk about seed saving: Transition Healdsburg and SHED team up to host a free seed swap from noon to 3 p.m. Nov. 2.

Gardeners are invited to bring leftover seed packets from previous years, partially full packets and home-collected seeds from vegetables, flowers and herbs. But people with no seeds to swap are also invited to come.

Electra de Peyster, a master gardener and expert seed saver, will give a talk on the basics of seed-saving, starting at 1:30 p.m.

The swap will be held in the upstairs Grange at Healdsburg SHED, 25 North St. 433-9786.


Workshop on sustainability: Master Gardener Kim Pearson will talk about how to apply the concepts of sustainability in your own landscape during a workshop from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. today at the Rohnert Park/Cotati Library. Using the example of a small garden, she will suggest projects that could be used to transform a typical yard into a more environmentally friendly space that can be both beautiful and enjoyable. 6250 Lynn Conde Way, Rohnert Park. For information, visit ucanr.edu.


Garden club alternative holiday decor ideas: Tired of decorating with the same pedestrian poinsettias for Christmas? The Santa Rosa Garden Club is selling two awesome alternatives for holiday decor or gift-giving.

As a fundraiser, the club is selling a "Christmas Rose" hellebore, with snow white petals and bright yellow centers on flowers that pertly look up rather than drooping down like most hellebores.

Christmas Rose can jazz up your late winter garden after you have enjoyed its beauty indoors. It is drought-tolerant and likes shade with morning sun.

The club is also featuring the Shooting Star hydrangea, with brilliant white multi-petaled stars that shoot out like fireworks. It's the longest-lasting of the lace cap hydrangeas and thrives both indoors and outdoors.

Cost for either plant is $21. Proceeds benefit the club's scholarship program for horticulture students at Santa Rosa Junior College.

Deadline to order is Thursday, with plants available for delivery on Nov. 22 to Healdsburg, Petaluma, Sebastopol, Sonoma and Marin. They can also be picked up between noon and 3 p.m. Nov. 25 at the Luther Burbank Art & Garden Center in Santa Rosa.

Checks can be made payable to Santa Rosa Garden Club and sent c/o Sharon Whitten, 8001 River Road, Forestville, 95436.

For information, call 537-6885 or email gardenclubevents@yahoo.com.


Free autumn foliage walk at Wildwood Nursery: Sara Monte, owner of Wildwood Nursery in Kenwood, will lead a search for gold in her own garden at 2 p.m. today.

The free autumn walk through the nursery's garden will focus on trees whose foliage provides rich golden tones in the fall. 10300 Sonoma Highway, Kenwood. 833-1161.

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