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Last call for deals at nursery

This weekend is your last chance to pick up plants for fall planting at the Occidental Arts and Ecology Center. The intentional community and learning center has been growing organically for more than 40 years and is dedicated to preserving biodiversity with unusual and heirloom varieties.

The center’s nursery will be open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday Oct. 28-29. They will be offering end-of-the-season discounts on Cape gooseberries, Yacon, Diviner’s Sage and Tower of Jewels.

The center is at 5290 Coleman Valley Road, Occidental. 707-874-1557. OAEC.org.


Building a habitat garden for wildlife

Each decision a gardener makes has an impact on the web of living things in their own gardens. You can design your landscape to be water-wise and accommodating to wildlife. Sonoma County Master Gardener Bill Klausing will give tips on how to create a “mostly native” habitat garden during the Nov. 2 meeting of the Valley of the Moon Garden Club.

Klausing will cover good Sonoma County native plants that are attractive to both humans and native birds, bees and other beneficial insects. He will show photos of how he has transformed his own suburban landscape.

Nonmembers are welcome to attend the talk for a $5 donation. The group has a meet-and-greet at 6:30 p.m. before the 7 p.m. meeting starts. A raffle and refreshments will be served. Held at the Veterans Memorial Building, 126 First St. W., Sonoma. 707-935-8986.


Community Club plant sale blowout

The Graton Community Club still has many plants left over from its recent fall sale. The firestorms that ripped through Sonoma County led to a lower turnout for their annual sale. They will be offering unsold plants, including succulents, ground covers, terrariums, shrubs and more, at 50 percent off Oct. 28 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the clubhouse in downtown Graton, 8996 Graton Road. For more information, email Nancy Kesselring at kessel@sonic.net.


Quarryhill offers free admission

Quarryhill Botanical Garden is reopening to the public Oct. 28 for the first time since a wildfire ripped through the upper Sonoma Valley, leaving massive damage in its wake.

The 25-acre wild woodland garden escaped major damage, although neighbors, like the Bouverie Audubon Preserve to the south, didn’t fare so well.

To celebrate the garden is offering free admission to all visitors until the end of the year. The usual general admission price is $12. Docent-led tours will be offered at a 20 percent discount.

“We want to share our tranquil garden with those who need a place to go for a peaceful, pastoral experience as the community unites to rebuild our beloved Valley of the Moon. Our hope is the garden will serve as a place for healing and refuge,” said Quarryhill President and Executive Director Bill McNamara.

The garden is a refuge for more than 25,000 wild-origin plants from Asia, thriving in a natural setting. The garden is open daily from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. For more information, call 707-996-3166 or quarryhillbg.org.


Wildwood Nursery reopens to public

The small town of Kenwood was hit hard by October’s firestorms. But Wildwood Nursery escaped major damage and is reopening to the public Oct. 28.

Showstopper Pinot Noirs



Bravium, 2015 Anderson Valley Pinot Noir, 12.5% alcohol, $29. ★★★★

This pinot is striking because of its generous fruit and surprising undercurrent of spice. It’s weighted to red fruit –– cherry and pomegranate –– and its coupled with bright acid. It has a lush texture, and nice length, with a black pepper finish. Impressive. (Bravium, for the curious, is a Latin word that loosely means reward, prize or gift.)


Migration, 2015 Dutton Ranch Russian River Valley Pinot Noir, 14.1%, $68. ★★★★: This pinot has explosive fruit on the palate –– cherry, raspberry and cranberry. It’s a touch earthy with a hint of Asian spice, and it has a lingering finish. It’s striking.

Merry Edwards, 2015 Russian River Valley, Sonoma County Pinot Noir, 14.3%, $48. ★★★★1/2: What sets this pinot apart is its depth of flavor. It has tangy red fruit and savory notes of earth and mushroom. It’s a complex pinot, with just the right amount of spice in the mix. This supple pinot is knockout.

Three Sticks, 2015 Cuvee Eva Marie, Sonoma Mountain Pinot Noir, 14.3%. $90. ★★★★1/4: The Three Sticks is a serious pinot with a lush texture and gorgeous fruit –– bing cherry and blackberry. It’s complex, with layered flavors of herbs and spice, and it has a lingering finish. Well-crafted.

Carmel Road, 2014 Panorama Vineyard Arroyo Secco, Monterey North Crest Pinot Noir, 14.5%, $55. ★★★1/2: A pretty pinot with bright cherry fruit and notes of toffee and vanilla bean. It’s a balanced pinot because its bright acidity keeps it in check. Lovely.

“A nearby angel brought in their private water truck and irrigated, and in so doing, saved, some of our big inventory,” said co-owner Sara Monte. Son Joe, a landscape designer, has been busy moving downed limbs and debris.

“Fall color is early and intense this year,” Sara Monte said. “I suspect it is due to the environmental stress of the high winds and drought.”

The nursery hours through November are 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Thursdays through Saturdays and noon to 4 p.m. on Sundays. 10300 Highway 12, Kenwood. wildwoodmaples.com.

Compiled by Staff Writer Meg McConahey. Please submit items at least three weeks in advance to meg.mcconahey@pressdemocrat.com.

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