Now's the time to stock up on plants for fall

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Native plant sale and Laguna open house

Fall is the best time to plant trees and shrubs, while the soil is still warm to allow plants to establish roots, while benefiting from that added boost of winter rains. And the best plants for Sonoma County gardeners are natives.

Gardeners can stock up on great plants well adapted to the local climate during the big fall plant sale Oct. 12 thrown by the Milo Baker chapter of the California Native Plant Society. Members of the group propagated the plants from cuttings and tended them at the nursery they share with the Laguna Environmental Center in Santa Rosa.

California natives are best for saving water, attracting pollinators, providing habitat for wildlife and adding a beautiful and natural touch to a landscape.

Plant sale goers can also check out the 4-acre native plant garden on the grounds of the enter overlooking the Laguna de Santa Rosa.

“Hopefully people can see the garden and get inspired by native plants that are doing so well in Sonoma County. They then can go to the nursery and buy plants from the California Native Plant Society,” said Maggie Hart, an outreach manager for The Laguna Foundation, which will also hold an open house that day at Heron Hall with exhibits and a roster of speakers related to gardening.

At 11 a.m. Steve Swain will talk about “What’s Wrong with Fire Safe Plant Lists.” At noon, April Owens will cover “Designing the California Garden: Resilient Landscapes for the Future of Sonoma County. At 1 p.m. Kandis Gilmore will give a talk on “Fostering a Network of Interdependence: Native Plants for Native Pollinators.”

The sale will be in the new nursery, built two years ago in a horse pasture at the Laguna Environmental Center. The center uses half of the nursery to propagate native plants from seeds that are used for restoration work in the Laguna. The plant sale, however, will include a wider variety of native plants that are also great for the garden, from ceanothus and redbud to monkeyflower, rose mallow, toyon and iris among more than 100 others.

The plant sale will be from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. The Laguna Foundation Open House will be open until 4 p.m. 900 Sanford Road, Santa Rosa. For information visit


Annual Fall Festival at Shone Farm

Santa Rosa Junior College’s student-run Shone Farm holds its annual Fall Festival Oct. 12 with a day of activities both fun and educational.

For home gardeners there will be composting lessons. But there will also be children’s activities, hay bale rides, pumpkin, tomato and strawberry picking, apple pressing and rotten fruit slingshots.

Shone Farm is a field laboratory and teaching resource for the students of agriculture and natural resources. 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. 7450 Steve Olson Lane, Forestville.


Learn how to grow berries

The Master Gardener Food Growing Specialists will hold a free workshop Thursday with tips on growing berries — a perennial food crop that will keep on giving year after year. Topics covered will include soil and water requirements, variety selection, training and pruning, pest management and harvesting. 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., Windsor Regional Library, 9291 Old Redwood Highway, Building 100, Windsor,


Striking orchids to admire and buy

The Sonoma County Orchid Society will present “Novelty Paphiopedilums” by Dave Sorokowsky on Tuesday. Novelty Paphiopedilum is a broad term for hybrids produced from distant-related species and Sorokowsky’s talk will explore the novelties and which ones have become good parents for the next generation of hybrids. While studying enology and viticulture at Brock University in St. Catharines, Ontario, Sorokowsky began buying orchids, one 2-inch pot at a time. Before he graduated he had 100 orchids. Sorokowsky and his wife, Stacey, started Paph Paradise in 2014 after a few years of selling plants on eBay. 6:30 p.m., Santa Rosa Veterans Memorial Building, 1351 Maple Ave., Santa Rosa,


Fall plant sale at Willowside

Willowside School’s fall plant sale continues Oct. 12 with bargains for fall planting.

The student-supported nursery offers a large variety of low-water and drought-tolerant perennials, as well as California natives, a multitude of succulents and grasses and salvias. They also have many varieties of specialty Japanese maples starting at $25. Other plants are priced at $4 for a gallon container. 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. 5299 Hall Road, Santa Rosa. 707-569-4724.

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