Sonoma County fest pairs tea, fragrance this October

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Russian tea and fragrance festival

The owners of the Russian River Rose Co. celebrate their Russian heritage and Sonoma County’s Russian history with a two-day Tea & Fragrance Festival Oct. 19 and 20.

The nursery’s vast rose display garden, still colorful with some late blooming roses and rose hips, is the setting for festivities ranging from live folk, Slavic and Gypsy music performed in ethnic costumes to serving of Russian tea prepared in antique Russian samovars. For a little fun there will be “tea leaf readings.” Owners Jan and Mike Tolmasoff are also releasing their new “Rose Embrace,” the only estate-grown rose perfume in California, made from the essence of more than 500 roses. Rose oil and rose water sorbet will be available to sample. Other highlights include scent salon demos and a plant sale with some roses marked down 50%. $5. 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. 1685 Magnolia Drive, Healdsburg. 707-433-7455.


Laguna center to host open house and large native plant sale

Fall is the best time to plant trees and shrubs, while the soil is still warm to allow plants to establish roots and that added boost of winter rains for good measure. 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 Saturday, 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 center 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 will also hold an open house that day in 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 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.

Plant sale hours are 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:


SRJC students prepare for Fall Festival at Shone Farm

Santa Rosa Junior College’s student- run Shone Farm holds its annual Fall Festival today 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.


Whole-ecosystem view key to conscious weed management

A free workshop on healthy weed management will be held Saturday, Oct. 12, with an emphasis on dealing with garden pets by considering the whole ecosystem, not just the pest. The talk will give gardeners a set of tools and strategies for minimizing risks to people and the environment. This talk will have relevance to your garden, whether you’re growing vegetables, fruits or plants. The workshop will cover common weeds, and the experts will have time to answer questions from the crowd. No registration is required. 10:30 a.m. to 11:45 a.m., Cloverdale Regional Library, 401 N. Cloverdale Blvd., Cloverdale,

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