Take a medicinal plant walk in Quarryhill Garden

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National Heirloom Expo Returns

Heritage crops from across the globe are displayed, celebrated and consumed at the annual National heirloom Expo Sept. 10-12.

Think massive pumpkins and mounds and towers of colorful gourds in all shapes and sizes. But it’s not just eye candy. “The World’s Pure Food Fair” as promoters call it, also offers exhibits, vendors, garden artists, panel discussions and seminars, all focused on sustainable agriculture, without the use of GMOs. The fair is about preserving food diversity by maintaining heirloom varieties and the easy availability of diverse seeds.

Other highlights include a dahlia show, a School Gardens Network Kids Pavilion and a pumpkin and sunflower contest and a live heirloom music festival featuring bluegrass, folk, western, Irish and more.

Special talks throughout the festival will cover everything from tomato breeding and planting for pollinators to regenerative agriculture and the revival of heirloom Mexican corns. Talks and round table discussions include both useful, how-to information for farmers and backyard growers and debates centered around serious issues confronting modern agriculture.

The aim of the Expo is to raise awareness about the importance of preserving heirloom seed and draw attention to concerns about the threat of genetically modified seed.

At 11:30 a.m. Wednesday, Vandana Shiva, Bob McFarland and Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., will participate in a discussion on “Poison-Free, Fossil-Free Food & Farming Communities: 2030.”

Tickets are $15 for a one-day pass and $30 for a three-day pass. Children are free. Open 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. all three days. At the Sonoma County Fairgrounds, 1350 Bennett Valley Road, Santa Rosa.


Medicinal walk

Learn about plants with healing properties during a Medicinal Plant Walk Sept. 15 at Quarryhill Botanical Garden. Experts leading the stroll are author/grower Peggy Schafer of the Chinese Medicinal Herb Farm in Petaluma and Sean Fannin, a Chinese medicine practitioner. They will help you identify plants in the Quarryhill main garden that have health benefits in traditional Chinese medicine. Schafer is the author of “The Chinese Medicinal Herb Farm: A Cultivator’s Guide to Small Scale Organic Herb Production,” and a frequent lecturer at colleges of Oriental medicine. $20, $15 for garden members. To register in advance, visit 10 a.m. to noon, Quarryhill Botanical Garden, 12841 Highway 12, Glen Ellen, 707-996-3166.


Firewise landscaping

You can’t control fire but you can take steps to increase your home’s chances of surviving a firestorm. Master Gardener Dennis Przbycien, an expert in “Fire Wise landscaping,” will offer common sense tips for things you can do to make your property less vulnerable during a talk before the Petaluma Garden Club on Monday . Przbycien will cover how to create a “defensible space” around your home, reduce the “fire ladders” that allow fire to spread and minimize the chance of wildland fires spreading through your landscape and burning your home. The meeting, open to the public, includes coffee and snacks. Registration is at 9:30 a.m. Petaluma Veterans Memorial Building, 1094 Petaluma Blvd. S.


Garden party

Wildwood Nursery is hosting a garden party Sept. 14 to celebrate the start of the fall planting season. The free event will offer food, drink, music and butterfly sitings as well as special prices on plants. The nursery has an extensive display garden with Japanese maples, dogwoods, ginkgos and habitat plants. Noon to 4 p.m., 10300 Sonoma Highway, Kenwood,, 707-833-1161.


Planting winter crops

Another potential planting season is upon us. If you’re eager to get a winter crop going, the Sonoma County Master Gardeners will show you how during a free workshop Sept. 14. Specially trained in food production, these experts will cover the gamut of fall/winter gardens, from options for planting beds and where to put your garden, to compost and mulch, crop selection and planning, irrigation, maintenance, pest control, harvesting and cover crops. The workshop includes handouts on planting dates for fall and overwintering crops, a sample garden layout and suggested vegetable varieties for Sonoma County. 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., Sonoma Valley Regional Library, 755 West Napa St., Sonoma.


Butterfly garden in full bloom

The Russian River Rose Co. will have experts on hand Saturday and Sunday to show you how to attract birds, bees and butterflies to your garden.

Special presentations will be from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. There will be a beekeeping demonstration and a lesson on how to create a hummingbird wall. A $2 donation would be appreciated. 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.,

1685 Magnolia Drive, Healdsburg,, 707-433-7455.


Cannabis Workshop

Solar Living Institute is holding a Cannabis Workshop Saturday featuring expert Brandon Wheeler with insights on how to have a productive harvest. Wheeler will cover many topics including drying and storage methods and ways to use your crop in edibles and extracts. $45 at 1 p.m. to 4 p.m., Solar Living Institute, 13771 South Highway 101, Hopland,

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