Tuesday, February 20 , 2018, 6:35 pm | Fair 52º


Save Big on Native Plants at Botanic Garden’s Annual Sale

The Santa Barbara Botanic Garden ushers in the fall planting season at noon Oct. 3 with its annual fall native plant sale, featuring a whole month of inspiration, information and thousands of native plants for sale to the public.

Speakers such as author Robert Kourik, landscape designers Billy Goodnick and Kim True and Garden Horticulturist Bruce Reed will inform and inspire, along with many other activities. 

There is no need to pay Garden admission to shop; just stop in from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily through Nov. 1.

Fall, not spring, is planting season in Santa Barbara’s Mediterranean climate.

“While the rest of the country has to wait for the frost to melt in the spring before they can plant, California native plants like to be in the soil in the fall, in time for our rainy season,” according to Bruce Reed, horticulturist at the Garden. “By next March, while others are just getting pots into the ground, the manzanita and hummingbird sage you plant now will be filling your garden with color and wildlife.”

Regardless of gardening experience, the sale features plants that anyone can raise.

“Native plants are easy to grow, if you choose the right plants for your soil, water and sun conditions,” says Steve Windhager, Ph.D., executive director of the Garden.  “But you don’t have to be a horticulturist to do that! Plants in the Garden’s easy eight collection have been chosen for their adaptability to home garden conditions, where they might receive more water than in the wild. ”  

Look for the easy eight and plant lists for hummingbirds, beneficial insects, dry shade, lawn substitutes and more at the sale.

The Fall Native Plant Sale is more than just a sale; it is a month-long celebration of gardening, and hopefully the start of the rainy season. 

Garden members start the season with a preview party before the sale starts, Oct 2 from 4–6:30pm. Wine, food and music make it a festive event, but these serious gardeners come to shop for the best selection of native plants. 

Members get a 10 percent discount on plants and Garden staff provide expert guidance. Join the party by joining the Garden!

Every week the Garden offers classes and events to inform and inspire. This fall look for:

» Sept. 27, 2–4 p.m.: Can’t wait for the plant sale? Robert Kourik, a leader in the edible landscape movement, leads Roots, a workshop exploring the secrets to nourishing plants from the roots up, based on his most recent book.

» Oct. 3, 3–5 p.m.: Billy Goodnick will give a talk entitled "Design Tips for Putting Natives to Work in Any Garden," with beer and wine reception following.

» Oct. 10, 4–6 p.m.: Landscape designer Kimberly True shares tips for water-conserving landscape design, from swales to rain barrels, including her reimagined design for the Garden’s home demonstration garden at the Dara Emery Lecture.

» Oct. 17 and Oct. 24, 9:30 a.m.–noon: "Gardening with the Experts." You have two chances to spend the morning with expert Garden horticultural staff to see mature plants in the Garden and find the right plants for your landscape in the nursery.

» Oct. 23, 5–6:30 p.m.: "Hort n Hops: Gardening the Plant Community Way" will help you combine plants to maximize ease of maintenance, beauty and habitat value. Share a beer and garden stories with experts and fellow gardeners.

» Oct. 24, 9 a.m.–2 p.m.: "Landscape for Life." The first of three classes in the nationally acclaimed series that guides you in designing a native plant garden that is sustainable and works with nature.

» Oct. 30, 5–6:30 p.m.: "Hort n Hops: Garden Insects, the Good, the Bad and the Ugly." With a title like that, you just come! Learn about bugs in your garden while enjoying a beer with other gardeners.

Information and prices for all these classes can be found at www.sbbg.org/classes-events.

The month-long event also involves monarch butterflies.

“If you want to see monarchs in the summer, you need to plant your milkweed now,” according to Frederique Lavoipierre, director of education at the Garden.

Bring your family to see if the chrysalis on display during weekends hatches into a butterfly!  

The Garden also encourages growers to consider converting landscapes to conserve water. Even if the promised rains of El Niño come, a native plant landscape will still look beautiful and save money during our regular summer dry season.

Convert your lawn now, during the planting season, not in the heat of summer.

Santa Barbara WaterWise offers a rebate program to make a landscape renovation cost effective and the Garden Growers Nursery carries the plants you will need, whether evergreen shrubs, flowering perennials or the architectural beauty of native grasses. See www.waterwisesb.org for more details.

Shop early, as rare and desirable hard-to-find species go fast. As always, Garden staff and volunteers are available to provide expert planting advice free of charge.

Please note the Garden Growers Nursery will be closed Sept. 28 through Oct. 2 to set up for the sale.

— Rebecca Mordini represents Santa Barbara Botanic Garden.

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