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April 28, 2005

A weekend of plant sales and more


AS I WRITE THIS, IT IS MADDENINGLY COLD AND RAINY outside. I've got two new flats of plants on the porch waiting to go in the ground, but it's a muddy mess out there. This is the way it works for me. When I have a free weekend and something to do in the garden, it rains. I'm sure that by the time you read this, it'll be sunny and warm, but you can bet I'll have a day packed full of deadlines, appointments and errands. Perfect.Photo of Red-flowering Currant

The trick is to find a way to get everything planted before the next round of plant sales this weekend.

College of the Redwoods' Agricultural Program is putting on its annual plant sale this weekend. The sale always has interesting plants available for a good price, and the proceeds support the program. In fact, CR's Bert Walker told me that the funds raised at the sale provide almost all of the program's supplies, materials and equipment. The students grow everything themselves. Even donated plants are repotted and nurtured along until the sale.

And getting everything ready for the sale is one of the biggest learning experiences involved, Walker told me. "We start in August, getting out our crystal ball to figure out what to buy, when to propagate it and how to have it looking beautiful on this one day of the year when we hold the plant sale. That's a big difference from a commercial operation, where if something's a little too small you can just hold onto it for another week." Anyway, it's a great sale for a good cause. Stop by the CR greenhouse on Friday and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

[Right: Red-flowering Currant (Ribes sanguineum). Below: Shredding Ninebark (Physocarpus capitatus) These are among the native plants that will be available at the CNPS plant sale. Photos by Jennifer Kalt]

Once you're done there, head over to the Manila Community Center for the California Native Plant Society's spring plant sale. This is part of the annual Wildflower Show, which starts on Friday from 1 to 6. The plant sale itself runs Saturday from 10 to 6 and Sunday from 10 to 4. There's quite a bit more to do besides look at wildflowers and buy plants, however. On Friday at 7 p.m., there's a drawing workshop where you can come, with no art experience at all, and learn how to draw plants. On Saturday at 10 a.m., Kathy McCovey Photo of Shredding Ninebarkwill give a lecture and demonstration on Karuk plant gathering techniques, and throughout the weekend there will be guided dune walks and a chance to see all kinds of native plants and wildflowers in their natural habitats.

Also on Sunday there is an urban tree workshop -- at least, that's what the organizers are calling it. I'd call it a half-day symposium. It's sponsored by the county's Agricultural Extension Office, which has managed to put together a really impressive group of speakers. You'll be able to meet Joe McBride from UC-Berkeley, who will discuss the importance of urban trees. There will also be a discussion of bird-friendly trees with Louise Bacon-Ogden, some information on choosing trees that will be successful in Eureka and much more. If urban trees are your thing, this is the event for you. The cost is only $10. It's happening on Sunday, April 30, from 9 to 1 at the Humboldt Area Foundation on Indianola Road in Bayside. You can call 445-7351 to register.

If you still haven't bought enough plants, Cindy Graebner told me that she's opening her Fickle Hill Old Rose Nursery early this year because the roses are blooming now and it would be a crime to deprive us of them. So starting May 1, you can head out to her garden and nursery at 228 Fickle Hill Road in Arcata, where you can see her eclectic mix of old roses and perennials in action, and buy a few to take home. Check it out.

To top it all off is the Rhododendron Festival on Saturday. See the Calendar for that and other flower-related events.

Looking a little further into the future, the Humboldt Botanical Gardens Foundation will lead walks through the garden site on Saturday, May 7, at 10 a.m. Wear sturdy walking shoes, and get ready to traipse around for an hour or two and check out the site. Work has already begun on the new garden, and if you go on the walk, you'll get all kinds of insider information on what's planned for summer and fall. Go to College of the Redwoods' North Gate Entrance and follow the signs.

And finally, on Sunday, May 8, please do make a Mother's Day date with your mom (or with somebody's mom) to attend the Friends of the Trinidad Library Garden Tour. They tell me that last year they raised enough money to keep the library open for the year, and this year they'll actually be able to use the proceeds to buy new books. Imagine that -- a library that can afford to buy books! But that only happens if you buy your tickets -- $5 per person or $10 per family -- and maybe even pick up a few plants at the plant sale at Town Hall and buy some raffle tickets after you tour the gardens. It's all happening in Trinidad from 12:30 to 4:30 p.m., and you can get tickets at Murphy's Market and a number of other shops in Trinidad, or at Sun, Rain Time, Garden Gate, Moonrise Herbs, Blake's Books and Northtown Books. For more information, call Anne at 677-3802.

garden-related announcements and news to Amy Stewart.


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