Garden Calendar: Botanic light shows and serious soil-prep workshops

November 15, 2019 0 By JohnValbyNation

If you have a plant-related class, garden tour or other event you’d like us to mention, email — at least three weeks in advance — and we may include it. Send a high-resolution horizontal photo, if possible, and tell us what we’re seeing and whom to credit.

Nov. 14

“Spines, Thorns, Prickles and Beyond”: Sean Lahmeyer, plant conservation specialist at the Huntington Library, Art Museum and Botanical Gardens, discusses the “spinescence” of the gardens and the many external defenses that plants in the gardens use to protect themselves. A plant sale will follow. 2:30 to 3:30 pm. in the Ahmanson Classroom in the Brody Botanical Center, 1151 Oxford Road, San Marino. Admission is free.

Nov. 15

The “Dana Point” buckwheat plant giveaway is a collaboration by the Orange County Chapter of the California Native Plant Society and the Doheny State Beach Interpretive Assn. to give away 200 of the city’s namesake buckwheat plants to Orange County homeowners between 9 a.m. and 1 p.m. at the Dana Point Community Center, 34052 Del Obispo St. in (of course) Dana Point.

Nov. 15-16

“Sheet Mulching for Healthy Soil” is the topic of two free workshops offered by the Pasadena Department of Water and Power about sheet/lasagna mulching techniques to suppress weeds, reduce irrigation and improve your garden soil, at the Sheldon Reservoir, 1800 N. Arroyo Blvd., Pasadena. 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. both days. Register for one workshop taught by Leigh Adams and Shawn Maestretti.

Nov. 17-Jan. 5

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Descanso Gardens’ Enchanted Forest of Light is a gentle one-mile walk through the gardens highlighting some of the most popular locations with large-scale light displays. New this year is a “magical ‘stained-glass’” creation at Mulberry Pond by contemporary sculptor Tom Fruin. This year’s exhibit also features updated versions of the popular “Celestial Shadows” display of spinning polyhedrons, the “Lightwave Lake” light show and Jen Lewin’s flowing interactive landscape of meandering pathways called “Aqueous.” Students from California School of the Arts will perform Dec. 6-7 and 13-14. Member-only nights Dec. 20-23 and 26-28. General admission tickets start at $30, members pay $5 less. Children 2 and younger, free. Tickets must be purchased in advance.

Nov. 19

Aquatic gardener David Gardner of Sunland Water Gardens discusses plant breeding, water lilies and edible aquatics during the monthly meeting of the Southern California Garden Club in the Sepulveda Garden Center, 16633 Magnolia Blvd., Encino. The meeting begins at 9:30 a.m. with a fundraiser plant market and country store, a business meeting at 10:20 a.m. and the speaker at 11 a.m. A bring-your-own lunch follows at noon, with the club providing beverages and dessert. Free.

Nov. 23-24

Landfill to Landscape in Altadena: Hands-on Hugelkultur/Bioswale Workshops These two-day rain garden and bioswale workshops by Shawn Maestretti Garden Architecture are $20 a day, with a $10 refund on Day 2 if participants attend both days. Hugelkultur is a technique for creating raised garden beds using logs, branches and other clippings covered with soil. Rain gardens and bioswales are techniques for collecting, filtering and storing excess water. Specific location to be announced Nov. 20. 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. each day.

Dec. 3-8, 10-15, 17-23 & 26-30

San Diego Botanic Garden’s Holiday Nights in the Garden promises a family-friendly range of activities such as nightly “snowfall” and a play area with real snow, visits with Santa (through Dec. 23), holiday crafts, a 10-foot poinsettia tower and a “romantic mistletoe hideaway” (something to keep the parents busy perhaps, while the kids are tossing snowballs?). Admission prices range from $25 for nonmembers on weekends to $17 for children 3-17; prices slightly lower on weeknights, at 230 Quail Gardens Drive in Encinitas.

Dec. 5-8, 12-15, 19-22

The sixth Nights of 1,000 Lights at Sherman Library & Gardens celebrates the holidays with a 12-night garden light show Thursdays through Sundays. The event, which includes music, has been expanded this year. Ticketed guests get free photos with Santa, a chance to make a traditional Scandinavian Julehjerter (heart-shaped Christmas decoration), complimentary coffee, hot chocolate and s’mores around a bonfire, along with beer, wine and other food on sale. Tickets on sale now; $15 members, $25 nonmembers, children 3 and under free. 6 to 9 p.m. at 2647 E. Coast Highway in Corona del Mar.

Dec. 10

California Native Plant Society board President Steve Hartman recaps his 45-year history as a CNPS volunteer and conservationist during the monthly meeting of the Los Angeles/Santa Monica Mountains Chapter of the California Native Plant Society, 7:30 to 9:30 p.m. in the First United Methodist Church of Santa Monica, 1008 11th St. Admission is free.

Dec. 11-13

Rancho Los Alamitos Holiday Open House will light up the grounds of the 18th century ranch house and gardens between 4 and 7 p.m. each night. A special event for children ages 3 to 8 is set for Dec. 12, from 3:30 to 5 p.m., and reservations are required. The children’s event includes stories about holiday parties and family traditions from the Rancho’s past, as well as an interactive concert by the Long Beach Camerata Singers and craft activities in the barnyard. Children must be accompanied by an adult. $15 adults, $10 children under 12. Children 2 and under are free. The three-day evening open house features music, light refreshments at the barn, seasonal displays outside and tours of the ranch house decorated for the holidays at 6400 E. Bixby Hill Road in Long Beach. Admission is free but parking reservations are required; call (562) 431-3541.

Dec. 13-Jan. 5

Jungle Bells at the San Diego Zoo transforms the zoo with music, lights, animal-shaped light sculptures, special animal experiences and holiday-themed entertainment, including acrobats and Dr. Zoolittle, the zoo’s costumed characters and Santa Claus (through Dec. 25). 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. except Dec. 24, when the zoo closes at 5 p.m., at 2920 Zoo Drive in San Diego. Free with admission to the zoo, $46 ages 3 to 11, $56 12 and older.