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Published: Saturday, April 27, 2013 at 4:12 a.m.
Last Modified: Saturday, April 27, 2013 at 4:12 a.m.

SANTA ROSA: Cemetery tours focus on landscape plants

Old cemeteries over the passage of time become intriguing botanical gardens, filled with a mix of native wildlife, roses and plants left long ago in honor of the departed.

Volunteers with Santa Rosa's Rural Cemetery Preservation Committee on May 4 will offer unique, botanically-themed tours of the 17-acre burial ground.

They will also sell roses propagated from heirloom plants found growing in the cemetery and other old graveyards in Sonoma County.

There will be two free tours offered. The Flora and Fauna walk will focus on the diversity of plant life growing in the cemetery among the gravestones, many of them plants left as memorials.

A second Vintage Rose Tour will walk through the cemetery's Memorial Rose Grove dedicated to 16 1906 Earthquake victims who are buried in a mass grave nearby.

More than 5,000 of the city's early settlers and citizens are buried in the oak-studded hillside on Franklin Avenue.

Tours will leave from the Franklin Avenue gate at 10 a.m., 10:30 a.m., 10:40 a.m. and 11 a.m.

SONOMA COUNTY: Plant sales come on strong for spring

This is the high season for plant sales. Take your pick of the many opportunities all over Sonoma County to pick up spring starts, as well as trees, succulents and other garden goodies at great prices.

The Valley of the Moon Garden Club: Club members cultivate all the trees, vegetables, flowers, perennials and shrubs that are sold at bargain prices in their spring sale, slated for 9 a.m. to noon on April 27.

Club members also offer garden art, tools, gift plants and even jewelry. The sale is set up at 698 Broadway at France Street in Sonoma. For information call 935-5939.

Santa Rosa Iris Society's Spring Show and Potted Iris Sale: "Iris Eyes Are Smiling," club members say, for this free show and sale May 4 and 5.

Beautiful displays of iris, experts to consult and irises for sale. Showtime is from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and from 10 a.m to 5 p.m. Sunday.

But the plant sale will be open before the show on Sunday, at 10 a.m. Luther Burbank Art and Garden Center, 2050 Yulupa Ave., Santa Rosa. 538-5932 or 433-8633.

Occidental Arts & Ecology Center Spring Plant Sale: Stock up on a big variety of heirloom food crops, culinary and medicinal herbs and many unusual Asian and South American edibles. Everything is grown organically at the center. Food trucks will be on hand for noshing. 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. May 4 and 5 and May 11 and 12. The OAEC nursery will be open to sales of perennial plants only on May 25 and June 30.

Location: 15290 Coleman Valley Road, Occidental. 874-1557 or

Graton Flower Show: The theme for this year's show is "From the Redwoods to the Sea," with floral and plant displays based on the theme.

The accompanying flower show features habitat plants for birds, bees, and butterflies, salvias, penstemons, lavenders, sedums, thymes, grasses, succulents, rock roses, Japanese maples and other trees.

Also stock up on veggie starts, including many heirloom tomatoes.

All the plants are grown by club members. Dessert and beverages available for sale and lunch for $10. 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. April 26 and 27.

Location: Graton Community Club, 8996 Graton Road, Graton. 829-5314 or

Santa Rosa Garden Club: Plants propagated by members are offered for sale, with a big selection of succulents, as well as native plants, drought-tolerant plants, annuals, perennials and shrubs.

Also featuring dish gardens, bird and butterfly plants, cacti, fruits and vegetables.

The sale raises funds for horticulture scholarships at Santa Rosa Junior College and other community projects.

Members also bring garden related items for an indoor garage sale. 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. April 27.

Held across the street from the Harvest for the Hungry garden's plant sale so shoppers can hit both in the same day. Luther Burbank Art & Garden Center, 2050 Yulupa Ave., Santa Rosa. 537-6885 or

Harvest for the Hungry Annual Plant Sale: Organic vegetable starts, habitat plants and locally grown flowering plants, including more than 100 varieties of heirloom tomatoes, 50 varieties of hot and sweet peppers and many unusual varieties of eggplant, squash and cucumbers, as well as annual and perennial flowering plants suited for Sonoma County gardens.

The sale also includes vendor selling herbs, bee products and gardening supplies.

Raises funds for the garden, which provides fresh food for the needy. 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. April 27. 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. April 27. 1717 Yulupa Ave.

Willowside School Spring Plant Sale: Thousands of plants have been potted up for this ongoing sale that supports the school's horticulture program.

Perennials roses, grasses, small Japanese and Trident maples, deodar cedar trees, redwoods and small cypress as well as a multitude of succulents and Bonsai crab apple and elm trees.

Japanese Maples and Red/Yellow Magnolias, 3 to 6 feet tall for $25 to $35. Prices on other plants start at $3 for one gallon pots. 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. April 27, May 18, June 8 and June 29. 5299 Hall Road at Willowside Road, Santa Rosa. 569-4724.

Green Thumb Garden Club sale: 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. April 27 at the corner of First Street and Cloverdale Boulevard in Cloverdale.

Petaluma Bounty Heirloom Plant Sale: Pick up plant starts grown from seed at the Bounty Community Farm May 4, with prices starting at $2. Thousands of heirloom tomato, vegetable and herb starts will be available for purchase.

There will also be gardening workshops, farm tours and master gardeners available to offer advice and answer questions. 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

It will be held at the Bounty Community Farm, 55 Shasta Ave., Petaluma.

SONOMA COUNTY: Master Gardeners free workshops

The Sonoma County Master Gardeners hold a series of free workshops for home gardeners throughout the planting season. Most are held at local library branches throughout Sonoma County, from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Saturdays.

For information on the Master Gardeners or any of their programs, call 565-2608 or visit

On April 27 from 10 a.m. to noon, a team of food gardening specialists at the Sonoma Garden Park will offer an A to Z approach to growing your own food.

The workshop will cover location, options for planting beds, soil components and amendments, compost and fertilizers, working the soil, crop selection and planning, irrigation, maintenance, pest control and harvesting.

Helpful seasonal handouts will be available for planting dates for spring crops, a sample garden layout and suggested vegetable varieties for Sonoma County.

For more information, email the Food Garden Specialists at

The Sonoma Garden Park is at 19996 Seventh St. E., Sonoma.

Growing Tomatoes: Food growing expert Steve Albert will share secrets to growing good tomatoes during a free workshop May 4 at the Harvest for the Hungry Garden in Santa Rosa.

Albert will cover the season, from seed and seedlings, to feeding, watering, pest control, disease prevention and harvest, as well as seed-saving for the next year.

A grower of some 40 different varieties, he will share his favorites. Albert is the author of The Kitchen Gardener's Growers Guide and publishes the Harvest to Table website. 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. 1717 Yulupa Ave. 484-3613.

HEALDSBURG: Russian River Rose Co. free attractions

The Russian River Rose Company continues its efforts to draw people in to smell the roses with special free events and tours every weekend this spring.

On April 27 and 28, "Glorious Climbing Roses" will be the theme of the day, with more than 75 varieties of climbers expected to be in full bloom, including the nursery's avenue of 12-foot-tall arches bearing 30 cascading climbers. Information will also be available to help select, grow, train and prune climbing roses.

On May 4 and 5 the nursery celebrates May Day and its peak boom with a a Spring Garden Frolic. The UPside Dance Company will help weave colorful ribbons around a spring May-pole at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.

The nursery is located at 1685 Magnolia Drive, Healdsburg. 433-7455 or

KENWOOD: Garden party for Wildwood's 38th

Wildwood Nursery in Kenwood celebrates its 38th spring with a garden party on April 28.

Ricardo and Sara Monte started the nursery along Highway 12 in 1975 and have over time transformed the site with mature dogwoods, Japanese maples and demonstration gardens that make it a destination for tree lovers.

The party from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. will include demonstrations, including how to create a miniature garden using dwarf Ginkgo biloba and other conifers, a historical display in photos and an appearance by "The Bee Lady" who will introduce the art and science of beekeeping and discuss pollinator plants. Refreshments will be served.

There is no admission charge. 10300 Sonoma Highway 12, Kenwood. or 833-1161.

FORT BRAGG: Rhododendron lovers celebrate

The North Coast climate is ideal for rhododendrons and Mendocino County takes advantage of that with a vibrant community of rhodie growers.

The Noyo Chamber of the American Rhododendron Society will throw a big celebration Mother's Day weekend May 11 and 12.

The event each year draws up to 1,000 visitors to a fragrant white tent set up at Mendocino Coast Botanical Garden, overflowing with blooms of every size, shape and color.

In addition to luscious floral displays and competition, there will be a silent auction, experts on hand to answer questions and hearty food like chili, hot dogs and homemade baked goods.

Admission is free. 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. both days.

Rhodie growers are invited to enter their plants for judging.

Entries should be brought to the Botanical Garden between 5 p.m. and 7 p.m. May 9 or between 9 a.m. and 1 p.m. May 10. Judging will happen at 3 p.m. May 10.

The Mendocino Coast Botanical Garden is located at 18220 N. Highway 1, Fort Bragg. or call 964-4435 for information.

(You can direct Home and Garden news to or 521-5204.)

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