Garden Calendar: Garden light shows and workshops in composting and soil

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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.

Through Jan. 5
L.A. Zoo Lights includes animal-themed light displays, 3D projections, disco-ball forest, “Twinkle Tunnel” and — new this year — the “World’s Largest Illuminated Pop-Up Storybook,” from 6 to 10 p.m., closed Dec. 24-25, at the Los Angeles Zoo and Botanical Gardens at 5333 Zoo Drive in Griffith Park. Odd Market Nights, a holiday gift bazaar featuring crafters and live music, on Saturdays and Sundays through Dec. 22. Tickets $11 for members; nonmembers pay $15-$22 for adults 13 and older, $12-17 for children

Descanso Gardens’ Enchanted Forest of Light is a gentle 1-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. 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.


Dec. 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-tall 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. 230 Quail Gardens Drive in Encinitas.

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
The Southern California Garden Club is dedicating a Blue Star Memorial Marker at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library, 40 Presidential Drive, in Simi Valley at 11 a.m. The Blue Star Memorial Marker program was started in 1945 by the National Garden Clubs Inc., to honor those serving in the U.S. Armed Forces, past present and future.

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. 12
Mike Evans, founder of the Tree of Life Nursery for native plants, discusses how to create bold landscapes and design with native plants at the Huntington Library, Art Museum and Botanical Gardens’ monthly Garden Talk in the Ahmanson classroom of the Brody Botanical Center, 2:30 p.m. A plant sale follows the talk. Admission is free.

Dec. 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. 13-14 and 20-21
Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden’s Luminaria Nights will illuminate this botanical garden devoted to California native plants with more than 1,000 hanging lanterns and musicians providing “a contemplative and serene ambiance,” 6 to 9 p.m. at 1500 N. College Ave. in Claremont. Members pay $12 for adults, $8 for seniors/students/children. Nonmembers pay $16 for adults and $12 for seniors/students/children.

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.

Dec. 14
A free garden tour at the Dominguez Rancho Adobe Museum is set for 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. on the museum grounds, 18127 South Alameda Street in Rancho Dominguez. The tour by the museum’s Rose Garden Curator Michael Horibe will point out the ranchero’s historic orchards, rose and cactus gardens and hidden grottos on its 17-acre grounds, and include a description of how the plants were on the historic ranch of the Dominguez family. the first Spanish land grant in California.

A free home composting workshop by horticulturist Steve List is being hosted by the city of Los Angeles and L.A. Sanitation, at the Griffith Park Composting Facility, 5400 Griffith Park Drive, from 9 to 10 a.m. City of Los Angeles residents can get free mulch (bring your own shovel and container) and are eligible to purchase composting bins for $20 (checks only). Representatives from the Los Angeles Department of Water & Power will provide conservation tips and rebate information.

Dec. 21 & 28
A free home composting and urban gardening workshop by horticulturist Steve List is being hosted by the city of Los Angeles and L.A. Sanitation, at the South L.A. Wetlands Environmental Education Center, 5413 S. Avalon Blvd., in the South Park area of Los Angeles, 9 to 11 a.m. on Dec. 21. The gardening topic is “Winter Gardening Do’s and Don’ts.” The workshop will take place again on Dec. 28 at the Lopez Canyon Environmental Education Center, 11950 Lopez Canyon Road, in the Lake View Terrace area of San Fernando Valley, 9 to 11 a.m. City of Los Angeles residents can get free mulch (bring your own shovel and container) and are eligible to purchase composting bins for $20 (checks only). Representatives from the Los Angeles Department of Water & Power will provide conservation tips and rebate information.

Jan. 11, 25 & Feb. 8, 22
The L.A. Arboretum sponsors a landscape design course for people who want to use regenerative practices to redo their yards, every other Saturday starting Jan. 11, from 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the arboretum. The courses, taught by landscape architect and certified arborist Shawn Maestretti, will cover a range of topics including the basics of design and how to capture rainwater, nurture living soil, use native or climate-appropriate plants and implement permaculture techniques to reduce green waste. Preregistration is required; call (626) 821-4623. The cost is $250 for Arboretum members or $300 for nonmembers. Couples pay $310 for Arboretum members, $360 for nonmembers.