Garden Calendar: Holiday lights and garden-priming workshops


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.

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.

Through Jan. 12
Moonlight Forest: A Magical Lantern Art Festival at the L.A. Arboretum returns for its second year Wednesdays through Sundays with 60 larger-than-life lantern sculptures created by artisans from China’s Sichuan province. This year’s display features two new themes, Polar Dreams and Ocean Visions, and is presented in partnership with Tianyu Arts & Culture Inc. Admission $20 to $28. Open 5:30 to 10 p.m. at 301 N. Baldwin Ave. in Arcadia. Closed Mondays and Tuesdays.

Dec. 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 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.

Dec. 28-30


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.

Jan. 8
The Claremont Garden Club offers Greywater 101, a talk by Greywater Action instructor Ty Teissere who will explain common and popular systems that use water from sinks, showers and washing machines for outdoor watering. Refreshments at 6:30 p.m., talk begins at 7 p.m. at the Napier Building, 660 Avery Road in the Pilgrim Place area of Claremont.

Jan. 11-12
Cool Camellia Celebration at Descanso Gardens involves walks, crafts, demonstrations and the annual show of the Pacific Camellia Society, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. each day. The Southern California Camellia Society offers tours of the gardens’ famous camellias at 2 p.m. each day at 1418 Descanso Drive, La Cañada Flintridge. Admission is $9, $6 seniors/students with ID and $4 children 4-12.

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.

Jan. 14
Fire-Safe Native Landscaping, a talk by Cassy Aoyagi, landscape designer and board member of the LA Chapter of the U.S. Green Building Council, is the topic of the January meeting of the California Native Plant Society, Los Angeles/Santa Monica Mountains. Aoyagi will discuss 10 ways that native-plant landscaping can protect property from wildfires, flooding and mudslides. 7:30 p.m. at the Sepulveda Garden Center, 16633 Magnolia Blvd., Encino.