Gardening Calendar: Classes on raised beds, composting, herbs and finding native bees

Flowers and herbs such as the Tuscan blue rosemary, purple viola and yellow calendula above can be made into elixirs, extracts, beverages and foods. Learn how starting March 7 at workshops at the L.A. Arboretum.
(Glenn Koenig / Los Angeles Times)

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. Here’s what’s happening now:

Feb. 29
Armstrong Garden Centers celebrates its 130th anniversary with free rose plants at all of its 31 stores from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., while supplies last. Each store will also award one free landscape design at 1:30 p.m. (must be present to win). The employee-owned company was started in Ontario by nurseryman John Amstrong, and became famous for its catalogs and development of hundreds of new varieties of roses and fruits, such as the Boysenberry, the Babcock Peach, the Seedless Valencia Orange and the Snow Queen Nectarine.

Raised Bed Gardening Workshop taught by Matthew Geldin from Farmscape includes how to choose the right soil, best irrigation techniques and garden planning for raised beds, from 10 a.m. to noon at the L.A. Arboretum, 301 N. Baldwin Ave., Arcadia. $20 members, $30 non-members, includes admission to the arboretum.


Vegetable and Herbs Cultural Techniques, a class taught by Yvonne Savio, master gardener and creator of GardeningInLA, will discuss basic growing considerations for vegetables, fruits and herbs at 11 a.m. at Fig Earth Supply, 3577 N. Figueroa St., in the Mount Washington area of northeast Los Angeles. $10 suggested donation.

Pollinator-Human Plant Forages at Descanso Gardens, in conjunction with “fruiting bodies” at the Sturt Haaga Gallery, 1418 Descanso Drive, La Cañada-Flintridge. Ecological systems engineer Nance Klehm leads two walks to point out flowering plants visited by native bees, at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. $20 members and $30 nonmembers. Advance registration required.

Through March 19
Acorns and Oaks, L.A. Arboretum’s first Parent and Me program designed to provide outdoor, nature-based learning for babies, toddlers and children up to the age of 5. Instructor Betsy Edelberg, founder of Playgroup Los Angeles, encourages parent-child bonding through tactile play with nature, crafts, songs and stories. Thursdays, 9 to 10 a.m., at the Arboretum, 301 N. Baldwin Ave., Arcadia. $150 for up to one child and two adults, max. Additional siblings $50. Member fees $10 plus $45 for additional siblings.

Through March 29
“Incredible Journey: Bugs” is a new daily exhibit at the South Coast Botanic Garden designed to educate visitors about the butterflies, spiders, ants and bees in SoCal gardens and to encourage exploration of new areas in the 87-acre garden at 26300 Crenshaw Blvd., Rolling Hills Estates. Free with $9 admission to the garden ($6 seniors and students, $4 children ages 5-12). Members and children under 5 enter free.

Artist Jessica Rath imagines human-sized bumblebee nests at Rath’s “fruiting bodies” exhibit at Descanso Gardens.

Jan. 16, 2020

March and April
Shakespeare in the Garden at Descanso Gardens Saturdays and Sundays at 2 p.m. in March and April (except April 12) in the gardens, 1418 Descanso Drive in La Cañada Flintridge. The Ensemble Shakespeare Theater returns with performances “amongst Descanso’s spring blooms.” Free with $9 admission to the gardens ($6 seniors/students, $4 children ages 5-12, free to members and children younger than 5).


March 4
“Soil Look — Soil Listen: A Soil Salon” led by Nance Klehm, an ecology systems engineer who will discuss ways our soils support plants, animals and fungi while filtering the environment’s contaminated water and air. The workshop includes a short film, “Soil Listen,” by Katarzna Guzowska. 6-8 p.m. at the L.A. Arboretum, 301 N. Baldwin Ave. in Arcadia. Admission $20 for members, $30 non-members.

The Malibu Garden Club presents “Three Wonderful Gardens in England,” a talk by Yvonne Savio, longtime director of the Los Angeles County Cooperative Extension Master Gardener program and creator of the comprehensive GardeningInLA, who will discuss her visits to the famous Chelsea Flower Show, Prince Charles’ Highgrove Organic Sustainable Garden and the East Lambrook Manor cottage garden created by author Margery Fish, plus ways some of these plants can be raised in Southern California gardens. 9:30 a.m. at the Point Dume Club House, 29500 Heathercliff Drive, Malibu.

March 5
Rosarian Gerry Mahoney discusses “Roses as Therapy, Beauty and Flavoring” at this month’s meeting of the Pacific Rose Society in the downstairs lecture rooms at the L.A. Arboretum, 301 N. Baldwin Ave., in Arcadia. Mahoney is one of the region’s foremost rose experts, and she and her husband, Dave, are cochairs of the American Rose Society’s National Consulting Rosarians program. The society hosts a potluck dinner at 7 p.m. followed by the talk at 8 p.m. Admission is free.

March 6-May 31
Spring Bloom Walks at Descanso Gardens. Learn about cherry blossoms, flowering trees and other seasonal favorites on these guided walks through the gardens at 1418 Descanso Drive, La Cañada Flintridge. 1 p.m. Fridays, 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. Saturdays. Walks may be canceled because of inclement weather. Free with $9 admission to the gardens ($6 seniors/students, $4 children 5-12, free to members and children younger than 5).

March 7
Flower Medicine: Essences of the Wild, the first of six workshops devoted to creating herbal extracts, elixirs, beverages and foods, 10 a.m.-noon at the L.A. Arboretum, 301 N. Baldwin Ave., Arcadia. The workshop is $30 for Arboretum members, $40 non-members (includes admission to the gardens). Register online.

Improving Your Composting Skills, a 1½-hour workshop at the Fullerton Arboretum, instructs students on how to build and improve composting systems, 10–11:30 a.m., 1900 Associated Road, Cal State Fullerton. Parking is free in Lot G. Register online; $7 for members, $10 for non-members.

March 7 and 8
Orange Empire Bonsai Society Bonsai Exhibition and Show at Sherman Gardens and Library, 2647 E. Coast Highway, Corona del Mar. The show includes a Saikei workshop at 11 a.m. March 7 to teach how to create a natural blend of rocks, trees, smaller plants and mosses ($90 members, $100 non-members) and a free bonsai demonstration with instructor Gary Lai at 1 p.m. March 8. The show is free with $5 admission to the gardens.


March 8
“Cactus and Succulent Conservation Around the World,” a presentation by cactus expert Wendell S. (Woody) Minnich, is the topic of this month’s meeting of the South Coast Cactus and Succulent Society, 1 p.m., South Coast Botanic Garden, 26300 Crenshaw Blvd., Rolling Hills Estates.

March 10
“The Anza Trail Native Garden in Griffith Park” is the topic of this month’s meeting of the L.A./Santa Monica Mountains Chapter of the California Native Plant Society, with speaker Katherine Pakradouni of Grown in L.A. The organization focuses on converting underutilized land in Los Angeles into a network of nurseries to produce plants for green infrastructure projects (such as public parks and L.A. River restoration) while providing educational and vocational training opportunities for Angelenos. 7:30-9:30 p.m., Sepulveda Garden Center, 16633 Magnolia Blvd. , Encino.

Creating an Apothecary Garden, a class by Loretta Allison describing the best way to grow medicinal herbs in Los Angeles, 7 p.m. at the House of Intuition, 5148 York Blvd., Highland Park, $25 non-members.

March 28
Composting With Worms, a 1½-hour workshop at the Fullerton Arboretum, teaches you how to introduce and maintain worms in your home composting system. 10–11:30 a.m. at Fullerton Arboretum, 1900 Associated Road, Cal State Fullerton. Parking is free in Lot G. Registration is available online; $10 for non-members or $7 for members.