SoCal Garden Calendar: Here are 9 things for garden lovers to do this month

A photo illustration of a hummingbird
It’s Bird Month at California Botanic Garden, where you can learn more about fascinating winged creatures such as the hummingbird.
(Photo illustration by Micah Fluellen / Los Angeles Times; Photo provided by Deb Woo)

The Garden Calendar is back, with real live in-person activities and several online classes. Please send your events to at least three weeks in advance, and we’ll try to include it. Stay safe and keep growing!

Happening now

The Calscape Garden Planner is a free and easy online tool from the California Native Plant Society to help you plan your native plant garden based on your zip code, sun availability and the goals for your yard. Just answer a few questions and get a long list of suggested plants, along with their requirements for water, shade and the types of pollinators they attract. And if you have more questions about specific native plants, check out the exhaustive online database at

Outdoor exhibits at the Aquarium of the Pacific reopened on Jan. 30, including the Shark Lagoon, June Keyes Penguin Habitat, Lorikeet Forest, Seals and Sea Lions Habitat and Moon Jelly Touch Lab at 100 Aquarium Way in Long Beach. What does the aquarium have to do with gardening? The aquarium’s outdoor exhibits, such as the forest, a 5,400-square-foot outdoor aviary representing the coastal lowlands of Australia, complete with trees and waterfalls, as well as a rooftop garden of coastal shrubs and grasses as part of its water conservation exhibit. Open daily 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. (or to 8 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday). Admission is $19, free to children under 3 and Aquarium members. Expect temperature checks, and visitors aged two and older must wear face masks. Tickets must be purchased in advance online at


Tomatomania, Southern California’s harbinger of spring gardening for 30 years, is back with a traveling show of more than 200 tomato varieties.

Jan. 23, 2021

Ongoing through February

Descanso Gardens’ famous camellia blooms. Most SoCal botanic gardens have a selection of camellias, and now through the end of February is prime bloom time, but Descanso Gardens’ camellia collection is billed as North America’s largest, so plan a trip to ogle these magnificent flowers (especially if you have a thing for reds and pink—perfect for a Valentine’s Day outing!). Non-members must purchase tickets in advance online for $15 ($11 for seniors and students, $5 children 5-12, children under 4 and members enter free). The gardens are open daily 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at 1418 Descanso Drive in La Cañada Flintridge. Face coverings required.

Bird Month at California Botanic Garden includes a chance for visitors to try to identify the many birds who thrive in the state’s largest botanic garden of California native plants (88 acres!) at 1500 N. College Ave. in Claremont. It’s also a good viewing place for people who want to participate in the Great Backyard Bird Count, a free international bird-counting event Feb. 12-15. Photo buffs can enter the Bird Month Photo Contest through Feb. 28. Keen observers can enter the iNaturalist Bird Contest, with prizes to the people who document the most bird species at the garden. There’s also a special scavenger hunt sheet for visitors, with limited copies at the gate or available for download online. The garden is open Tuesdays through Sundays 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Non-members must buy tickets in advance online. Admission is $10 ($6 for seniors 65+ and students, $4 for children 3 to 12). Children under 3 and members enter free.) All visitors over 2 must wear a face covering.

A California scrub jay.
(Deb Woo)

Feb. 4, 11, 18 & 25
Kinetic Tai Chi at the Arboretum, taught by Arnold Chien, founder of the martial art Kinetic Tai Chi, and 2014 Kung Fu Master of the USC Pacific Asia Museum. The training sessions include striking, throwing and submission techniques. The new classes join the Arboretum’s other weekly outdoor classes in yoga, family yoga and forest bathing. The Tai Chi class is every Thursday from 9:30 to 11 a.m. at the Arboretum, 301 N. Baldwin Ave. in Arcadia. The cost is $25 per class ($20 for members).

Sole Folks is a boutique that offers space for Black entrepreneurs to sell merchandise and for aspiring fashion designers to learn about the industry.

Jan. 22, 2021

Feb. 9
Orange County Organic Gardening Club Zoom meeting features Dave Freed, aka the Tomato Guy, to discuss ways to grow and water tomatoes that maximize yields, at 7:30 p.m. Email for a Zoom invitation.


Feb. 13
Introduction to birding, an online workshop by Tina Stoner, president of the Pomona Valley Audubon Society, presented by the California Botanic Garden. Learn how to use binoculars and field guides, keep records and identify birds by using the four fundamentals of birding during a Zoom online meeting from 1 to 2 p.m. The cost is $25, or $20 for members.

Feb. 20
Herbs for the Nerves, a Zoom online class at the Arboretum presented by herbalist Irena Cora Stathis explores the most potent herbs for calming the mind, releasing tension, relaxing the body and promoting sleep — from 10 a.m. to noon. The cost is $25 or $20 for members.

Feb. 27
Habitat Gardening for Birds and other Pollinators is an online Zoom class presented by California Botanic Garden horticulturist Chip Grubbs. The one-hour class will focus on how to turn your garden into habitat attractive to birds, bees and other pollinators, the types of plants to grow and how to care for them. The class starts at 11 a.m. The cost is $25 or $20 for members.