Take a farm tour, plant an herb garden and many more SoCal plant events for fall

Oak leaves graphic in the style of "American Gothic"
(Micah Fluellen / Los Angeles Times; Getty Images)

Here it is, late October, so everyone should have a pumpkin or two on their porch or balcony, waiting to be hollowed out and carved, right? Just don’t carve them too early. In SoCal’s fall heat, jack o’ lanterns don’t last more than a day or two before they start to dissolve.

Of course, you can always scour pumpkin patches and keep your favorite gourds intact as a base for a homemade succulent pumpkin to display through the holidays; the flatter and wider on top, the better. These living decorations last for months as long as the shell of the pumpkin remains intact and out of direct sun, and they are incredibly easy and satisfying to make, even for craft-a-phobes whose finished projects typically look like preschool rejects.

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In the meantime, our new garden calendar is chock full of plant-related events, especially if you’re in the market for native plants (this is prime planting time — check out Bloom! California for inspiration) or learning more about growing food organically. Make a day of it by touring farms and ranches during Ventura County Farm Day or sign up for a class in starting plants from seed or creating an herb garden.

Email garden- and plant-related events to at least three weeks before the event, and we might include them in the calendar.

Oct. 23-24
Chrysanthemum Show & Sale by the Orange County Chrysanthemum Society is set for Sherman Library & Gardens, 2647 E. Coast Highway in Corona del Mar. The show, 10:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., will include classes about mums, Q&A sessions and many plants for sale. The show is free with $5 admission to the gardens (free to members).


Oct. 23-Nov. 1
San Diego Botanic Garden Fall Festival highlights harvest plants including pumpkins and autumn festivals such as Halloween and the Day of the Dead (Día de los Muertos), and includes two days of events from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Oct. 23 and 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Oct. 31. There will be live music, crafts and other activities, including a Día de los Muertos ofrenda, or altar, created by artist Katie Ruiz, to honor loved ones who have died. The garden’s corpse flower (Amorphophallus titanum) is also expected to bloom during the festival, a rare, short-lived and stinky event, and the public can watch a 24-live feed of its progress. The festival is free with admission to the 37-acre gardens; tickets are $18 for adults, $12 for students, seniors and active military, $10 children ages 3-17.

Oct. 24
Start an Herb Garden or Expand an Existing One is a class offered by master gardener George Pessin, curator of the Greystone Demonstration Garden at Greystone Mansion, 905 Loma Vista Drive in Beverly Hills. It’s from 10 to 11:30 a.m. Bring your own 6-inch to 8-inch pot and take home an herb plant; the instructor will provide seedlings and potting soil. Tickets are $15 ($12 for Beverly Hills residents). Class size limited to 12.

Here’s our list of Halloween and Día de Los Muertos events happening in the Los Angeles area.

Oct. 26, 2021

Oct. 26-Nov. 6
The Theodore Payne Foundation’s Fall Plant Sale offers the native-plant foundation‘s largest selection of California native plants for the year, along with expert advice, activities for children and discount prices (15% off for members, 10% for nonmembers). Admission is free, but attendees must RSVP to maintain COVID-safe crowd sizes at the nursery at 10459 Tuxford St. in Sun Valley.

Oct. 30
A presentation about the Harmon Canyon Oak Woodlands in Ventura County with Los Padres ForestWatch Conservation Director Bryant Baker will run from 9 to 10:30 a.m. at the Harmon Canyon Preserve, 7511 Foothill Road. It’s part of the Ventura Land Trust’s OAKtober Oak Awareness Month events. Baker will delve into the habitat, biology and natural history of the county’s oak woodlands and Los Padres National Forest. Participants will meet at the Harmon Canyon Preserve trailhead and walk a short distance to an oak grove.

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Nov. 4
Sherman Library & Gardens Holiday Gift Faire & Volunteer Cookbook Launch offers seasonal plants, handmade items and copies of “First Monday Coffee,” a 123-recipe cookbook created by the Volunteer Assn. of Sherman Library & Gardens, with illustrations by artist Carol Kreider. Admission to the gardens is free during the fair, which runs from 10:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. at 2647 E. Coast Highway in Corona del Mar.

Nov. 5-6
Fullerton Arboretum California Native Plant Sale at 1900 Associated Road in Fullerton offers more than 100 varieties of native plants grown at the arboretum in addition to more than 50 other varieties of flowering shrubs, trees, vines, grasses and succulents. The Nov. 5 sale from 2 to 5 p.m. is open to arboretum members and Cal State Fullerton card holders. The sale on Nov. 6 is open to the public from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Members get a 10% discount on all plant purchases.

Nov. 6
Ventura County Farm Day features free, self-guided tours of at least 13 farms, ranches and agricultural organizations in Ventura, Oxnard, Camarillo and other parts of Ventura County, 10 a.m to 3 p.m. The event, organized by the nonprofit Students for Eco-Education and Agriculture (SEEAG), features tours of a family-owned apiary, organic composting site, alpaca ranch, berry and fruit farms, Oxnard Historic Farm Park, and several organic farms, including the Ventura County Area Agency on Aging Senior Nutrition Garden, which relies on volunteers to tend a 2-acre organic farm with 50 varieties of fruits and vegetables donated to needy seniors.

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April 15, 2021

A native plant sale sponsored by the San Gabriel Mountains Chapter of the California Native Plant Society in partnership with the city of Monrovia will take place from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Monrovia Historical Museum, 742 E. Lemon Ave. Volunteers are needed to help with the sale, organized by Artemisia Nursery. A portion of the proceeds will be donated to the Monrovia Canyon Park Volunteers, who help maintain the park and trails repaired after the 2020 Bobcat fire. A complete list of the sale’s plants and seeds is available at

Who’s Eating Your Garden? A workshop in organic pest and disease control at the Cook’s Garden, from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at 1033 Abbot Kinney Blvd., in Venice. $35.


Habitat Restoration at the Los Cerritos Wetlands is the topic of a volunteer event hosted by the Aquarium of the Pacific to restore 66 acres of wetlands by collecting seeds from rare plants, planting varieties native to the region and removing invasive nonnatives. The event takes place the first Saturday of every month through Dec. 4 from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Volunteers should meet at Pacific Coast Highway and 1st Street in Seal Beach at 10:15 a.m. Children under 14 must be accompanied by an adult. Closed-toe shoes are required; hats and sunscreen are strongly recommended. Water will be provided, but this is a plastic-bottle-free event, so bring your own reusable water bottle. Registration is not required.

You can grow fruit on your balcony or other small space, as long as you choose the right varieties, keep them well-watered and fed and plant them in the right containers, with plenty of sun.

May 29, 2021

Nov. 9
“All About Strawberries” with the Orange County Organic Gardening Club at 7:30 p.m. in Centennial Farm at the OC Fair & Event Center, 88 Fair Drive in Costa Mesa. Sustainable gardening teacher and designer Lucie Galvin goes deep about strawberries and how to successfully grow them at home. Admission is free, and masks are required for all attendees. For more information, email

Nov. 14
Garden Plant and Sip Workshop at the Cook’s Garden, 1033 Abbot Kinney Blvd. in Venice, from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. This workshop by owner Geri Miller will teach participants how to plant their own herb garden in a biodegradable pot that they can take home. They’ll also get to sample two glasses of wine and a selection of cheese, dried fruits and chocolates. Participants must be 21 or older and present a COVID vaccination card at the door. $65.

The Elm Avenue Community Garden cleanup and winter gardening class are from 1 to 5 p.m. at 44841 Elm Ave. in downtown Lancaster. Volunteers will clean walkways for the winter growing period and receive instructions for creating and protecting a winter garden by Master Gardener Dave Mashore. The Elm Avenue Community Garden is an organic garden that grows and harvests vegetables, fruits and herbs to share with the community. The event is free. Find out more on its Facebook page: Elm Ave Community Garden — a Grow AV Project.

Nov. 20
Garden Seed and Sip Workshop at the Cook’s Garden, 1033 Abbot Kinney in Venice, from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. Owner Geri Miller will help participants plant seeds in a coir seedling tray with seed starting mix and an assortment of seeds. They will also get to sample two glasses of beer or wine with a selection of cheeses, dried fruit and nuts. Participants must be 21 or older and present a COVID vaccination card at the door. $65.