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Friends of the Regional Parks Botanic Garden
Native Plant Sale

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The garden is located at the intersection of Wildcat Canyon Road and South Park Drive in Tilden Regional Park near Berkeley, CA


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September 2014
FIRST FALL PLANT SALE for the Regional Parks Botanic Garden
The Benefits of Fall Planting

Epilobium septentrionale ‘Wayne’s Silver’

The Sale:
Saturday, October 4th will be the Botanic Garden’s first fall season plant sale. The first hour of this new sale (from 9:00 to 10:00 AM) is reserved for sales to members of the Friends of the Regional Parks Botanic Garden—and memberships will be available for purchase at the entrance to the sale. The sale of plants to the public will continue to be our usual plant sale event hours: from 10:00 AM to 3:00 PM.

Arctostaphylos pajaroensis ‘Warren Roberts'

The History:

How did it come to pass that the Botanic Garden’s long-established sale is in spring, when nearly everyone knows that fall is the very best time of year to establish California natives and most other drought-tolerant plants in our local gardens and landscapes? It all goes back to the founding of the California Native Plant Society in the mid-1960s, when local concerned citizens banded together to protect and save the garden in its current location. Following their success in this endeavor, they decided to continue on with their work on behalf of California’s native flora statewide. To raise funds for this new venture, it was decided to hold a fall plant sale—first at Lakeside Park in Oakland, then outside the Brazilian Room in Tilden Regional Park and at the Botanic Garden. Success begat success, and over the years the CNPS plant sale at the Botanic Garden grew to the point that the crowds of people and myriad plants outgrew the space. The sale and centralized plant production operation moved to Merritt College in Oakland and in no time at all, the CNPS fall plant sale became a major regional event and the main fundraising event for the East Bay Chapter of CNPS, until CNPS left Merritt College.

Meanwhile, back at the Botanic Garden, after California voters passed Proposition 13 in 1978 and the garden faced collecting admission fees from visitors along with budgetary cuts, Garden Director Wayne Roderick organized the garden’s volunteers and produced the first spring sale at the Botanic Garden in 1979. Spring was chosen for the Botanic Garden’s sale so it would not conflict with the established CNPS fall plant sale—and our traditional spring plant sale was born.

Bumblebee and Ceanothus

Manzanita flowers


Over the years, both sales thrived and innumerable California native plants were produced and sold to eager buyers in the Bay Area and beyond. In the course of that time, more and more nurseries started growing and offering California native plants to an ever-increasing and receptive public. And the two plant sales evolved to the current situation where the East Bay Chapter of CNPS now owns and operates Native Here Nursery, a year-round enterprise growing plants that are collected and propagated exclusively from wild plant populations in Alameda and Contra Costa counties, and the Botanic Garden continues with its spring plant sale.

But with the CNPS change of focus to local native plants at Native Here Nursery, there was an opportunity for the Botanic Garden to step forward with our new fall plant sale focused on the breadth of California’s native plants—and their horticultural selections—that thrive and prosper in beautiful and drought-tolerant gardens and landscapes throughout the region. Many of the Botanic Garden’s fall plant sale offerings are only available at our two sales, and the majority are produced by our dedicated volunteers directly from plants in the Botanic Garden’s living collection.


Why Fall?

Fall is the very best time for planting native drought-tolerant plants. (Water-loving plants can be planted at any time of the year, and as long as they have ready access to water, they will be fine. California’s water-loving native alders and willows belong in this group of plants.) In the fall, soil temperatures are warm enough to encourage root growth from new plantings, and the night temperatures are cooler so the plants are not overly stressed. Capillary action of water is upward in the soil due to those same factors, leading to the need for less watering to get your new plants established.

Toyon (Heteromeles arbutifolia) berries
Vine maple (Acer circinatum) fall color in the Botanic Garden

The cooler conditions are also less favorable to some of the most damaging soil-borne pathogens that would otherwise infect the inevitably damaged and broken roots that happen during planting. However, the most important reason for fall planting is the coming rains. The very best time to plant in the fall is the day before the first main rain. Rains wet the entire root zone of the new plantings and beyond, enabling the plant’s roots to spread widely and deeply into the native soil, so that they will require less watering by the time the weather heats up the following summer. Note that phrase: “less watering”—nearly all California native trees, shrubs, and long-lived perennials will require care and attention through their first two to three summers, and this will include targeted watering when the plants need the water (and not watering when they don’t need it).
See you all at our first fall sale!

—Bart O’Brien, Garden Director


CNPS Plant Sales Around the State

No matter where you live and garden in California, there’s a CNPS chapter working to conserve California native plants and their natural habitats, and to increase understanding, appreciation, and horticultural use of native plants. Many chapters hold plant sales in the fall; these sales are great ways to get started with natives or add to your established native plant garden. On the state CNPS website, you’ll find a list of all the chapter plant sales, with dates, times, locations, and links to more information, click here

Bringing Back the Natives Garden Tour Fall 2014 Events

This summer and fall the Bringing Back the Natives Garden Tour is offering many opportunities to get into gardening with natives.
Gardeners, Unite! Home Meetings (August-October, free, drop-in)
Join other budding native plant gardeners in the garden of a Garden Tour host in Livermore, Pleasanton, Martinez, San Pablo, or Berkeley for inspiration, motivation, information, and comradery.
Fall Workshops (September-November, $30-35 each, advance registration required)
Learn about removing your lawn, gardening for native bees, designing year-round native gardens, gardening and producing food sustainably, and saving seeds (five different workshops).
Native Plant Sale Extravaganza (October 19, drop-in: no registration necessary)
Shop for native plants for your garden on Sunday, October 19, at six native plant nurseries in Richmond, Berkeley, Oakland, San Leandro, and Concord.
Follow (and “Like”) Us on Facebook
You’ll see a changing gallery of native plant garden photos, read about what to do in your native plant garden each month, and to stay informed about Bringing Back the Natives Garden Tour events. 
For more information or to register for workshops:

Upcoming Classes

A click here will take you to a full description of the class as well as the class registration form
Sunday, September 28, 9:30 am-4 pm Modern Textile Design with California Native Plant Dyes Space Available

Friday-Sunday, October 3-5 

Weekend on the Mendocino Coast Space Available
Sunday mornings, October 12-December 7 Learning to Identify Plants by Key Space Available
Illustration/Photo Credits


Epilobium septentrionale ‘Wayne’s Silver’

James Galther  

Arctostaphylos pajaroensis ‘Warren Roberts'

J. Kehoe

Bumblebee and Ceanothus

Philip Bouchard Manzanita flowers
docentjoyce Toyon (Heteromeles arbutifolia) berries
©Sue Rosenthal Vine maple (Acer circinatum) fall color in the Botanic Garden