The UC Santa Cruz Arboretum will hold its annual Fall Plant Sale on Saturday, October 13, from noon to 4 p.m. at the Eucalyptus Grove on High Street near the intersection of Western Drive. Held in conjunction with the California Native Plant Society, the sale opens early (from 10 a.m. to noon) for members of either organization. Memberships will be on sale at the gate.
There are limited quantities of many of the hard-to-propagate plants, so eager gardeners are advised to arrive early. Among the Arboretum's offerings will be the much sought-after Channel Island bush poppy (Dendromecon harfordii). Propagation of this California native was improved by an Arboretum volunteer who found an effective way to treat the seeds by burying them and burning duff near them in a specific sequence.
Grevillea petrophiloides 'Big Bird' is a novelty with green and lavender flowers that wave in the breeze above the shrub. It reminded Arboretum director Brett Hall of a large emu- or peacock-like bird, with the shrub as the body and the flowers as tail feathers. Another Australian cultivar released this spring, Tetratheca 'Amethyst Eyes,' is suitable for small gardens and has a long blooming period. Other plants available at the sale include feathery Phyllica plumosa and South African proteas. There will be California native plants from the Channel Islands, Little Sur, Santa Cruz County, and Mendocino County.
Sales benefit student gardener interns who are working their way through college by tending the Arboretum. The horticultural sales and memberships also benefit the Arboretum's conservation, research, and education programs.
The sale features an unusual selection of native and non-native species chosen to thrive in local gardens. Many are drought tolerant. A complete list will be available on the Arboretum's web site by October 5, 2012. Fall is a good time for planting because roots can establish themselves during the rainy season, which makes for a stronger and healthier plant to withstand the dry summer.
In addition to plants with different textures and origins for your garden palette, there will be flowers and foliage in all colors, from silver to black, with a rainbow of floral colors in between. The sale will feature some dramatic and lesser-known members of the protea family: Australian banksias with large, bottlebrush-like flowers and South African leucadendrons with attractive colored foliage.
A variety of succulents from California, Mexico, and South Africa will also be available, including haworthias, which are also known as window plants because of their translucent leaves. Many succulents are perfect plants for dorm rooms as well as the home garden, according to the curators.
For more information about the sale, contact the UCSC Arboretum at (831) 427-2998 or visit the Arboretum's web site or Facebook page. The Arboretum is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. every day. Norrie's Gifts is open daily from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.