Wonderful Thanksgiving and holiday decorations and gifts will be available from the UC Santa Cruz Arboretum at the annual Gift and Wreath Sale on Saturday and Sunday, November 17 and 18. The sale will be held at the Arboretum's Horticulture Building, and sale hours will be 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday and 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Sunday.

For the second year, several Santa Cruz County artists joined forces with more than 20 Arboretum volunteers to produce some dramatic and creative wreaths and other artwork for the annual sale. Wreaths will be available in styles ranging from delicate to bold, and from traditional to avant-garde. There will be fresh table bouquets and a surfboard planted with succulents. In each case, succulents or dried materials from the Arboretum's unusual collections will decorate at least part of the wreaths.

With the largest collections of Australian plants outside of Australia and a good collection of South African proteas, the Arboretum has a lot of materials to choose from. The creativity of the volunteers is evident and may inspire visitors to buy plants or dried flowers to make their own creations. Visitors can also go to Norrie's Gift Shop for jewelry, ornaments, and landscaping plants, or get a jump on other holiday shopping at Norrie's annual Holiday Open House, held at the same time as the Wreath Sale. There will be free cookies and 10 percent off almost everything at Norrie's during the weekend.

Volunteers have planted succulent frames, novelty designs, and beautiful dish gardens. Living wreaths planted with succulents tend to last for three or four years if kept away from the brightest sun and tended like a slow-growing garden. Dried arrangements make lovely indoor decorations for the harvest season and beyond.

The sale is a volunteer effort to help the Arboretum's education, conservation, research, and horticulture programs. Most of the profits go directly to fund students working their way through college while learning about horticulture and habitat restoration at the Arboretum. Funds also pay for training UCSC interns.

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.