Decorations and gifts for Thanksgiving and the holidays will be available at the UCSC Arboretum's annual Gift and Wreath Sale on Saturday and Sunday, November 23 and 24. The sale will be held at the Arboretum's Horticulture Building from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. each day.

For the third 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 29th annual sale.

Wreaths will be available in styles ranging from delicate to bold, and traditional to avant-garde. There will be fresh table decorations that can serve as host or hostess gifts. 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, there is a lot to choose from. It is also amazing to see the transformation of the Horticulture Building from classroom to stylish shop.

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.

Volunteers have planted succulents in frames, on top of pumpkins, and in 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.