Arboretum's fall sale October 9 features wide variety of plants

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This showy heather called Erica 'Ron's White' was discovered by the Arboretum's Ron Arruda. Photo by S. McCabe.

The UC Santa Cruz Arboretum will hold its annual Fall Plant Sale on Saturday, October 9, 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.

The sale will feature an unusual selection of native and non-native species chosen to thrive in local gardens. A complete list is available on the Arboretum's web site. 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, according to Stephen McCabe, director of education at the Arboretum.

After budget cutbacks a year ago forced the Arboretum to lay off staff and become financially self-sufficient, volunteers stepped up in a big way, McCabe said. "Volunteers have helped students and staff propagate and repot beautiful plants in time for this fall planting season," he said.

A new plant available this year that has never been sold before is a showy seedling heather called Erica 'Ron’s White,' which dangles its long tubular flowers below the branches. It was named after the staff member who discovered it, Ron Arruda, now retired from his position as curator of the South African plant collection.

The curator of the Australian Plant Collection, Melinda Kralj, speaks highly of an Australian fuchsia called Correa glabra 'Cooliban River,' which is new to the U.S. market. The lime-green to yellowish flowers are subtle against the foliage, and the plants look greener and lusher than one would expect for their thrifty use of water. It has been introduced through the Arboretum's "Koala Blooms" program.

The sale will also feature some dramatic and lesser-known members of the protea family: Australian banksias with large, bottlebrush-like flowers and South African leucadendrons with attractive foliage that come in yellow, burgundy-red, and tricolored variegated forms. There will also be a variety of manzanitas and other California natives.

A variety of succulents from California, Mexico and South Africa will also be available. These are perfect plants for dorm rooms as well as the home garden, according to McCabe.

For more information 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.