Gardeners and plant lovers: 14 things to do in L.A. right now

·9 min read
camellia flowers bundled with garden tools on a pink background
(Micah Fluellen / Los Angeles Times; Getty Images)

It's late January, a time for garden rejuvenation, reflection and a few reminders, as in: Have you finished pruning your roses yet? And have you planted at least a couple of fragrant, flowering native plants in your yard or in containers, to support our local birds and pollinators?

This is also the month to start thinking about delicious summer fruit. If you can add a fruit tree or berry bush to your yard or patio, February and early March are the time to do it because nurseries are full of bare-root fruit varieties. Be sure you choose a variety that grows well in your region because some trees, such as apples, pears and soft fruits like peaches and cherries, require a certain number of "chill hours" — hours when the temperature ranges between 32 and 45 degrees — to produce fruit. Thus, most Southern California gardeners need trees that require a low number of chill hours.

The California Rare Fruit Growers website lists nurseries that sell a large variety of fruit trees, but notes also that the list is incomplete. Check in with the organization's local chapters, such as the Foothill chapter in the San Gabriel Valley or the West Los Angeles chapter, to get advice about varieties that grow best in your specific region, and stay tuned for after the pandemic because these chapters usually offer classes in pruning and growing all kinds of fruits, rare or not.

And just a quick note on the native plant front: MyNB, an app for the city of Newport Beach, now includes photos and information about the native plants growing in the city's Civic Center Park and Sculpture Exhibition, near Fashion Island and the Pacific Coast Highway.

Here’s our new list of plant and garden events in the L.A. area into February. Email garden- and plant-related events to jeanette.marantos@latimes.com at least three weeks before they happen, and we might include them in the calendar.

Jan. 22

Santa Monica Mountains Fund Saturday Restoration at Cheeseboro Canyon, 5792 Chesebro Road in Agoura, from 9 a.m. to noon. Help the National Park Service restore an oak savanna by planting native plants in the canyon that was burned during the 2018 Woolsey Fire. Participation is free, but preregistration is required due to COVID-related precautions. Masks will be required when volunteers are working within six feet of each other. Children 5 and older may participate when accompanied by adults. Bring water, sunscreen and a sun hat, and wear hiking attire: Closed-toe shoes, pants and long-sleeved shirts are recommended. Gloves and tools will be provided. eventbrite.com

Jan. 22-23

Southern California Camellia Society 72nd "Early" Camellia Show at Descanso Gardens, 1418 Descanso Drive, La Cañada Flintridge, from 1 to 4:30 p.m. on Jan. 22 and 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Jan. 23. The general public may enter their own camellia blooms for judging from 7 to 10:30 a.m. on Jan. 22. The show is free to visitors after paid $15 admission to the gardens ($11 for seniors 65 and older and students with ID, $5 for children ages 5-12. Members and children under 5 enter free). Masks are required indoors. socalcamelliasociety.org

Baiko-En Bonsai Kenkyukai Society presents Winter Silhouettes Bonsai, the only show of deciduous, miniaturized trees in the United States, at the L.A. Arboretum, 301 N. Baldwin Ave. in Arcadia, from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. both days. The show is free to visitors after paid $15 admission to the gardens ($11 for seniors 62 and older and students with ID, $5 for children ages 5-12. Members and children under 5 enter free). Nonmembers should purchase their tickets online for timed entry, and masks are required indoors. arboretum.org

Jan. 28

Native Plant Maintenance Basics at the Theodore Payne Foundation nursery, 10459 Tuxford St. in Sun Valley, from 9 to 10:15 a.m. Native plant enthusiast Erik Blank, a nursery staff member, will take participants through Theodore Payne's demonstration gardens to explain good maintenance techniques. Participants should wear closed-toe shoes and be prepared to walk for about an hour on sometimes steep and uneven surfaces. Participants must have proof of full vaccination against COVID-19 or a negative COVID-19 PCR test taken within 72 hours of the class. Masks are required indoors and out. Register online, $15 or $12 for members. eventbrite.com

Jan. 29

Help the GrowGood farm with digging and planting chores in its fields, gardens and orchard. Volunteer day is held on the first and third Saturday of every month at 5600 Rickenbacker Road in Bell, from 9 a.m. to noon. The farm also welcomes volunteers the first and third Tuesday of every month from 9:30 a.m. to noon. Children 12 and older are welcome if accompanied by an adult. Masks are required, and volunteers are also asked to wear a hat and sunscreen and bring a water bottle, gloves and hand tools if possible. Volunteers will be asked to work at least six feet apart for safety against COVID-19. Space is limited, register online. grow-good.org

It’s the Soil, Silly! How to get the most out of your soil organically, a class at the Cook's Garden, 1033 Abbot Kinney Blvd. in Venice, from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. An introduction to the basic components of organic gardening that outlines the secrets of great soil, such as good soil tilth, texture and structure, and an abundance of organic matter. Plus, get tips for maintaining the biosphere, or living organisms, that keep your garden healthy. The class is limited to 20 people. Participants must be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 and present a vaccination card at the door. $35. thecooksgardenvenice.com

Jan. 29-30

Southern California Camellia Society 6th Annual Camellia Show at the L.A. Arboretum, 301 N. Baldwin Ave. in Arcadia, from 1 to 4:30 p.m. Jan. 29 and 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Jan. 30. The general public may enter their own camellia blooms for judging from 7 to 10:30 a.m. on Jan. 29. The show is free to visitors after paid $15 admission to the gardens ($11 for seniors 62 and older and students with ID, $5 for children ages 5-12. Members and children under 5 enter free). Nonmembers should purchase their tickets online for timed entry, and masks are required indoors. socalcamelliasociety.org

Feb. 4

California Native Container Plants — a class about how to grow native plants in pots, taught by Flora Ito, nursery sales manager at the Theodore Payne Foundation nursery, 10459 Tuxford St. in Sun Valley, from 9 to 10:15 a.m. Participants must have proof of full vaccination against COVID-19 or a negative COVID-19 PCR test taken within 72 hours of the class. Masks are required indoors and out. Register online, $25 or $20 for members. eventbrite.com

Feb. 6

Who's Eating My Garden?, a class at the Cook's Garden, 1033 Abbot Kinney Blvd. in Venice, from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. about organic pest control and effective fertilizing. The class begins with a lecture and ends with a hands-on experience in the farm's production beds. Participants must be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 and present a vaccination card at the door. thecooksgardenvenice.com

Feb. 12-13

Southern California Camellia Society 49th Annual Camellia Show at Huntington Library, Art Museum, and Botanical Gardens, 1151 Oxford Road, San Marino, from 1 to 5 p.m. Feb. 12 and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Feb. 13. The general public may enter their own camellia blooms for judging from 7 to 10:30 a.m. on Feb. 12. The show is free to visitors after $29 admission to the gardens ($24 for seniors 65 and older, active military and students with ID, $13 ages 4-11. Members and children under 4 enter free.) Masks are required indoors. socalcamelliasociety.org

Feb. 15-19

Theodore Payne Foundation Winter Plant Sale at the foundation's nursery, 10459 Tuxford St. in Sun Valley, from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. The sale includes native seeds, books and other merchandise, as well as one of the region's largest selections of native plants. Members receive a 15% discount and nonmembers get a 10% discount on all plants, seeds and foundation gear. Masks are required on the grounds. Admission is free, but shoppers must preregister for specific dates and times. Each reservation is for one vehicle with up to four passengers (who do not need to make separate reservations). eventbrite.com

Feb. 19

Apple Grafting Workshop with master grafter Arnold Bernstein at Ganna Walska Lotusland on Cold Spring Road in Montecito from 9 to 11:30 a.m. The class explains how to graft a desirable branch or bud to a compatible new tree to produce fruit from the parent tree, a process used to produce most of the fruit we consume. In this hands-on workshop, participants will graft and take home a semi-dwarf producing apple tree, suitable for the coastal climate. All materials will be provided. Masks are required for the workshop. Register online. $125 ($95 for Lotusland members). In the event of heavy rain, the class will be canceled. lotusland.org

Feb. 19-20

Pacific Camellia Society 16th Annual Show at Descanso Gardens, 1418 Descanso Drive, La Cañada Flintridge, from 1 to 4:30 p.m. on Feb. 19 and 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Feb. 20. The general public may enter their own camellia blooms for judging from 7 to 10:30 a.m. on Feb. 19. The show is free to visitors after $15 admission to the gardens ($11 for seniors 65 and older and students with ID, $5 for children ages 5-12. Members and children under 5 enter free). Masks are required indoors. americancamellias.com

Feb. 26-27

Southern California Camellia Council 62nd Spring Camellia Show at Descanso Gardens, 1418 Descanso Drive, La Cañada Flintridge, from 1 to 4:30 p.m. on Feb. 26 and 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Feb. 27. This show is a joint event involving the region's four camellia societies in Kern County and San Diego County, as well as the Pacific Camellia Society and Southern California Camellia Society. The general public may enter their own camellia blooms for judging from 7 to 10:30 a.m. on Feb. 26. The show is free to visitors after $15 admission to the gardens ($11 for seniors 65 and older and students with ID, $5 for children ages 5-12. Members and children under 5 enter free). Masks are required indoors. socalcamelliasociety.org

This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.