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Native Plant Seminar all about Transformation

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‘Transformation: to change the form or outward appearance.’ By definition, that is exactly what we, as gardeners, do every day as we work in our gardens. It might just be deadheading perennials, or pruning back a shrub, or planting a new bed of colorful annuals. It could be adding new hardscapes like a path, patio, or raised deck. The reality is that gardening is all about transforming your outside environment into a pleasing and enjoyable place to be.

If you are interested in transforming all or part of your garden by using plants that thrive in our hot summers, are water wise, generally require no fertilization and lure in numbers of beneficial insects, then you will want to attend the one day seminar hosted by the Sierra Foothills Chapter of the California Native Plant Society.

‘How to Transform Your Traditional Garden into a Beautiful Native Landscape’ will be held Saturday, September 10th, 2011, from 9:00 am to 4:00 pm in the Manzanita Building at the Motherlode Fairgrounds. The goal of the seminar is to provide information on how to transform your traditional garden into one that is more in tune with the native setting and climate of the California foothills.

The keynote speaker for the day will be Bart O’Brien. Mr. O’Brien is Director of Special Projects at Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden in Claremont, CA. He is also the co-author, with Carol Bornstein and David Fross, of the award winning (and my favorite native plant book) California Native Plants for the Garden and the newly published Reimagining the California Lawn: Water-conserving Plants, Practices, and Design (now my first most-favorite garden book!). He also wrote the bilingual, Care & Maintenance of Southern California Native Plant Gardens. In the morning session, Mr. O Brien’s talk will be “Bringing California Home: Gardening with the Senses.” This talk will explain California native plants, how to grow them, and great natives to grow in the Sierra foothills. For those who garden above 3000′, you won’t want to miss Mr. O’Brien’s afternoon session when he talks about “High Country Gardening with Natives.” Having lived at high elevations for 10 years, his experiences and native plant expertise should prove most enlightening.

Other speakers during the day will be Nancy Longmore, fire prevention specialist for CAL FIRE, and Carolee James, Tuolumne County Master Gardener and California Native Plant Society member. Nancy will speak on “Transforming the Traditional Landscape into a Firesafe Native Landscape” and Carolee will present “Transforming a Lawn into a Garden.” At the end of the day, there will be a question and answer session featuring all the speakers.

The registration fee includes lunch, drinks, snacks, and seminar materials. Cost of the seminar is $30.00 for CNPS members and $35.00 for non-members. After September 1st the registration fee is $40.00. Brochures including a registration form may be found at Columbia Nursery in Columbia, The Old Depot Nursery in Standard and in the garden department at Andy’s True Value Home Center in Sonora. Or you may go to the Chapter website: to print out the brochure and registration form. For additional information contact Patricia Hohne at 209-753-4313 or email Seating is limited so register early. Registrations at the door will be accepted if space allows.

Carolee James encourages the planting of natives to bring some of the more than 300 species of California native pollinating bees to your garden.