Sometimes you just have to get out of the house. That goes for the garden, too. But you can find inspiration for your garden at the same time. There are always classes, lectures, and more that feed your gardening passion in other ways besides getting your hands in the dirt.

Sunday, May 3, is the Cactus and Succulent Society’s annual show and sale. As usual, it will be held at MacKenzie Park just off of Las Positas Road near State Street. A map is available at Members of the society grow many of the plants that will be for sale, but other vendors also show up with unusual and interesting succulent plants for your landscape or your collection. The sale runs from 10 a.m.-4 p.m., so swing by any time during the day.

Chaucer’s Books is starting a new series of book events called Get Gardening. One Thursday evening a month, the bookstore will host an author for a lecture and book-signing. All the books are new releases on some gardening subject. The first one was a week or so ago, but the lineup for the rest of the summer looks great. May 14 will see Jennifer Bartley presenting Designing the New Kitchen Garden: An American Potager Handbook. The book details how to create a modern potager that “becomes an outdoor room : that feeds the soul as well as the stomach.” Next up will be Penelope O’Sullivan with The Homeowner’s Complete Tree & Shrub Handbook: The Essential Guide to Choosing, Planting, and Maintaining Perfect Landscape Plants. It contains everything you need to know about designing, choosing plants, buying and planting them, and then caring for them, plus descriptions of 348 trees and shrubs to consider. On July 16, Debra Lee Baldwin returns to town with her Designing with Succulents. Most events start at 7 p.m., but to be sure, call the store at 682-6787 or visit

The Santa Barbara Botanic Garden continues its series of specialty tours. Held on the first Saturday of every month, they focus on one element of the California flora. The May 2 tour will concentrate on water conservation through use of native plants. Tours are at 2 p.m.

May Tips

• Start planting warm season plants. Vegetables-tomatoes, peppers, eggplant-and ornamentals-ageratum, marigold, nicotiana, phlox, and zinnia.

• Spray geraniums with Bt (Bacillus thuringiensis) the day before the full moon and again a week to 10 days later to catch the first batch of budworms as they hatch.

• Don’t cut down the foliage of winter-flowering bulbs. It is still feeding the bulb for next year; merely tidy up by tying or braiding the leaves together.


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