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As homeowners face long, dry summers and periods of extended drought, and rising water bills, Santa Barbara Botanic Garden encourages planting native plants as a solution to tired lawns and landscaping. Throughout October and November, the Garden celebrates the Fall Planting Season with activities for plant lovers and home gardeners – across skill levels – to provide the community with the tools to make changes in their own backyards.

Credit: Courtesy

“Native plants have evolved to manage the environmental stresses of our local climate and there is no better time to plant them than the fall season,” says Keith Nevison, director of horticulture and operations. “Not only are native plants the best option to help manage your home’s water use, but they also attract beneficial insects, pollinators, and birds that are essential to a healthy ecosystem. Simply put, our community needs native plants, and the Garden is here to help.” 

Events begin October 1 and include a native plant pruning demonstration, in-person lecture on how to create a garden suited for birds, an art exhibit depicting a year of native plant blooms, a spooky-themed Family Nature Night, and more. Also in October is a two-day volunteer opportunity to join the WeDigBio global effort to digitize local biodata.

The Garden’s new shop online, pick-up onsite program launches November 1, just in time for the holiday season. This new e-commerce site allows customers to shop the largest selection of native plants on the Central Coast, as well as other retail items, and to get plant information ahead of their visit. Orders are prepared by staff and made ready for easy pickup at the customer’s requested time and date. Beginning November 1, shop online at

The Garden Nursery increases their inventory in November, and are closed on Wednesday and Thursday, November 2 and 3, to prepare for the expected increase in customers during planting season. A preview for Garden members only is held Friday, November 4, and the public is invited to a kickoff event on Saturday, November 5.

Credit: Courtesy

“Fall is the best time to get native plants in the ground so the rainy season can help them get established before the stresses of our hot, dry summers begin,” says Nursery Manager Matt Straka. “ To support our community, we stock our nursery all year but especially pack it with even more native plants and a wide variety and some unique plants for the fall so our customers can get inspired and really embrace the season.”

For those unsure on how to get started, Straka offers tips and instruction at weekly in-person “Native Planting Techniques” sessions at the Nursery, held every Sunday in November. Also in November is the debut a new series of four “How to Garden with Native Plants” videos on the Garden’s social media platforms, and an in-person workshop on how to create habitat to attract animals to home gardens.

The Garden Nursery is located at 1212 Mission Canyon Road, just inside the Garden entrance. Hours are 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Garden members receive a 10% discount. Visitors interested in shopping do not require Garden reservations; they can park in a “member” parking spot and check-in at the front kiosk to receive a shopper pass. Find a Garden Nursery Inventory List, updated monthly, at:


Following is a calendar and information about activities during the Fall Planting Season celebration. For more information, reservations, and online plant sales (beginning November 1), visit


“Pruning Native California Plants” Demo by Keith Nevison – SOLD OUT

Saturday, October 1, 8:30

Informative, hands-on, two-hour workshop on pruning native trees, shrubs, and perennials. Held outdoors in various garden locations. Led by Keith Nevison, Director of Horticulture, and Stephanie Ranes, Garden Grounds Manager lead.

“Bringing Nature Home to California” Talk by Kay Charter — FREE

Wednesday, October 5, 4 p.m.

Garden Library  

Multimedia presentation on how to create a more livable world for birds. Guests receive: Saving Birds Thru Habitat tote bag, a free copy of book “Nature’s Best Hope” by Dr. Doug Tallamy, and more. Free.

WeDigBio Volunteer Days

Thursday & Friday, October 13 & 14, 9 a.m. to noon & 1 to 4 p.m.

Opportunity to volunteer to document data from the Garden’s collections as part of global citizen-science event Worldwide Engagement for Digitalizing Biocollections (WeDigBio). More information and signup at

Art Exhibit: “Thirteen Moons: A Book of Hours” by Connie Jenkins

Saturday, October 15 through November 27

Garden Gallery

Photo realist artist records the passing of the seasons with 12 oil paintings each featuring California native flowers that bloom during a specific month, plus large painting (60” x 27”) “Fire-Followers” painted after Woolsey Fire (2018).

Family Nature Night: Celebrate Bat Month

Friday, October 21, 6 to 8 p.m.

Costumes encouraged at this after-dark family fun, nighttime bat-themed exploration of the Garden in celebration of Bat Month. Bat-themed games, a batty-black-light station, sensory activities, eerie stories, and more. $24 adult/$14 youth (aged 12 and under) ($20 adult/$10 youth for Garden members)

Herb Walk and Book Signing by Lanny Kaufer — FREE

Sunday, October 23, Walks at 10:30 a.m. & 1:15 p.m., Book Signing at noon

Author and native plant guide leads free walking tour focused on plants featured in his book “Medicinal Herbs of California.” Event is free, but reservations are required.

“Attracting Pollinators with a Native Garden” Talk by Richard Merrill

Sunday, October 30, 3 p.m.

Led by Garden docent Richard Merrill. Attendees learn to create or enhance their native pollination gardens, see plants that are especially effective at attracting pollinators, discuss the importance of biodiversity, and more. $40 ($25 for Garden members)


Debut of Garden Online Plant Shopping

Tuesday, November 1, online

New e-commerce webpage goes live ( allowing locals to browse, search for, view, and order native plants for pickup at the Garden Nursery.

FOR MEMBERS ONLY: Fall Plant Season Preview at Garden Nursery

Friday, November 4, 3 to 5 p.m.

Garden Nursery

Garden members enjoy a preview of the abundance of native plants for sale.

“How to Garden with California Native Plants”

Fridays, November 4, 11, 18, 25

Botanic Garden Social Media Platforms:

New series of videos leads viewers through the basics of gardening with California native pants. Led by Scot Pipkin, Garden director of education. Free on the Garden’s social media platforms.

Building Habitat in Your Home Garden

Saturday, November 5, 8:30 a.m.

Hands-on, two-hour class held in various sections of the Garden that focuses on how to use native plants and natural features to better attract local animals to home gardens. Led by Stephanie Ranes, Garden grounds manager. $40 ($25 for Garden members)

Fall Planting Season KICKOFF

Saturday, November 5, 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Garden Nursery

Nursery officially opens for shopping, featuring largest selection of native plants on Central Coast.

Nursery Chats: Native Planting Techniques

Sundays, November 6, 13, 20, and 27 at 9:30 a.m.

Garden Nursery

Retail Manager Matt Straka explores the best practices for planting with California native plants in these free, informal chats. Questions welcomed and shopping assistance available by Nursery staff. Free.


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