Garden Shows & Sales

Each gardening year includes shows and sales of favored plants, hosted by local garden groups. This column describes these recurring events, organized by three basic scheduling models. Specific dates vary a bit each year because of various factors, so this overview provides only a heads-up for interested gardeners to be on the alert as each date approaches. Locations are mostly the same, year–to–year, but changes happen.

Following this overview, we’ll focus on four upcoming big events in April.

Blooming + Planting Model

In this model, shows occur at the peak bloom period, so growers can display their best blooms, spectators can “OOO” and “AHH,” and thoughtful gardeners can select varieties to add to their gardens during the next planting season.

The sales then coincide with planting season. The Monterey Bay Iris Society (MBIS) and the Monterey Bay Dahlia Society (MBDS) provide clear examples of planting season sales.

  • MBIS: show late April; rhizome sale early August
  • MBDS: show late August; tuber sale early April

Show & Sale Combo Model

Some plants grow year-round, so their shows and sales can be combined on the same weekend. Exemplars of this model include Santa Cruz Orchid Society (SCOS), Monterey Bay Area Cactus & Succulent Society (MBACSS), and Santa Cruz Bonsai Kai (SCBK)

  • SCOS: annual show & sale early March
  • MBACSS: spring show & sale mid April; fall show & sale early October
  • SCBK: annual show & sale mid April

Show or Sale Only Model

A third pattern includes either show or sale, but not both. The Monterey Bay Rose Society (MBRS), the California Native Plant Society (CNPS), UCSC Arboretum & Botanic Garden (UCSC-Arb), and Cabrillo College Horticulture Department (Cabrillo Hort) follow this pattern.

  • MBRS: annual show early May; continuing show at Santa Cruz County Fairgrounds, Watsonville
  • CNPS, Santa Cruz Chapter: Spring sale early April; Fall sale early October;
  • CNPS. Monterey Chapter: annual wildflower exhibit
  • UCSC-Arb: Spring sale early April; Fall sale early October; continuing show at the Arboretum & Botanic Garden
  • Cabrillo Hort: Mother’s Day Sale, early May
  • Fungus Federation of Santa Cruz: Fungus Fair, early January

Monterey Bay Dahlia Society’s Annual Tuber Sale

If you visited the Society’s annual show at the Museum of Art & History last August, you would have enjoyed the great diversity of the array of dahlia blossoms. This plant offers an extraordinary range of blossom colors, sizes, and forms, making it a source of endless fascination and a great temptation to become a collector. The blossoms can be appreciated both individually and as a grand display of natural specimens of botanical beauty.

As you anticipate spring in your garden, you could be thinking about adding new blooming plants for summer and fall color splashes. The dahlia is an excellent bloomer to add to your garden, and now is the right time to find dahlias to plant.

The Monterey Bay Dahlia Society will hold its annual tuber and plant sale on Saturday, April 6th, 2019, from 9:00 –11:00 a.m., at Deer Park Shopping Center in Aptos, on the Center’s upper level, near the Red Apple Café.  This sale provides a fine opportunity for gardeners to select from a wide variety of cultivars that have been grown locally, and benefit from good prices. Prospective buyers should arrive early, as the tubers are sold quickly.

Santa Cruz Bonsai Kai 31th Annual Exhibit

April 6 – 7, 2019 10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. both days at †he Museum of Art and History, 705 Front Street, Santa Cruz. The highlight of each day’s show will be at 2:00 p.m. when Bonsai Masters, Mike Pistello (Saturday) and Sensei Katsumi Kinoshita (Sunday) will demonstrate the techniques for creating an artistic tree from common nursery stock. The newly created bonsai tree will then be offered in a raffle drawing along with other trees and items donated by club members. These trees have been cared for, designed, wired, and potted in bonsai pots so individuals winning the trees can begin enjoying this art form immediately.

Monterey Bay Area Cactus & Succulent Society’s Spring Show & Sale

The Society will hold this event on April 13th & 14th, at San Juan Bautista’s Community Hall, 10 San Jose Street. We’ll have more about this increasingly popular show & sale before that date, but mark your calendar now.

California Native Plant Society, Monterey Chapter’s 58th Wildflower Show

This amazing, eye-opening event will be held April 19-21, 2019 at the Pacific Grove Museum of Natural History, 65 Forest Ave, Pacific Grove. While visiting nature’s bounty in person is an incomparable experience, this show provides a unique opportunity to study and appreciate California’s wildflower treasures without trampling them.

If you are a gardener with broad horticultural interests, you develop your own calendar for benefitting from the creative offerings of our local garden groups.

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