It's time to "get growing" because spring is here! We are lucky to have so many wonderful local plant nurseries, gardening resources, and spring plant sales. Here's a round-up of some of our favorites:
Spring Plant Sales & Events:
- DVC Horticulture Plant Sale - order online, contact-free pick-up April 17 & 24; May 1 & 8. Availability lists for sale weeks are posted online. Lots of drought-tolerant and pollinator-friendly plants!
- 10th Annual Great Tomato Sale - order online beginning April 6, and pick-ups will be coordinated at the UC Master Gardeners' Demonstration Garden in Walnut Creek. Sale will continue while inventory lasts. Master Gardeners have selected tomatoes, peppers, eggplants that thrive in our climate.
- Orinda Garden Club Plant Sale - April 17, in-person 9 am - 2 pm, Orinda Library Plaza
- Farmers' Markets - check out your local farmers' market; many have spring plant vendors with a wonderful selection this time of year.
- 17th Annual Bringing Back the Natives Virtual Tour - April 25, May 2, 16, 23, from 10 am - 3 pm. "In a series of live garden visits, passionate garden owners and designers will show us what's happening in the garden now, feature their favorite natives, and more." Keynote by renowned ecologist and best-selling author Doug Tallamy!
Fantastic Local Plant Nurseries:
- Annie's Annuals (Richmond) - cottage garden heirlooms and hard to find California native wildflowers.
- Sloat Garden Centers (Concord, Pleasant Hill, Martinez, Danville) - check out their free online workshops!
- Ruth Bancroft Garden & Nursery (Walnut Creek) - succulents, cacti, and other drought-tolerant plants
- Orchard Nursery (Lafayette) - full-service garden center, established in 1946!
- The Watershed Nursery (Richmond) - beautiful CA native plants
- Bill's Ace Hardware (Concord, Martinez) & Ace Hardware Stores
- Other Native Plant Nurseries, including many outside of Contra Costa
If you don't have a yard, don't worry - here's a list of community gardens in our County!
There are also plenty of great garden clubs to get involved with, such as the Bay Point Garden Club, the Contra Costa Succulent Garden Club, the Orinda Garden Club, the Ambrose Community Garden, and more.
A few friendly reminders as you are preparing your garden:
- Ditch the herbicides and apply mulch instead! You can buy bagged mulch from hardware stores and plant nurseries, or order mulch by the cubic yard delivered by local suppliers such as EcoMulch in Martinez. You can earn a free yard of EcoMulch for your garden by completing one action on the Cleaner Contra Costa Challenge--find more details here.
- A great way to build up your soil health is through compost. Plus it's an easy way to put your food scraps to work! Learn more about backyard composting here or search for helpful videos on Youtube.
- When buying plants, look for those that are labeled "neonicotinoid-free" - Neonicotinoids are pesticides that affect the central nervous system of insects and are a suspected link to colony collapse disorder in honeybees as well as the rapid decline in wild pollinator species.
- Drought-tolerant plants will not only help you save on your water bill, but they are biologically better adapted to our climate in Contra Costa and will require less attention and maintenance to flourish! Check out Contra Costa Water District's Gardening in Contra Costa page for lots of tips and photos of drought-tolerant gardens for inspiration.