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Saturday: Woodside event offers native plants, tips on water-wise gardening

By Kate Daly | Special to the Almanac

A local group of garden lovers is offering fresh plants and fresh ideas on water-wise gardening at its biennial plant sale in Woodside on Saturday, May 10.

The Woodside-Atherton Garden Club is selling hundreds of drought-tolerant natives at the Woodside Library Native Plant Garden from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Janet Larson of Atherton and Sheree Shoch of Woodside are co-chairing the fundraising event.

"We are excited to have such a wide selection of unusual plants that are drought-resilient, yet still grow well in our Mediterranean climate," Ms. Shoch says. "Our sale presents a great opportunity for people to replace their water-guzzling plants and pick up some tips from experts at the same time."

The sale takes place every other year, giving club members a chance to propagate and grow plants from seeds in their own yards.

This year varieties include: salvia, ceanothus, mimulus, penstemon, spirea, sedum, cactuses, roses, irises, and vegetables.

Woodside-Atherton Garden Club members will also run a boutique filled with Mother's Day gifts, such as miniature flower arrangements in teacups, succulent potted plants, hand-painted straw hats, and books on gardening.

In addition to the sale, informational tables will be set up with landscape designer Lori Morris advising on water efficiency, beekeeper Mike Vigo sharing insights on pollination and the honey business, and Save The Bay's Jack States explaining the group's plant restoration work.

In cooperation with the Woodside Library, the Woodside-Atherton Garden Club will be introducing the new Woodside Seed Library, which member Barbara Tuffli of Atherton says is "part of a large, significant, national movement" to preserve local plants.

Seed packets of flowers, fruits and vegetables that members have collected will be stored in a chest of drawers at the library. Anybody is welcome to come in and check out the seeds, grow plants, let a few go to seed, and ideally return those seeds to the library so someone else can "borrow" them.

"We're going to encourage heirloom varieties because of open pollination, and encourage natives," Ms. Tuffli says. "We're trying to make (the seed library) sort of educational, make it a community resource, and multi-generational."

Founded in 1929, the garden club is a nonprofit charitable organization associated with the Garden Club of America. Proceeds from the sale benefit the library garden and other civic projects.

Woodside-Atherton Garden Club members maintain the garden and use it as a showcase to illustrate what natives grow well in the area. Plants are labeled and divided into different sections, such as chaparral, oak woodland, and a redwood grove. The garden is located behind the library at 3140 Woodside Road in Woodside.

Go to woodsideathertongc.org for more information.

Freelance writer Kate Daly is a provisional member of the Woodside-Atherton Garden Club.

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