Bofe Instructors

Greener Gardens: Sustainable Garden Practice will start this Thursday evening, June 29 and runs through August 24.  This class is one of the elective classes for the Gardening and Horticulture Certificate Program and the Sustainability Certificate Program.  

David I have taught this course for several years at this point.  We are ever astounded at the quality of our students and their willingness to approach a different way of looking at our everyday life and how our gardens are a point of impact on the world.  Every action we take in our lives aligns our lifestyle with sustainability or lack thereof.  

What can we change as individuals to live a less impactful life and in what way do we compromise?  How can we, in this year of abundant rainfall make changes and improve our immediate surroundings – and what should we look for in governmental policy to make sufficient changes in the Nation’s approach to global warming.  This is not a year to relax − we see our work is ever more important and urgent in the face of mass denial.

This is not the definitive course on being sustainable, but it does impact the way we act in our immediate environment and with our food.  Students have told us this course features more than just a few “Aha” moments!

Meeting in 321 Botany Building on UCLA Campus this quarter. Now that we are at the end of our historic drought, many folks are thinking “business as usual,” but from our perspective as instructors, this is the very best time to look at some of the issues that we can change without feeling like we are under the gun to HAVE to change.

Enrollment data includes:  Greener Gardens: Sustainable Garden Practice   6/29/2017 — 8/24/2017    BIOLGY    X 498.10   Reg#:  354809  12 mtgs  6:30 to 9:30 PM


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I am reprising my water talk for Sierra Madre on Friday, April 24 at 7:00 pm at City HallThe next morning, April 25 at 9:30 am, we will be digging some swales at a Sierra Madre residence. The demonstration will only make sense in the light of the talk the night before, so please come to both!

Returning Rain to the Aquifer Beneath Us: Simple Water Infiltration for Sierra Madre

We do get rain in Sierra Madre, and when it comes, we throw most of it into the storm drain. Our wells are running dry, so we’re drinking imported water. Meanwhile, the cost of cleaning up pollution in stormwater is projected to cost the County $120 billion (SGV Tribune), which will be passed onto cities. “It will be millions and millions of dollars for each city…” (Monrovia Mayor Lutz, chairwoman of SGVCoG’s water committee.”
We can do better. This program will show simple ways to detain water on site and infiltrate it back in to the aquifer. Orchid will show examples of swales, earthworks, cisterns and other rainwater harvesting methods that can be used to store water on site, creating a better environment for plants to grow and helping to re-fill our aquifer and our wells.

Talk Location City Hall, Council Chambers
232 W. Sierra Madre Blvd.
Friday, April 24, 7:00 pm
Contact 626-355-7135
Demonstration Location
285 W. Grandview Ave.
Saturday, April 25, 9:30 am
Native Wildflowers at Learning Garden.jpg

Native Wildflowers and Shrubs at the Venice Learning Garden


I will be giving a presentation on Getting Started with Native Plants during the City of Monrovia’s Monrovia Area Partnership 5th Neighborhood Conference.  The  Conference is free.  It features 24 speakers on many topics, including  Solving Stormwater Runoff, Immigration Outlook, Therapy Dogs and the Wild Side of Monrovia.

My presentation will start at 10:30.   Here is their blurb for me:

“Native plants support more birds, butterflies and
pollinators than non-native plants and use up to
75% less water. Attend to learn how to get started.”

When and Where:

Saturday, August 9, 2014, 9:30am – 3:00pm
Monrovia High School Event Center
845 W. Colorado Blvd.
(Enter on Madison Ave)
Childcare provided for ages 6-16.
Classes will be also given in Español.

Front to Back: Penstemon ‘Margarita BOP’, Eriogonum ‘Dana Point’ and Verbena lilacina are all Easy Natives!  © 2011 Orchid Black

I’ll be giving my Easy Native Plants for the Garden talk at the Arboretum as a part of Lili Singer’s wonderful Thursday Garden Talks  series!  Here’s what Lili wrote about the talk:

“Discover a fabulous palette of easy-to-grow California species and cultivars—including beautiful free-flowering plants proven to perform in varied locales and conditions. Beautiful images and live plant materials will be shown.”

Scroll down to this post  for a list of plants that will be discussed.

Thursday, September 20, 9:30 a.m. to noon, Arboretum, 301 North Baldwin Avenue, Arcadia.  Directions here.  Fee: $20

Two weeks later, on October 4, there will be a field trip to three native gardens in the area, including one of my gardens, and two gardens by noted artist Andreas Hessing:
“Our first outing of the season takes us to three beautiful San Gabriel Valley home landscapes that concentrate on native plants, accentuate a sense of place, emphasize sustainable gardening practices and celebrate the pleasures of year-round outdoor living.   The designers will join us on site: Orchid Black in Sierra Madre and Andreas Hessing (www.scrubjaystudios.com ) in Monrovia and Altadena.  Preregistration required.

Lemon Lily one of the hard-to-find plants that will be for sale at Hunter’s Nursery ©2010 Orchid Black

The 10th Annual Xeriscape Garden Tour will be held on Saturday, July 14th at Eminger’s Mountain Nursery across from Denny’s. This free tour will feature 6 homes here in Big Bear Valley that offer solutions and alternatives to planting big grass lawns. Have a small yard and need ideas? The Xeriscape Garden Tour is for you.

This year we have added a fun new feature for kids and the young at heart—a scavenger hunt at each home. There will be a photo of a piece of yard art for each home. As you are wandering around the yard see if you can spot the hidden gnome or wind chime. Sign up for the tour anytime between 9 am and noon at Eminger’s where you will receive a tour booklet and map for this self-guided tour. There will be information on hand at the start location as well. You’ll have until 4:00 pm to see all the gardens.

I’ll be at Hunter’s Nursery (FB) as usual, providing information about the many wonderful native plants for sale at Hunters that day.

This is your chance to buy rare and beautiful high-altitude native plants.  Many are hard to find even at native plant sales.  Lemon Lily, Lilium parryi, Rose Sage, Salvia pachyphylla, Rabbit-Ear Penstemon, Penstemon labrosus, and Parish’s Catchfly, Silene parishii are all available at the Hunter’s, with other rare native and  drought-tolerant plants that will grow above 7,000 feet.  Find a full plant list for this year on my Resources page.

The tour is created by the Sierra Club Big Bear Group, and co-sponsored by the Big Bear DWP.    For more information, please call Christie Walker at (909) 866-5006.

Rabbit-Ear Penstemon in Otterstrom Garden, © 2010 Orchid Black

Native Plants at Hunter's Nursery, Xeriscape Tour 2011, Photo Bill LaHaye

People have been checking on my blog to find out about this year’s Big Bear Xeriscape Tour, so I thought I’d help them out by posting this year’s  date, July 14, 2012.

There are 8 featured homes on the free self-guided tour, plus two nurseries, Eminger’s and Hunter’s.  I’ll be at Hunter’s Nursery (FB) as usual, providing information about the many native plants for sale at Hunters that day.

This is an opportunity to get your hands on some very rare high-altitude native plants.  Last year Lemon Lily, Lilium parryi, Humboldt Lily, Lilium humboldtii, and Rose Sage, Salvia pachyphylla were all available at the Hunter’s, plus a wonderful assortment of drought-tolerant plants that will grow above 7,000 feet.

The tour is created by the Sierra Club Big Bear Group, and co-sponsored by the Big Bear DWP.   I’ll post more information nearer the date.  For more information, please call Christie Walker at (909) 866-5006.

Rose Sage will be on sale at Hunter's Nursery. © Orchid Black

I’ll be up in Big Bear this weekend at Hunter’s Nursery, providing native plant advice for drought-tolerant high-elevation gardens during the Big Bear Xeriscape Tour.  Hunter’s carries some amazing local Big Bear native plants.  Most are grown from local seed, and many are rare.   See the resources page where I have posted the list of plants available as well as instructions on how to plant them. The best selection is on the day of the tour, but Hunter’s will carry these special plants until they sell out.

The Sierra Club co-hosts the tour with the BBLDWP.  The tour is free, and it starts at Emingers Mountain Nursery at 41223 Big Bear Boulevard.  Participants can stop by between 9am and noon on Saturday, July 16, to pick up a tour booklet.  The tour continues until 4pm.

Hunter’s Nursery is at 42132 Fox Farm Rd., kitty-corner from the K-Mart, Big Bear, 909-866-2547

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