Desert Horticultural Society

Field Trips, Meetings & Events

Upcoming events

    • Wednesday, October 26, 2016
    • 6:00 PM
    • The Living Desert, Hoover Room
    Plant exchange before the meeting @ 5:30 PM in the parking lot. Bring pups, cuttings, plants to share with others. Even if you cannot bring plants feel free to adopt and watch your garden grow.

    Presentation by Neil Frakes, Joshua Tree National Park, Division of Resource Management

    Joshua Tree National Park has been using native plants to restore impacted areas within the park for over 30 years. Seeds are collected within five miles of project locations and used to produce native plant materials in the Park’s nursery, called the Center for Arid Lands Restoration. Volunteer groups help with all aspects of the restoration program, including plant propagation, installation of out-planting and vertical mulch treatments, and maintenance of treatments. High levels of recreation use has led to a network of user trails, called “social trails” to access climbing boulders and other features within the park. Efforts are underway to concentrate the impact into designated access trails and to use native plant materials to restore impacts. Other projects have involved highway realignment where native plants displaced by construction activities have been salvaged, temporarily maintained off-site, and re-transplanted in the footprint of disturbance. Out-plantings are maintained with periodic irrigation and protective cages. Despite the many success stories, the restoration program faces tough challenges for the future that the park is working to overcome. Neil Frakes will introduce us to the Center and to some of the success stories it has achieved over the years.

    Neil Frakes is the Vegetation Branch Chief in the Division of Resource Management at Joshua Tree National Park. He oversees a variety of vegetation based programs at the park including native plant restoration, invasive plant species management, field botany, climate change monitoring, and rock climbing stewardship. He started at Joshua Tree in July of 2015. He holds a B.A. in Geography and Environmental Studies from Macalester College , and an M.A. in Geography from the University of Colorado at Boulder. Prior to working for the National Park Service, he worked for the U.S. Forest Service in the Forest Inventory and Analysis (FIA) program. He grew up in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.

    • Thursday, October 27, 2016
    • 8:00 AM - 11:00 AM
    • Big Morongo Canyon Preserve - 11055 East Drive, Morongo Valley, CA

    Sponsored by Power of Plants, stroll along a half-mile boardwalk under a lush canopy of trees as local native plant expert, Robin Kobaly, shares secrets of the same native plants that sustained the Serrano Indians who inhabited this exact site for centuries. On this 3-hour stream-side excursion, Robin will identify native plants, and describe uses of these desert plants for food, medicine, tools, clothing, and shelter. Birds and other wildlife that may cross our path will be identified, and Robin will reveal fun stories about each creature. We'll discuss marvels of bird migration, wonders of underground root partnerships, and see some of the oldest exposed rocks in California. Please call or email to reserve your spot; enrollment is limited to 15 adventurers. Fee is $20 per person for the 3-hour adventure.  Details can be found at

    For more information or to reserve your space, please call 760-363-1166visit our website, or email

    • Sunday, October 30, 2016
    • 12:30 PM - 4:30 PM
    • The Plant Yoda's Den - Morongo Valley, CA

    Sponsored by Power of Plants, local native plant expert, Robin Kobaly, presents ancient and traditional uses of native desert plants, demonstrating ways to adapt them to fit today's needs for food, medicines, art, and utility. During this popular 4-hour workshop, Robin will share her extensive knowledge and teach participants -- through smell, taste, touch, and sight -- how the unique qualities of each plant can add richness to the home, kitchen, medicine chest, garden, and more. Demonstrations and samples abound in this informative and inspiring hands-on workshop.  Please reserve your spot early, as spaces are limited and this workshop fills up fast!  You will leave with a new perspective on our amazing native plants and the valuable gifts they generously offer to us.

    • $45 Workshop Registration - includes handouts & edible samples
    • Directions to workshop are sent upon registration

    For more information or to reserve your space, please call 760-363-1166visit our website, or email


    • Saturday, November 12, 2016
    • 9:00 AM - 11:30 AM
    • Chorizo Canyon, Palm Desert
    • 12
    Join Professor Jim Adams on our very popular annual medicinal plant walk.  We meet at the Chorizo Canyon trail head (just North of Big Horn on Hwy 74)  Jim is also a certified Chumash Indian healer.  His narrative is peppered with Indian lore and an unprecedented knowledge of the myriad of healing plants we encounter.  No host lunch will follow the tour at the Daily Grill on El Paseo.  Free to members.
    • Saturday, November 12, 2016
    • 9:00 AM - 2:00 PM
    • 60124 29 Palms Hwy, Joshua Tree, CA 92252
    Mojave Desert Land Trust Cordially Invites You To Its Fall 2016 Gratitude Gathering
    Highlighting our Native Plant Restoration Nursery & Seed Bank
    and the role of native plants in protecting and connecting our desert ecosystems

    Please join us for our 2nd Annual Fall Gratitude Gathering open house and native plant sale on Saturday, November 12, 2016 from 9am-2pm.

    This gathering marks our 10-year anniversary of protecting and connecting the Mojave Desert. A central theme of this event is the establishment of a Native Plant Restoration Nursery and Seed Bank, and the day will center around celebrating native plants and exploring their role in the desert ecosystem.
    To showcase the importance of native plants to the desert's unique biodiversity, there will be programming centering around native plants presented by Douglas Tallamy, Professor of Entomology and Wildlife Ecology at the University of Delaware, and author of the book Bringing Nature Home. Professional Botanist & Wildlife Biologist, Robin Kobaly will present her signature Discovering The Ancients program and Anthony Madrigal, Jr. will discuss the traditional and ceremonial uses of native plants and biological resources that are utilized by the Chemehuevi/Cahuilla people.
    Attendees will have the opportunity to tour the nursery and purchase locally sourced native plants that have been grown in the facility. Other highlights of the day include educational displays covering topics such as rare and endangered plants and plant-animal relationships; discovery and information stations hosted by guest-partners from the Native American Land Conservancy and California Native Plant Society; live square-dancing entertainment and a Salvage Saturday donation-sale, featuring a treasure-trove of relics salvaged from MDLT's desert clean-up efforts. We hope to see you there!
    A catered chili and cornbread lunch will be available at noon for $10. To see a detailed agenda VISIT OUR EVENT PAGE.

    To RSVP and purchase your lunch ticket in advance click the button below.
    [Limited lunch tickets will be available for purchase on event day.] 

    • Saturday, November 19, 2016
    • 12:30 PM - 4:30 PM
    • The Plant Yoda's Den - Morongo Valley, CA

    Sponsored by Power of Plants and presented by local native plant expert, Robin Kobaly, the workshop begins in the intimate setting of the unique and creative “Plant Yoda’s Den”, the home where Robin grew up, and where her mother, Babs Kobaly, taught her own native plant use classes for forty years. Babs had transformed her home into part apothecary, part art-house, and part fantasy world for her grandchildren, reflecting her passions as a native plant teacher, fanciful artist, and playful kid-lover.  In honor of her late mother, the great room of Babs’ home has been remodeled to open it up for classes and workshops on the very topics that she and Babs researched together as Robin grew up.

    In this classroom, we will explore why native plants are the perfect choice for southwest homes, and why their adaptations are so important for a sustainable, enjoyable, and low-maintenance landscape.  During our workshop, you will learn how to plant, irrigate, and care for your native plant garden. You will become acquainted with some of the best-performing desert native plants for landscaping, and learn which native plants are great alternatives ("Alter-Natives") to common non-native landscape plants. When we move outside to explore the half-acre demonstration garden, you will see over one hundred examples of mature desert native plants in an inviting home landscape setting, and view first-hand the many benefits of native plant gardening.

    • The Plant Yoda's Den - Morongo Valley, CA
    • Directions to workshop are sent upon registration
    • $45 Workshop Registration - includes indoor & outdoor instruction, hand-outs

    For more information or to reserve your space and enroll, please call 760-363-1166visit our website, or

    • Thursday, December 08, 2016
    • 10:00 AM - 3:00 PM
    • Corona del Mar / Irvine
    • 18

    Holiday plant themed decorations on steroids!! Sherman Library is a garden gem. Roger's is a shopper's paradise. Both are decorated to the nines for the holidays. No host luncheon at the Library if seating available, if not Summer House across the street is delightful. Then off to the nursery. Members:$5.00 admission to the Library. Palm Springs carpool with leave Wellness Park at 8:30 AM SHARP!

    • Wednesday, January 18, 2017
    • 6:00 PM
    • The Living Desert, Hoover Room
    Plant exchange before the meeting @ 5:30 PM in the parking lot. Bring pups, cuttings, plants to share with others. Even if you cannot bring plants feel free to adopt and watch your garden grow.

    Presentation by Kurt Leuschner, Professor of Natural Resources at College of the Desert

    Birds and Plants: Creating a Backyard Habitat

    There are many interesting connections between birds and plants in the desert southwest, and many questions people might have when planning their gardens to attract birds. For instance, how do Phainopeplas differ from typical flycatchers? Which bird species are nectarivores? Should I feed birds? What will happen if you plant Sweet Acacia in your yard? Why should you avoid trimming your palm trees? How can you attract more bird species to your garden? Which bird field guide is the best? These and many other questions will be answered as we explore the various relationships between plants and birds.

    Kurt Leuschner is a Professor of Natural Resources at College of the Desert where he teaches courses on Conservation, Entomology, Field Ornithology, Native Plants, and GPS Navigation. He has a Bachelor’s degree in Zoology from U.C. Santa Barbara and a Master’s in Wildlife Ecology from the University of Florida.  Kurt continues to take groups on photographic safaris to Africa, New Zealand, the Galapagos, and various locations in the southwestern United States.  He is the founder of the Desert Cities Bird Club, on the Board of Directors of Western Field Ornithologists, and is past President of the Natural Science Collaborative. His most recent publications are the Palms to Pines Birding and Nature Trail map and brochure and a Field Guide to Desert Golf Course Wildlife. Kurt also teaches weekend courses and workshops on birdwatching, insects, GPS, and backyard habitats for UCR Extension, the Desert Institute, the Desert Studies Center, and the Living Desert.

    • Saturday, March 11, 2017
    • 7:00 AM
    • Sunday, March 12, 2017
    • 6:00 PM
    • Boyce Thompson Arboretum, Superior AZ, and Tucson Botanical Garden, Tucson AZ
    • 21
    We are planning our first ever overnight trip on a luxury motor coach!  In plain English, this would be a bus with a bathroom, DVD player and Mic.

    Leave Saturday March 11, 2017, arriving around noon in Superior AZ, where you will have a no host luncheon before we continue to Boyce Thompson Arboretum to tour the gardens until 5 pm.  The bus will then take us to our hotel in Tucson where you can plan a fun filled evening, or an intimate dinner.  On Sunday we will tour the Tucson Botanical Garden in the morning and then head back with a stop for an included lunch.

    What is included in the package?

    Bus fare

    Hotel charges: (Hampton Inn, Holiday Inn Express, or Best Western Suites), including tax, and with hotel breakfast.

    Lunch on Sunday (Sizzler or other chain).

    What is the cost?

    Early-bird registration by November 30, 2016 the price is $115.00 per person double occupancy hotel room, single room an additional $50.00. Starting December 1, 2016 will be $139.00 per person double occupancy.

    Full payment due at registration via PayPal only.  Registration for this trip is restricted to members only. Cancellations after February 10, 2017 will be charged a 50% cancellation fee.


    Boyce Thompson $10.00 - you will need to bring a lunch, or the gift shop has sandwiches, snacks and drinks.  A Picnic area is available. 

    Tucson Botanical Garden $9.00. We will have a hosted lunch on the return trip. 

    If we have less than 40 participants ACT, the tour company, will open the tour to the public, and we may end up making new members from attendees. 

    Maximum 50 attendees.  

    • Wednesday, April 19, 2017
    • 6:00 PM
    • The Living Desert, Hoover Room
    Plant exchange before the meeting @ 5:30 PM in the parking lot. Bring pups, cuttings, plants to share with others. Even if you cannot bring plants feel free to adopt and watch your garden grow.

    Cacti, Agaves, and Yuccas of California’s Deserts

    Stephen Ingram's multimedia presentation explores some of the unique attributes of the cacti, agaves, and yuccas and highlights what makes them such intriguing components of our native plant communities. With stunning images of their colorful blossoms and unusual growth forms, this program showcases a number of species and varieties that occur in California's Anza-Borrego desert area. The main slideshow-talk will be approximately 40 minutes, with time for questions. A second 10-minute show set to music illustrates the beauty of these remarkable succulents. Following the presentation, Stephen will sign copies of his book from Cachuma Press, Cacti, Agaves, and Yuccas of California and Nevada.

    Stephen Ingram is a native Californian with a long-time interest in plants and plant ecology. He received a B.S. degree in Biology from Lewis and Clark College, and an M.A. degree in Botany from the University of California, Santa Barbara. Following graduate school, Stephen was employed as part of the Research Department at Selby Botanical Gardens in Sarasota, Florida, but now works part-time as a photographer/writer and biological consultant in the Eastern Sierra. Stephen is past president of the Bristlecone Chapter of the California Native Plant Society. His photos have been used in numerous books, magazines, and calendars, and are also sold as fine art prints.

    • Wednesday, October 18, 2017
    • 6:00 PM
    • The Living Desert, Hoover Room
    Plant exchange before the meeting @ 5:30 PM in the parking lot. Bring pups, cuttings, plants to share with others. Even if you cannot bring plants feel free to adopt and watch your garden grow.

Past events

Wednesday, October 19, 2016 UCR Master Gardener Program Information Session
Monday, October 17, 2016 The Invention of Nature:  Alexander Von Humboldt's New World – Presentation by Andrea Wulf
Monday, October 17, 2016 Founding Gardeners: The Revolutionary Generation, Nature, and the Shaping of the American Nation – Presentation by Andrea Wulf
Saturday, October 15, 2016 11th Annual Desert Garden Community Day
Sunday, October 09, 2016 Eco-Discovery Tour of Big Morongo Canyon Preserve
Saturday, October 01, 2016 UCR Sustainable Landscaping Workshop
Wednesday, September 21, 2016 UCR Master Gardener Program Information Session
Saturday, August 13, 2016 31st Annual Intercity Show & Sale
Saturday, July 16, 2016 Big Bear Lake Garden Tour
Saturday, July 02, 2016 Cactus & Succulent Society of America Annual Show & Sale
Wednesday, June 22, 2016 LA County Arboretum
Saturday, April 30, 2016 Nature in Photography, presented by master photographer David McChesney
Wednesday, April 27, 2016 Smoke Tree Ranch
Sunday, April 24, 2016 42nd Annual Huntington Plant Sale
Saturday, April 23, 2016 MBCA Desert-Wise Landscape Tour in the High Desert
Wednesday, April 20, 2016 Meeting and Presentation by Jessyca Frederick of Water Wise Now
Saturday, April 16, 2016 Mojave Desert Land Trust Open House
Saturday, April 09, 2016 Native and Desert Adaptive Plants, presented by Wendy Proud of Mountain States Nursery
Wednesday, April 06, 2016 DHSCV Recognition at Palm Springs Council Meeting
Sunday, April 03, 2016 11th Annual Desert Garden Tour
Wednesday, March 23, 2016 Huntington Library / Chinese Garden
Thursday, March 10, 2016 Climate-Driven Diversity Decline in California
Saturday, February 20, 2016 Southwest Native Plants for Food, Fun, & Healing
Wednesday, February 10, 2016 Huntington Library / Desert Garden
Thursday, January 28, 2016 Farm to Table
Wednesday, January 27, 2016 UCR Living Green Series: The Emergence of the Coachella Valley as a Conservation Leader
Wednesday, January 20, 2016 Meeting and Presentation by Kirk Anderson, Curator of Gardens at The Living Desert
Thursday, January 14, 2016 UCR Boyd Deep Canyon Lecture Series - The California Deserts: Floristic Frontier on the Brink
Wednesday, December 16, 2015 CVWD Water Awareness Tour
Friday, December 04, 2015 Sherman Library & Roger's Nursery
Saturday, November 07, 2015 Medicinal Plant Walk, Corrizo Canyon
Saturday, October 31, 2015 UCR Landscape Workshop - Sustainable landscaping during a time of drought
Wednesday, October 28, 2015 CVWD Colorado River and Canal Tour
Wednesday, October 21, 2015 Meeting and Presentation by KCET's Chris Clarke
Sunday, October 18, 2015 Wonders of Nature Exhibit (10/18/15 - 12/13/15)
Saturday, October 17, 2015 Desert Garden Community Day
Thursday, October 08, 2015 Desert Plants on the Fault Line Hike (various dates)
Tuesday, June 02, 2015 Drought, Water Restrictions, and Your Garden
Saturday, May 02, 2015 Cuyamaca Garden Tour
Wednesday, April 15, 2015 Meeting and Presentation by Robin Kobaly, "Alter-Natives ~ Great Native Alternatives to Traditional Yard Plants"
Sunday, April 12, 2015 10th Annual Desert Garden Tour
Thursday, April 02, 2015 Songbird Cottage / Robin Kobaly
Saturday, February 28, 2015 10th Anniversary Party
Friday, February 20, 2015 Phoenix Botanical Garden, Mountain States Nursery
Thursday, January 29, 2015 Smoke Tree Ranch
Wednesday, January 21, 2015 Meeting and Presentation by Caroline Conway, Education Director, The Wildlands Conservancy
Wednesday, December 10, 2014 Landscape Design Basics - incorporating hardscape materials into your landscaping
Friday, December 05, 2014 UC Riverside Botanic Garden
Saturday, November 01, 2014 Medicinal Plant Hike
Thursday, October 30, 2014 Colorado River and Canal Tour
Saturday, October 25, 2014 Backyard Composting
Saturday, October 25, 2014 Lichens of Joshua Tree National Park
Saturday, October 18, 2014 9th Annual Desert Garden Community Day
Wednesday, October 15, 2014 Meeting and Presentation on Desert Landscaping
Saturday, October 04, 2014 Comprehensive Desert Wise Workshop - Robin Kobaly
Saturday, September 27, 2014 National Public Lands Day - Cactus Spring Trail Improvement
Wednesday, September 24, 2014 Learn About Run-off and Easy Steps to Prevent It
Wednesday, September 17, 2014 How to Overseed Without Wasting Water & Water Restriction tips
Thursday, August 14, 2014 Sherman Library & Gardens
Saturday, July 19, 2014 Big Bear Garden Tour
Thursday, July 10, 2014 Claremont Botanical Gardens
Wednesday, June 04, 2014 San Diego Botanic Garden (Quail BG)
Thursday, May 15, 2014 Huntington Library and Botanical Gardens
Wednesday, April 16, 2014 Meeting and Presentation by Mike Chedester of The Living Desert (open to the public)
Sunday, April 13, 2014 After Garden Tour Party
Sunday, April 13, 2014 9th Annual Desert Garden Tour
Saturday, March 08, 2014 Rancho Dos Palmas Tour
Wednesday, February 19, 2014 Coachella Valley Preserve
Wednesday, January 29, 2014 South Coast Botanic Garden
Wednesday, January 08, 2014 Presentation by Robin Kobaly (open to the public), Officer Elections
Thursday, December 05, 2013 UC Riverside Botanic Garden
Saturday, November 09, 2013 Medicinal Plant Hike
Saturday, November 02, 2013 The Weed Show
Wednesday, October 23, 2013 Los Angeles County Arboretum
Saturday, October 19, 2013 8th Annual Desert Garden Community Day
Wednesday, October 09, 2013 Meeting & Presentation on The Weed Show (open to the public)
Saturday, June 08, 2013 Balboa Park, San Diego
Wednesday, May 15, 2013 Huntington Library and Botanical Gardens
Wednesday, April 10, 2013 Meeting & Presentation by Author James Adams
Saturday, March 23, 2013 Anza Borrego Wild Flower Hike
Saturday, February 09, 2013 Big Morongo Preserve
Wednesday, January 09, 2013 Membership Meeting & Officer Elections
Wednesday, December 05, 2012 Smoke Tree Ranch
Sunday, November 11, 2012 DHSCV Pot Luck - Members Only
Sunday, November 04, 2012 Temecula Olive Oil Tasting and Tour
Wednesday, October 10, 2012 Meeting & Presentation by Al Hollinger
Saturday, July 14, 2012 BIG BEAR GARDEN TOUR
Wednesday, April 11, 2012 Membership Meeting, The Living Desert
Saturday, March 31, 2012 Phoenix Home and Garden Tour
Saturday, March 17, 2012 "It House"

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