Bringing Back the Natives is a local garden tour that takes place on the first Sunday of every May. It's been going on for the past twelve years and I've attended about half of those years. In fact, it's how I learned so much about native plants at the beginning of my gardening journey. The tour is a great resource, and if you're interested in native plants for either Contra Costa County or Alameda County, you'll want to register now for the 2017 free tour.
Meanwhile, this organization has yearlong events and plant sales. October is a prime month for planting natives, as we've already established, so all the local nurseries that specialize in native plants like to hold October events and sales. Some are associated with Bringing Back the Natives, some are not, but all are worth visiting for your fall planting needs.
Here is a list of nurseries that are having events this Sunday, to celebrate native plants.
Native Here Nursery Berkeley This is where I'll be this Sunday. I've printed out a list of all the plants that are available, and already chosen what I'm going to get. This is something I do when I'm afraid I'll either 1) spend too much money, or 2) get overwhelmed by choices. If I research ahead of time, I'll make better decisions while in the nursery.
U.C. Botanical Garden Berkeley This is a fun place to visit whether you buy plants or not.
Markham Nature Park and Arboretum Concord I buy plants here regularly. It's almost entirely run by volunteers. They also have a fun garden to tour.
Friends of Sausal Creek Native Plant Nursery Oakland I've never been here. I must remedy that.
East Bay Wilds Oakland This guy also designs landscapes, if you need some help.
Annie's Annuals and Perennials Richmond I can't say strongly enough that it's good to go online and look up what's available before you go. Otherwise you'll be $500 in debt before you know it.
Green Thumb Works San Leandro I've never been here, but they are having two workshops on Sunday - one at 2:00 pm about how to make wildflower seed balls, and another all day long about native bees.
There are also some fun workshops (through Bringing Back the Natives) coming up: The topics include 'Gardening with Nature in Mind,' 'Choosing Native Plants for your Garden,' and the one I'm going to sign up for, 'California native plant propagation: How to create native plants from seeds, cuttings, and divisions.' You can register here.
Most of the plants pictured above are grown from seed (not the Iris); if you need to purchase native California seed, I recommend Larner Seeds in Bolinas. You can order online, but it's worth a trip to Judith Larner's test garden. Of course the seed should go in soon, and the test garden looks best in spring, so order your seed now and plan to visit Judith in March or April.
One last thing. Living Web Farms has just posted the first of a series of videos about Soil Fertility, with talks given by a scientist. I watched this Introduction today, and was completely hooked. Soil science is a very complicated thing, and it's helpful to know more about what makes soil fertile. I struggle with this all the time in our vegetable beds. Hopefully this series will clarify some things.