Gardening with native plants is all the rage in these drought-stricken days, and it makes sense: What better to plant than something that has evolved to be perfectly suited to our SoCal soil and climate. But it's not as easy as it looks, which is where the Theodore Payne Foundation comes in. In its air-conditioned classroom (a converted house) or in its acres of gardens in Sun Valley, experienced gardeners teach plant selection, landscape design, even what to do with your newly productive garden (make potpourri, for instance). Classes and field trips also are available for the K-12 set. Teachers include longtime L.A. garden writer Lili Singer, as well as visiting experts such as Southern California Horticultural Society president Steve Gerischer. They'll help you do your bit to save the planet and provide a home for native birds, butterflies and other critters. 10459 Tuxford St., Sun Valley. (818) 768-1802,

—Lisa Horowitz

LA Weekly