Home & Garden

Plant Nite offers fun and easy gardening events in Fresno

Four longtime friends and retired elementary school teachers who formerly ran a garden club for students in Fowler were enjoying some adult gardening time last week while sipping wine and arranging succulents together at The Tasting Room in north Fresno.

“It’s a way to get back together and do what we enjoy doing – but for the adults instead of the seventh graders,” says Suzie Dondlinger with a smile.

Lynn Porter called the wine they sipped their “adult treats.”

The fun gardening session was a Plant Nite event, which has been growing in popularity since the first one was held in Fresno in early January. The events are held in restaurants and pubs, where participants have the option of ordering food and drinks while working on filling a planter with plants and decorative gardening items. Plant Nite is an offshoot of Paint Nite, which started in Fresno in May of 2015.

“It is a plant party,” said Brenda Allison, who led last week’s sold-out Plant Nite event at The Tasting Room. “I want them to have a good time, relax, enjoy themselves, get a little bit dirty. … It’s get dirty, drink, be creative.”

Since January, more than 150 people have participated in Plant Nite events in Fresno, says Courtney Osgood, a spokeswoman for Plant Nite and Paint Nite. The company doesn’t have plans at this time to expand into other central San Joaquin Valley cities, but Plant Nite events are held in a number of other California cities outside the region.

At The Tasting Room last week, Allison led people in arranging succulents in a small whiskey barrel. She strove to explain the gardening in a fun way – at one point, instructing participants to spread moss over rocks like a man might style his hair in a “comb over.”

“You need just enough to barely cover the rocks – so, just like a dude’s comb-over,” Allison says to a roomful of giggles.

Along with being fun, Eric Ross, general manager of The Tasting Room, says hosting Plant Nite and Paint Nite events – which are often held in the middle of the week – has been a boost for his business.

“In the middle of the week, there’s nothing really going on,” Ross says. “People are pretty much doing their nine-to-five … Plant Nite is an affordable means of getting people out and about in the middle of the week.”

Carmen George: 559-441-6386, @CarmenGeorge

Find an event near you

Plant Nite events are listed online at plantnite.com. Registration, which includes materials and instruction, costs around $55. No former gardening experience is necessary to participate.