Ever wonder what makes some plants "hot" and others so over? Update your own garden style Wednesday when Richie Steffen, coordinator of...

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Ever wonder what makes some plants “hot” and others so over?

Update your own garden style Wednesday when Richie Steffen, coordinator of horticulture for the Miller Botanical Garden, presents “A Kitty Kelley Cultivar Tell-All.” He’ll dish the dirt on the good and the bad of the plant world in a lecture as fun as it is informative.

Sponsored by the Northwest Horticultural Society, the lecture will be in NHS Hall at the Center for Urban Horticulture, 3501 N.E. 41st St. in Seattle. Cost is $10 at the door; reception 6:45 p.m., lecture 7:15 p.m. For more information, call 206-527-1794 or go to www.northwesthort.org.

Things are coming back to life at the Fern House

If you crave lush greenery during the bleakest months of the year, get your foliage fix at the reopening celebration for the Volunteer Park Conservatory Fern House.

Humans will enjoy the warmth and light as much as the plants in this restored portion of the Victorian Conservatory at the north end of the park.

Enjoy the chrysanthemums in bloom, as well as an extravaganza of ferns, at the dedication ceremony from 1 to 3 p.m. Nov. 18. Admission is free, and refreshments will be served. The Conservatory is located at 1400 E. Galer St. in Seattle. For directions and information, call 206-684-4743.

Bag the rake, and let this trimmer do it for you

Hedges benefit from a late-autumn trim, and now there’s a new tool to make this chore easier and quicker.

The Garden Groom, first introduced in England and now available in the U.S, is advertised as the world’s first cut-and-collect hedge trimmer, with its “onboard volume collection unit.” I guess that means the clippings are automatically bagged, eliminating the raking part of the pruning process.

The Max ($199) is the largest version; for shorter gardeners or smaller jobs, check out the Midi version ($149), as well as a vigorous buzz-prune movie, at www.gardengroom.com.

Want to raise chickens? You’re in cluck!

Seattle Tilth has a hit on its hands with chicken husbandry classes. City Chickens is the class to take if you long for a small flock of hens pecking around your backyard.

The class is designed for people with limited urban or suburban spaces, and covers chicken behavior, health, nutrition and breeds, as well as housing and city rules and regulations.

The next City Chickens 101 class is 10 a.m.-noon Nov. 11 at the Good Shepherd Center, 4649 Sunnyside Ave. N., Seattle. Cost is $22 per person. Advanced registration and payment are required, at www.seattletilth.org or 206-633-0451.

Here’s a bright idea for a diversion from darkness

Just as the nights begin to seem intolerably long and dark, the Bellevue Botanical Garden unveils its winter light display, Garden d’Lights.

Every evening from Nov. 25 through Dec. 31, the garden will be set aglow by tens of thousands of tiny colored lights shaped into flowers, birds, animals and insects. This magic is worked by hundreds of volunteers who bring the garden back to life in the dead of winter by bundling and twisting light strings into fantastical shapes.

Children will delight in Charlotte in her web and Willy the slug, while gardeners are sure to marvel over the many flowers and vines re-created in lights; new this year are chrysanthemums, crocosmia and Shasta daisies.

The garden will be lit from 5 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. Admission is free. The Bellevue Botanical Garden is at 12001 Main St. For directions, go to www.bellevuebotanical.org or call 425-451-3755.

Valerie Easton also answers questions in Wednesday’s Plant Talk in Northwest Life. Write to her at P.O. Box 70, Seattle, WA 98111 or e-mail planttalk@seattletimes.com with your questions. Sorry, no personal replies.