Visit the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum's gift store to have books signed by the writers. Jim Gilbert, author of "Minnesota Outdoor Wonders," will appear from 1 to 4 p.m. Dec. 9 and 22. Stan Tekiela, author of "Remarkable Woodpeckers," will appear from 1 to 3 p.m. Dec. 15. Many other holiday activities are scheduled on those weekends. 3675 Arboretum Dr., Chaska. Go to www.arboretum.umn .edu or call 952-443-1400.

Horticultural Society open house

Sip coffee and hot cider while gathering holiday decorating tips at the Minnesota State Horticultural Society free open house from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday. The decorating demonstration is at 11 a.m.; holiday merchandise, gifts and used garden books will be for sale, 2705 Lincoln Dr., Roseville. Call 651-643-3601.


Get the dirt on soil

Learn about the fascinating world of living creatures beneath our feet at the Bell Museum of Natural History's new exhibit, "Dig It! The Secrets of Soil." Interactive displays, video models, photography and activities are geared for families, farmers, gardeners and scientists interested in soil, one of our planet's most important components. The exhibit continues through July 2013 at the Bell, 10 SE. Church St., Mpls., on the University of Minnesota campus. Admission is $6 for adults, $4 ages 3-17; free admission on Sundays. Students and members get in free. Call 612-624-7083.

Tabletop wreath

Koehler and Dramm Institute of Floristry experts will demonstrate how to fashion a wreath of natural branches, berries, wintergreens and clusters of fresh flowers for a winter tabletop centerpiece. All materials are supplied, but bring a scissors and wire cutter. The class is from 9:30 to 11 a.m. Dec. 8 at 2407 E. Hennepin Av., Mpls. Cost is $35; $30 for members. To register, go to the Minnesota State Horticultural Society's website at or call 651-643-3601.