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Bonus post: California Native Plant Week

Get inspired to go native in your garden

Lacy phacelia with butterfly
This painted lady butterfly has a thing for lacy phacelia, an annual herb and California native plant. (Photo: Kathy Morrison)

Such a busy time for gardens and gardeners! But we don't want the week to end before acknowledging California Native Plant Week, which runs through Saturday.

The California Native Plant Society, not surprisingly, leads the charge on this celebration. CNPS has posted seven inspiring videos on Californians who are "enriching lives and landscapes with native plants." One of the videos focuses on Sacramento's own Miridae Landscape Design and founder Billy Krimmel's home garden. Check out all the videos here .

CNPS also is the driving force behind the Bloom! California partnership with local nurseries around the state. In Sacramento, The Plant Foundry at 35th and Broadway is participating in the program; the informative booklet produced by Bloom! California is available there.

The booklet is a great guide to easy-to-grow California natives that do well in all areas of the state, including clarkia,  currants, phacelia, sage, toyon and yarrow. These natives and others also provide crucial habitat for birds, bees, butterflies and other pollinators and wildlife.

Celebrate the plants that are at home in our backyards and our wildlands -- and try planting some new ones this month.

-- Kathy Morrison

P.S. In addition to The Plant Foundry, great sources locally for native plants are the various master gardener plant sales and the UC Davis Arboretum Teaching Nursery plant sales. April 30 is the date for both the El Dorado County master gardener sale of ornamentals and the final Arboretum Nursery sale of the spring.


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Dig In: Garden Checklist

For week of Dec. 3:

Make the most of gaps between raindrops. This is a busy month!

* Windy conditions brought down a lot of leaves. Make sure to rake them away from storm drains.

* Use those leaves as mulch around frost-tender shrubs and new transplants.

* Rake and remove dead leaves and stems from dormant perennials.

* Just because it rained doesn't mean every plant got watered. Give a drink to plants that the rain didn't reach, such as under eves or under evergreen trees. Also, well-watered plants hold up better to frost than thirsty plants.

* Prune non-flowering trees and shrubs while they're dormant.

* Clean and sharpen garden tools before storing for the winter.

* Brighten the holidays with winter bloomers such as poinsettias, amaryllis, calendulas, Iceland poppies, pansies and primroses.

* Keep poinsettias in a sunny, warm location. Water thoroughly. After the holidays, feed your plants monthly so they'll bloom again next December.

* Plant one last round of spring bulbs including daffodils, crocuses, hyacinths, anemones and scillas. Get those tulips out of the refrigerator and into the ground.

* This is also a good time to seed wildflowers such as California poppies.

* Plant such spring bloomers as sweet pea, sweet alyssum and bachelor buttons.

* Late fall is the best time to plant most trees and shrubs. This gives them plenty of time for root development before spring growth. They also benefit from fall and winter rains.

* Lettuce, cabbage and broccoli also can be planted now.

* Plant garlic and onions.

* Bare-root season begins. Plant bare-root berries, kiwifruit, grapes, artichokes, horseradish and rhubarb. Beware of soggy soil. It can rot bare-root plants.

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