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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 March 19:

Spring will start a bit soggy, but there’s still plenty to do between showers:

* Fertilize roses, annual flowers and berries as spring growth begins to appear.

* Watch out for aphids. Wash off plants with strong blast from the hose.

* Pull weeds now! Don’t let them get started. Take a hoe and whack them as soon as they sprout.

* Prepare summer vegetable beds. Spade in compost and other amendments.

* Prune and fertilize spring-flowering shrubs after bloom.

* Feed camellias at the end of their bloom cycle. Pick up browned and fallen flowers to fight blossom blight.

* Feed citrus trees as they start to blossom.

* Cut back and fertilize perennial herbs to encourage new growth.

* Seed and renovate the lawn (if you still have one). Feed cool-season grasses such as bent, blue, rye and fescue with a slow-release fertilizer. Check the irrigation system and perform maintenance. Make sure sprinkler heads are turned toward the lawn, not the sidewalk.

* In the vegetable garden, transplant lettuce and kale.

* Seed chard and beets directly into the ground.

* Plant summer bulbs, including gladiolus, tuberous begonias and callas. Also plant dahlia tubers.

* Shop for perennials. Many varieties are available in local nurseries and at plant events. They can be transplanted now while the weather remains relatively cool.

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