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The Secret Garden hosts Spring Epi Fest

Two-day event celebrates plants that grow without touching the ground

Staghorn ferns are among plants that grow without soil. (Photo: Debbie Arrington)

What kind of living plant needs no soil? Epiphytes!

This large group of mostly tropical plants grow without being attached to the ground. Situated in trees, they usually get their nutrients from decaying leaves and other material that collects among branches. Their moisture comes from rain, mist or fog.

Discover the diversity of these amazing plants during Spring Epi Fest. Hosted by The Secret Garden, Epi Fest will be held 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. April 23 and 24 at the Elk Grove nursery and garden store. Admission is free.

The Secret Garden specializes in epiphytes and will have hundreds on display including epiphyllums, orchids, staghorn ferns, bromeliads, air plants, hoya and more. Tour the store’s collection and see how beautiful these plants can grow – even in the greater Sacramento area.

A plant-mounting demonstration and Q&A will be held at noon that Sunday. Throughout the two days, get expert advice on how to keep these plants happy in your home.

During Epi Fest, The Secret Garden will offer 10% off on all plants (including land-loving succulents and cactus). In addition, Epi Fest includes an epiphyllum cutting sale. Often with huge showy flowers, epiphyllum are nicknamed orchid cacti.

The Secret Garden is located at 8450 W. Stockton Blvd., Elk Grove.

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Dig In: Garden Checklist

For week of June 4:

Because of the comfortable weather, it’s not too late to set out tomato and pepper seedlings as well as squash and melon plants. They’ll appreciate this not-too-hot weather. Just remember to water.

* From seed, plant corn, pumpkins, radishes, melons, squash and sunflowers.

* Plant basil to go with your tomatoes.

* Transplant summer annuals such as petunias, marigolds and zinnias.

* It’s also a good time to transplant perennial flowers including astilbe, columbine, coneflowers, coreopsis, dahlias, rudbeckia, salvia and verbena.

* Let the grass grow longer. Set the mower blades high to reduce stress on your lawn during summer heat. To cut down on evaporation, water your lawn deeply during the wee hours of the morning, between 2 and 8 a.m.

* Tie up vines and stake tall plants such as gladiolus and lilies. That gives their heavy flowers some support.

* Dig and divide crowded bulbs after the tops have died down.

* Feed summer flowers with a slow-release fertilizer.

* Mulch, mulch, mulch! This “blanket” keeps moisture in the soil longer and helps your plants cope during hot weather.

* Thin grapes on the vine for bigger, better clusters later this summer.

* Cut back fruit-bearing canes on berries.

* Feed camellias, azaleas and other acid-loving plants.

* Trim off dead flowers from rose bushes to keep them blooming through the summer. Roses also benefit from deep watering and feeding now. A top dressing of aged compost will keep them happy. It feeds as well as keeps roots moist.

* Pinch back chrysanthemums for bushier plants with many more flowers in September.

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