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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 Jan. 29

Bundle up and get work done!

* Prune, prune, prune. Now is the time to cut back most deciduous trees and shrubs. The exceptions are spring-flowering shrubs such as lilacs.

* Now is the time to prune fruit trees, except apricot and cherry trees. Clean up leaves and debris around the trees to prevent the spread of disease.

* Prune roses, even if they’re still trying to bloom or sprouting new growth. Strip off any remaining leaves, so the bush will be able to put out new growth in early spring.

* Prune Christmas camellias (Camellia sasanqua), the early-flowering varieties, after their bloom. They don’t need much, but selective pruning can promote bushiness, upright growth and more bloom next winter. Feed with an acid-type fertilizer. But don’t feed your Japonica camellias until after they finish blooming next month. Feeding while camellias are in bloom may cause them to drop unopened buds.

* Clean up leaves and debris around your newly pruned roses and shrubs. Put down fresh mulch or bark to keep roots cozy.

* Apply horticultural oil to fruit trees to control scale, mites and aphids. Oils need 24 hours of dry weather after application to be effective.

* This is also the time to spray a copper-based oil to peach and nectarine trees to fight leaf curl. Avoid spraying on windy days.

* Divide daylilies, Shasta daisies and other perennials.

* Cut back and divide chrysanthemums.

* Plant bare-root roses, trees and shrubs.

* Transplant pansies, violas, calendulas, English daisies, snapdragons and fairy primroses.

* In the vegetable garden, plant fava beans, head lettuce, mustard, onion sets, radicchio and radishes.

* Plant bare-root asparagus and root divisions of rhubarb.

* In the bulb department, plant callas, anemones, ranunculus and gladiolus for bloom from late spring into summer.

* Plant blooming azaleas, camellias and rhododendrons. If you’re shopping for these beautiful landscape plants, you can now find them in full flower at local nurseries.

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