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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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Garden Checklist for week of April 14

It's still not warm enough to transplant tomatoes directly in the ground, but we’re getting there.

* April is the last chance to plant citrus trees such as dwarf orange, lemon and kumquat. These trees also look good in landscaping and provide fresh fruit in winter.

* Smell orange blossoms? Feed citrus trees with a low dose of balanced fertilizer (such as 10-10-10) during bloom to help set fruit. Keep an eye out for ants.

* Apply slow-release fertilizer to the lawn.

* Thoroughly clean debris from the bottom of outdoor ponds or fountains.

* Spring brings a flush of rapid growth, and that means your garden needs nutrients. Fertilize shrubs and trees with a slow-release fertilizer. Or mulch with a 1-inch layer of compost.

* Azaleas and camellias looking a little yellow? If leaves are turning yellow between the veins, give them a boost with chelated iron.

* Trim dead flowers but not leaves from spring-flowering bulbs such as daffodils and tulips. Those leaves gather energy to create next year's flowers. Also, give the bulbs a fertilizer boost after bloom.

* Pinch chrysanthemums back to 12 inches for fall flowers. Cut old stems to the ground.

* Mulch around plants to conserve moisture and control weeds.

* From seed, plant beans, beets, cantaloupes, carrots, corn, cucumbers, melons, radishes and squash.

* Plant onion sets.

* In the flower garden, plant seeds for asters, cosmos, celosia, marigolds, salvia, sunflowers and zinnias.

* Transplant petunias, zinnias, geraniums and other summer bloomers.

* Plant perennials and dahlia tubers for summer bloom.

* Mid to late April is about the last chance to plant summer bulbs, such as gladiolus and tuberous begonias.

* Transplant lettuce seedlings. Choose varieties that mature quickly such as loose leaf.

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