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Midweek event a great chance to explore Fair Oaks Horticulture Center

Open Garden should be buzzing with spring activit

Tree and yellow flowers
Lots of green, lots of blooms will be on display at the
April 13 Open Garden. (Photo: Kathy Morrison)


It's spring and a great time to see what’s popping at the Fair Oaks Horticulture Center. The April Open Garden will be held midweek, from 9 a.m. to noon on Wednesday, April 13.

Open Garden days are free, informal events where the entire Horticulture Center is open to the public. Each area of the garden is staffed with master gardeners who are ready and eager to answer gardeners' questions.

The Wednesday events gives anyone home for spring break or who usually works weekends an opportunity to enjoy the FOHC while it’s in the full flush of spring growth. The orchard area and the Water Efficient Landscape gardens are particularly interesting as summer pruning begins on the fruit trees and pollinators visit the WEL's many blooming perennials.

Plenty of activity also will be evident in the  center's other areas: the Vegetable Garden, the Herb Garden, the Vineyard, the Berry Patch and the Composting area.

The Ask a Master Gardener table will be staffed, so bring samples of problem plants or unknown pests for the master gardeners' examination and advice.

The Fair Oaks Horticulture Center is at 11549 Fair Oaks Blvd., Fair Oaks, just south of the Fair Oaks Library. Madison Avenue is the closest cross-street.

For more information, call (916) 875-6913, or go to

-- Kathy Morrison


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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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