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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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For week of March 3:

* Celebrate the city flower! Catch the 100th Sacramento Camellia Show 3 to 6 p.m. Saturday, March 2, and 10 a.m to 5 p.m. Sunday, March 3, at the Scottish Rite Center, 6151 H St., Sacramento. Admission is free.

* Between showers, pick up fallen camellia blooms; that helps cut down on the spread of blossom blight that prematurely browns petals.

* Feed camellias after they bloom with fertilizer formulated for acid-loving plants.

* Camellias need little pruning. Remove dead wood and shape, if necessary.

* Tread lightly or not at all on wet ground; it compacts soil.

* Avoid digging in wet soil, too; wait until it clumps in your hand but doesn’t feel squishy.

* Note spots in your garden that stay wet after storms; improve drainage with the addition of organic matter such as compost.

* Keep an eye out for leaning trunks or ground disturbances around a tree’s base, a sign of shifting roots in the wet soil.

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

* If aphids are attracted to new growth, knock them off with a strong spray of water or insecticidal soap. To make your own “bug soap,” use two tablespoons liquid soap – not detergent – to one quart water in a spray bottle. Shake it up before use. Among the liquid soaps that seem most effective are Dr. Bronner’s Pure-Castile Soaps; try the peppermint scent.

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

* Prune and fertilize spring-flowering shrubs after bloom.

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

* Make plans for your summer garden. Once the soil is ready, start adding amendments such as compost.

* Indoors, start seeds for summer favorites such as tomatoes, peppers and squash as well as summer flowers.

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