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See cymbidiums galore at Sacramento show, sale

Orchid event spotlights semi-tropical favorite that thrives outdoors

Cymbidiums at their peak of bloom will be on display Saturday. (Photo courtesy of Sacramento Valley Cymbidium Society)

Among the many flowers that bloom in March in Sacramento are spectacular orchids – outdoors.

Cymbidiums, also known as boat orchids, bloom in massive clusters on three-foot-long spikes. With a little protection against frost, these orchids thrive in Sacramento’s mild climate. It’s exposure to temperatures below 55 degrees in winter that prompts all those flowers.

See scores of locally grown cymbidiums in full bloom on Saturday during a spectacular Sacramento show – and take some home, too.

Sacramento Valley Cymbidium Society hosts its spring show and sale from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, March 26, at Shepard Garden and Arts Center in McKinley Park. Parking and admission are free.

Society members will be on hand to offer growing tips for these semi-tropical wonders. Cymbidiums appreciate Sacramento’s summer warmth – as long as they have a place in the afternoon shade and sufficient water.

“We look forward to welcoming you to see our plants, learn how to repot any pot-bound plants you may have or inherited, and buy repotting product,” the club posted on Facebook. “We will also be raffling off a plant as a door prize – free ticket!”

Judging by my own plants, our mild winter produced wonderful cymbidium growing conditions. In my garden, one large yellow cymbidium has 17 big blooms, divided between two tall spikes.

These flowers are long lasting, too; the blooms will stay on the plant for several weeks.

Learn more Saturday at this orchid show and sale. Shepard Center is located at 3330 McKinley Blvd., Sacramento.

Questions? Please email Lee Turner at

Details and directions: .

— Debbie Arrington

Some of the 17 big blooms on Debbie's cymbidium. (Photo: Debbie Arrington)


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Dig In: Garden Checklist for week of April 7

The warm wave coming this week will shift weeds into overdrive. Get to work!

* Weed, weed, weed! Whack them before they flower.

* Mulch around plants to conserve moisture and control weeds.

* 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 is really hungry. Feed 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.

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

* Transplant lettuce and cabbage seedlings.

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