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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 June 4:

Because of the comfortable weather, it’s not too late to set out tomato and pepper seedlings as well as squash and melon plants. They’ll appreciate this not-too-hot weather. Just remember to water.

* From seed, plant corn, pumpkins, radishes, melons, squash and sunflowers.

* Plant basil to go with your tomatoes.

* Transplant summer annuals such as petunias, marigolds and zinnias.

* It’s also a good time to transplant perennial flowers including astilbe, columbine, coneflowers, coreopsis, dahlias, rudbeckia, salvia and verbena.

* Let the grass grow longer. Set the mower blades high to reduce stress on your lawn during summer heat. To cut down on evaporation, water your lawn deeply during the wee hours of the morning, between 2 and 8 a.m.

* Tie up vines and stake tall plants such as gladiolus and lilies. That gives their heavy flowers some support.

* Dig and divide crowded bulbs after the tops have died down.

* Feed summer flowers with a slow-release fertilizer.

* Mulch, mulch, mulch! This “blanket” keeps moisture in the soil longer and helps your plants cope during hot weather.

* Thin grapes on the vine for bigger, better clusters later this summer.

* Cut back fruit-bearing canes on berries.

* Feed camellias, azaleas and other acid-loving plants.

* Trim off dead flowers from rose bushes to keep them blooming through the summer. Roses also benefit from deep watering and feeding now. A top dressing of aged compost will keep them happy. It feeds as well as keeps roots moist.

* Pinch back chrysanthemums for bushier plants with many more flowers in September.

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