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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 Nov. 27

Before the rain comes later in the week, take advantage of sunny, calm days:

* This may be your last chance this season for the first application of copper fungicide spray to peach and nectarine trees. Leaf curl, which shows up in the spring, is caused by a fungus that winters as spores on the limbs and around the tree in fallen leaves. Sprays are most effective now, but they need a few days of dry weather after application to really “stick.” If you haven’t yet, spray now.

* Rake and compost leaves, but dispose of any diseased plant material. For example, if peach and nectarine trees showed signs of leaf curl this year, clean up under trees and dispose of those leaves instead of composting.

* Make sure storm drains are clear of any debris.

* Give your azaleas, gardenias and camellias a boost with chelated iron.

* Trim chrysanthemums to 6 to 8 inches above the ground after they’re done blooming. Keep potted mums in their containers until next spring. Then, they can be planted in the ground, if desired, or repotted.

* Prune non-flowering trees and shrubs while dormant.

* Plant bulbs for spring bloom. Don’t forget the tulips chilling in the refrigerator. Other suggestions: daffodils, crocuses, hyacinths, anemones and scillas.

* Seed wildflowers including California poppies.

* Also from seed, plant sweet pea, sweet alyssum, bachelor buttons and other spring flowers.

* Plant most trees and shrubs. This gives them plenty of time for root development before spring growth. They also benefit from winter rains.

* Set out cool-weather annuals such as pansies and snapdragons.

* Lettuce, cabbage, broccoli and cool-season greens can be planted now.

* Plant garlic and onions.

* If you decide to use a living Christmas tree this year, keep it outside in a sunny location until Christmas week. This reduces stress on the young tree.

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