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Heat brings out camellias early; Camellia Show coming soon

98th annual Sacramento Camellia Show set for March 5 and 6

Red camellia blossom
Camellia 'Tom Knudsen' has eye-catching red flowers. (Photo: Kathy Morrison)



A beloved Sacramento tradition returns soon. But with so much recent heat, will there still be enough camellias for the 98th annual Sacramento Camellia Show?

“I said, ‘Stop! Don’t bloom until March 5!’ But my camellias aren’t listening,” said Julie Vierra, president of the
Camellia Society of Sacramento . “In this heat, they open so quickly, then boom! They fall off. The wind doesn’t help either.”

But there will still be lots and lots of entries for the show, Vierra predicted. After missing a year to pandemic restrictions, there’s just too much pent-up enthusiasm to keep camellia lovers away.

“Is there ever! We are so excited to see all our camellia friends,” Vierra said. “We have judges coming from as far away as Los Angeles.”

Record-warm days in early February have prompted many local camellias into full bloom, weeks ahead of their usual early March arrival. Sunday (Feb. 13) was the hottest-ever February day in Sacramento at 78 degrees.

Fortunately for camellia lovers, cooler days are forecast between now and the 2022 show, set for March 5 and 6. Instead of Memorial Auditorium (which hosted this event for decades), the Sacramento Elks Lodge on Riverside Boulevard in the Greenhaven/Pocket neighborhood will be the setting.

The Elks Lodge also hosted the 2020 camellia show, one of the last local public events before COVID-19 forced months of cancellations.

“We closed our show on Sunday, and (the following) Wednesday, the whole state closed down,” Vierra recalled.

Although mask mandates are expected to be relaxed in early March, the Camellia Society will urge participants to practice precautions. The lodge’s exhibit hall allows for lots of room for social distancing. Face masks will be required for entry.

Show hours are 3 to 6 p.m. March 5 and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. March 6. Admission and parking are free; donations are welcome.

Besides hundreds of camellia blooms at their peak of beauty, the show also features many flower arrangements created by floral artists. Grown by Nuccio’s Nurseries , more than 200 plants will be offered for sale.

The Elks Lodge is located at 6446 Riverside Blvd., Sacramento, where Florin Road dead-ends at Riverside Boulevard.

For more details: camelliasocietyofsacramento.org .

Trophy table at the 2020 Sacramento Camellia Show. (Photo: Debbie Arrington)

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Garden Checklist for week of July 7

Take care of garden chores early in the morning, concentrating on watering. We’re still in survival mode until this heat wave breaks.

* Keep your vegetable garden watered, mulched and weeded. Water before 8 a.m. to conserve moisture.

* Prevent sunburn; provide temporary shade for tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, melons, squash and other crops with “sensitive” skin.

* Hold off on feeding plants until temperatures cool back down to “normal” range. That means daytime highs in the low to mid 90s.

* Don’t let tomatoes wilt or dry out completely. Give tomatoes a deep watering two to three times a week. Harvest vegetables promptly to encourage plants to produce more.

* Squash especially tends to grow rapidly in hot weather. Keep an eye on zucchini.

* Some weeds thrive in hot weather. Whack them before they go to seed.

* Pinch back chrysanthemums for bushy plants and more flowers in September.

* Harvest tomatoes, squash, peppers and eggplant. Prompt picking will help keep plants producing.

* Remove spent flowers from roses, daylilies and other bloomers as they finish flowering.

* Pinch off blooms from basil so the plant will grow more leaves.

* Cut back lavender after flowering to promote a second bloom.

* One good thing about hot days: Most lawns stop growing when temperatures top 95 degrees. Keep mower blades set on high.

* Once the weather cools down a little, it’s not too late to add a splash of color. Plant petunias, snapdragons, zinnias and marigolds.

* After the heat wave, plant corn, pumpkins, radishes, winter squash and sunflowers. Make sure the seeds stay hydrated.

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