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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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Dig In: Garden checklist for week of Sept. 25

This week's warm break will revive summer crops such as peppers and tomatoes that may still be trying to produce fruit. Pumpkins and winter squash will add weight rapidly.

Be on the lookout for powdery mildew and other fungal diseases that may be enjoying this combination of warm air and moist soil.

* Late September is ideal for sowing a new lawn or re-seeding bare spots.

* Compost annuals and vegetable crops that have finished producing.

* Cultivate and add compost to the soil to replenish its nutrients for fall and winter vegetables and flowers.

* Plant for fall now. The warm soil will get cool-season veggies and flowers off to a fast start.

* Plant onions, lettuce, peas, radishes, turnips, beets, carrots, bok choy, spinach and potatoes directly into the vegetable beds.

* Transplant lettuce, cabbage, broccoli, kale, Brussels sprouts and cauliflower.

* Sow seeds of California poppies, clarkia and African daisies.

* Transplant cool-weather annuals such as pansies, violas, fairy primroses, calendulas, stocks and snapdragons.

* Divide and replant bulbs, rhizomes and perennials.

* Dig up and divide daylilies as they complete their bloom cycle.

* Divide and transplant peonies that have become overcrowded. Replant with "eyes" about an inch below the soil surface.

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