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Look for signs of spring at the Fair Oaks Horticulture Center

Master gardeners host February Open Garden on Saturday

Peach blossoms
If the Eva's Pride peach tree is blooming, can spring be far off? The Fair Oaks Horticulture
Center orchard trees are just beginning to show off their blossoms. (Photos: Kathy Morrison)

We all want rain, but might as well enjoy the sunny days we have, right? No better opportunity arrives than on Saturday, Feb. 12, when the Sacramento County master gardeners present their February Open Garden.

Open Garden Day gives visitors access to the entire Fair Oaks Horticulture Center, which is just south of Fair Oaks Park at 11549 Fair Oaks Blvd. The FOHC is the master gardeners' demonstration garden, but usually just the front portion -- the Water Efficient Landscape, or WEL -- is open daily to the public.

But all the gates will be open Saturday, from 9 a.m. to noon, and visitors will be able to see how the warm late-winter weather is affecting the various growing areas. Master gardeners will staff each area and answer gardening questions.

In the orchard,  the Eva's Pride peach tree leads the way in blooming. Expect to see those beautiful pink blossoms abuzz with bees.

Red wigglers
Visit the worms at the compost area of the Fair Oaks Horticulture

In the compost area, the master gardeners can tell all about worm composting while they're harvesting castings from the big bin full of red wigglers.

Other areas to visit include the berry garden -- where the blueberries have just been pruned -- the vegetable area, the herb garden and the vineyard.

For questions that don't quite fit into those areas, stop at the Ask a Master Gardener table, where they have all sorts of resources for backyard gardeners.

The 2022 Garden Guide will be for sale, $10 for invaluable growing information and a great calendar.

For general information on the Fair Oaks Horticulture Center, go to

Can't make this event? The next Open Garden will be March 12.

-- Kathy Morrison


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Dig In: Garden checklist for week of Jan. 29

Bundle up and get work done!

* Prune, prune, prune. Now is the time to cut back most deciduous trees and shrubs. The exceptions are spring-flowering shrubs such as lilacs.

* Now is the time to prune fruit trees, except apricot and cherry trees. Clean up leaves and debris around the trees to prevent the spread of disease.

* Prune roses, even if they’re still trying to bloom or sprouting new growth. Strip off any remaining leaves, so the bush will be able to put out new growth in early spring.

* Prune Christmas camellias (Camellia sasanqua), the early-flowering varieties, after their bloom. They don’t need much, but selective pruning can promote bushiness, upright growth and more bloom next winter. Feed with an acid-type fertilizer. But don’t feed your Japonica camellias until after they finish blooming next month. Feeding while camellias are in bloom may cause them to drop unopened buds.

* Clean up leaves and debris around your newly pruned roses and shrubs. Put down fresh mulch or bark to keep roots cozy.

* Apply horticultural oil to fruit trees to control scale, mites and aphids. Oils need 24 hours of dry weather after application to be effective.

* This is also the time to spray a copper-based oil to peach and nectarine trees to fight leaf curl. Avoid spraying on windy days.

* Divide daylilies, Shasta daisies and other perennials.

* Cut back and divide chrysanthemums.

* Plant bare-root roses, trees and shrubs.

* Transplant pansies, violas, calendulas, English daisies, snapdragons and fairy primroses.

* In the vegetable garden, plant fava beans, head lettuce, mustard, onion sets, radicchio and radishes.

* Plant bare-root asparagus and root divisions of rhubarb.

* In the bulb department, plant callas, anemones, ranunculus and gladiolus for bloom from late spring into summer.

* Plant blooming azaleas, camellias and rhododendrons. If you’re shopping for these beautiful landscape plants, you can now find them in full flower at local nurseries.

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