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Winter Open Garden events: Dates to save

Master gardeners available to answer questions

During a 2019 winter Open Garden, master gardener Colette Armao shows what the Compost Team considers the perfect compost bin. (Photo: Kathy Morrison)

A new year brings a new schedule of garden events, along with the hope that they actually will happen. If the pandemic has taught us anything, it’s that events scheduled also may be canceled or postponed at the last minute, so keep that in mind.

* Open Garden, 9 a.m. to noon, Saturday, Jan. 22. The Sacramento County master gardeners will be back out in the world this month to answer home gardening  questions at the Jan. 22 Open Garden at the Fair Oaks Horticulture Center. Pruning will be the primary topic, since fruit trees and other plants are in dormancy, when pruning is recommended. The Orchard Team of master gardeners will be on hand to talk about pruning techniques and tools, as well as answer other questions.

But the entire Horticulture Center will be open for browsing, with master gardeners stationed in each area. This is a great opportunity to learn about composting, including worm composting, plus topics such as winter vegetables, perennial herbs and California natives that bloom in cold weather. Ask about seed starting, too!

This also is a great time to purchase in person the master gardeners’ 2022 Gardening Guide and Calendar, if you have’t already. Just $10 for a wealth of gardening information, and plenty of space to write reminders and notes.

The Hort Center is at 11549 Fair Oaks Blvd., Fair Oaks. It’s just south of the library and Fair Oaks Park, which are at the southwest corner of Madison and Fair Oaks Boulevard. The UCCE Sacramento County master gardeners’ website is and the Facebook page is

* Open Garden, 9 a.m. to noon, Saturday, Feb. 12. Same location, same format as the Jan.22 event, but the focus will shift to late winter and early spring vegetables, bulbs, and late winter pruning, especially berries. Check out the changes in the Water Efficient Landscape (WEL) garden as plants begin to wake up.

Hope to see fellow gardeners at either or both of these great events!

— Kathy Morrison (Look for Kathy M. Hellesen among the badge-wearing master gardeners. I’m often in the Herb Garden area.)


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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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