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McKinley Park rose garden needs you!

Volunteers can sign up for Saturday's annual prune-athon

rose garden with arch
Getting the McKinley Park Rose Garden to look this good in spring takes a lot
of work in winter. The annual pruning event will be held this Saturday. (Photos:
Debbie Arrington)

Got shears? It’s pruning time at McKinley Park’s Memorial Rose Garden. Volunteers are needed for Saturday’s annual Prune-athon, when the garden’s 1,200-plus roses get a yearly trim.

No prior experience is necessary. It’s a great opportunity to learn about rose care while also helping a beloved local landmark.

Experienced pruners are welcome, too. Wear thick gloves, long sleeves and closed-toe shoes.

Considered among Sacramento’s most romantic places, the McKinley Park rose garden has been the site of hundreds of weddings and other special events. It was also featured in the hit movie “Lady Bird.” This annual pruning helps those roses look so good in spring, summer and fall.

Volunteers need to be at least age 13 and must fill out a participation form, available here: Registration and parking are free.

Pruning group at rose garden
Many hands -- and pruning shears -- make the work go faster
at the McKinley Park Rose Garden. This photo is from several
years ago.
The prune-athon will start cutting at 9 a.m. Saturday, Jan. 8, and continue until 1 p.m. Volunteers will be treated to a hot soup lunch, courtesy of Friends of East Sacramento.

Questions? Email


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For week of Dec. 10:

Take advantage of these dry but crisp conditions. It’s time to get out the rake!

* Rake leaves away from storm drains and keep gutters clear.

* Fallen leaves can be used for mulch and compost. Chop up large leaves with a couple of passes with a lawn mower.

* Prune non-flowering trees and shrubs while they’re dormant. Without their foliage, trees are easier to prune.

* Rake and remove dead leaves and stems from dormant perennials.

* Make sure to take frost precautions with new transplants and sensitive plants. Mulch, water and cover tender plants in the late afternoon to retain warmth.

* Succulent plants are at particular risk if temperatures drop below freezing. Don’t water succulents before frost; cover instead. Use cloth sheets, not plastic. Make sure to remove coverings during the day.

* Clean and sharpen garden tools before storing for the winter.

* Brighten the holidays with winter bloomers such as poinsettias, amaryllis, calendulas, Iceland poppies, pansies and primroses.

* Keep poinsettias in a sunny, warm location. Water thoroughly. After the holidays, feed your plants monthly so they'll bloom again next December.

* Just because it rained doesn't mean every plant got watered. Give a drink to plants that the rain didn't reach, such as under eaves or under evergreen trees. Also, well-watered plants hold up better to frost than thirsty plants.

* Plant garlic (December's the last chance -- the ground is getting cold!) and onions for harvest in summer.

* Bare-root season begins. Plant bare-root berries, kiwifruit, grapes, artichokes, horseradish and rhubarb. Beware of soggy soil. It can rot bare-root plants.

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