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Wanted: Little things for kids in need

The Secret Garden hosts Holiday Joy Drive

Christmas stockings in red and white
Stockings and small gifts to put in them for children will be collected during The Secret Garden's Holiday Joy Drive now through Dec. 17. (Photo: Kathy Morrison)

It’s the little things that make the holidays special. The Secret Garden is gathering lots of those little things as part of its annual “Holiday Joy Drive.”

Now through Dec. 17, the Elk Grove garden store will collect donations for the Wellspring Women’s Center. Located in Sacramento’s Oak Park neighborhood, the center serves nearly 200 women and children every week.

Owned by the Kahl family, The Secret Garden has made its Holiday Joy Drive an annual tradition.

“This year, we are collecting donations to benefit Wellspring Women’s Center in Sacramento,” the Kahl family posted on The Secret Garden’s website. “They provide meals and essential services for vulnerable women and children in our community.”

In particular, the Joy Drive seeks little things.

“They are in need of stocking stuffers for children staying at the shelter as well as essential items for their Safety Net Program,” says the post. “Let's spread some holiday joy to those in need!”

Patrons can view the center’s wish list for suggested donation items at .

Open 10 a.m. to 5 pm. daily, The Secret Garden is located at 8450 W. Stockton Blvd., Sacramento. Phone: 916-682-6839.

Details and directions: .


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Dig In: Garden Checklist

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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