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'Bright Lights, Garden Delights' at the Fair Oaks Horticulture Center in December

Master gardeners to stage free event on Monday evenings

Garden area with path
This is a portion of the Water Efficient Landscape Gardens at the Fair Oaks Horticulture Center. Now imagine it just after sunset, all decorated with holiday lights and displays and open for evening strolls. It's happening in December, thanks to the Sacramento County master gardeners. (Photo: Kathy Morrison)

Ready for some holiday magic? As a special treat by Sacramento's master gardeners, the Water Efficient Landscape Gardens at the Fair Oaks Horticulture Center will be lit up holiday-style for evening strolls on Mondays in December.

Colorful lights and other holiday displays will be on view from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Dec. 6, 13, 20 and 27. Admission is free, but canned food donations are encouraged. Barrels for food collection will be at the entrance to the Horticulture Center, which is located next to Fair Oaks Park atĀ 11549 Fair Oaks Blvd., just south of Madison. Plenty of parking fronts the site.

On Dec. 6 and 13 only, students from Fair Oaks Preschool will be caroling in the gardens from 5 to 5:30 p.m.

The Horticulture Center is the demonstration garden of the UCCE Master Gardeners of Sacramento County. The WEL gardens, which showcase drought-resistant plants, including California natives, are wheelchair-accessible with paved paths; the area is open seven days a week during daylight hours. The other parts of the FOHC are available to the public only during Open Garden events, which return in January.

The master gardeners' website, , will have information onĀ special pop-up events accompanying "Bright Lights, Garden Delights." This holiday event is held in collaboration with the Fair Oaks Recreation and Park District.

-- 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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