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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, sacmg.ucanr.edu , 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 Oct. 2

Plan to make the most of the mild weather in your garden.

* October is the best month to plant trees and shrubs.

* October also is the best time to plant perennials in our area. Add a little well-aged compost and bone meal to planting holes or beds, but hold off on other fertilizers until spring. Keep the transplants well-watered (but not wet) for the first month as they become settled.

* Now is the time to plant seeds for many flowers directly into the garden, including cornflower, nasturtium, nigella, poppy, portulaca, sweet pea and stock.

* Plant seeds for radishes, bok choy, mustard, spinach and peas.

* Plant garlic and onions.

* Set out cool-weather bedding plants, including calendula, pansy, snapdragon, primrose and viola.

* Reseed and feed the lawn. Work on bare spots.

* Dig up corms and tubers of gladioluses, dahlias and tuberous begonias after the foliage dies. Clean and store in a cool, dry place.

* Treat azaleas, gardenias and camellias with chelated iron if leaves are yellowing between the veins.

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