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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 at 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 on 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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For week of Sept. 24:

This week our weather will be just right for fall gardening. What are you waiting for?

* Now is the time to plant for fall. The warm soil will get these veggies off to a fast start.

* Keep harvesting tomatoes, peppers, squash, melons and eggplant. Tomatoes may ripen faster off the vine and sitting on the kitchen counter.

* Compost annuals and vegetable crops that have finished producing.

* Cultivate and add compost to the soil to replenish its nutrients for fall and winter vegetables and flowers.

* Fertilize deciduous fruit trees.

* Plant onions, lettuce, peas, radishes, turnips, beets, carrots, bok choy, spinach and potatoes directly into the vegetable beds.

* Transplant cabbage, broccoli, kale, Brussels sprouts and cauliflower as well as lettuce seedlings.

* Sow seeds of California poppies, clarkia and African daisies.

* Transplant cool-weather annuals such as pansies, violas, fairy primroses, calendulas, stocks and snapdragons.

* Divide and replant bulbs, rhizomes and perennials. That includes bearded iris; if they haven’t bloomed in three years, it’s time to dig them up and divide their rhizomes.

* Dig up and divide daylilies as they complete their bloom cycle.

* Divide and transplant peonies that have become overcrowded. Replant with “eyes” about an inch below the soil surface.

* Late September is ideal for sowing a new lawn or re-seeding bare spots.

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