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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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Garden Checklist for week of July 7

Take care of garden chores early in the morning, concentrating on watering. We’re still in survival mode until this heat wave breaks.

* Keep your vegetable garden watered, mulched and weeded. Water before 8 a.m. to conserve moisture.

* Prevent sunburn; provide temporary shade for tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, melons, squash and other crops with “sensitive” skin.

* Hold off on feeding plants until temperatures cool back down to “normal” range. That means daytime highs in the low to mid 90s.

* Don’t let tomatoes wilt or dry out completely. Give tomatoes a deep watering two to three times a week. Harvest vegetables promptly to encourage plants to produce more.

* Squash especially tends to grow rapidly in hot weather. Keep an eye on zucchini.

* Some weeds thrive in hot weather. Whack them before they go to seed.

* Pinch back chrysanthemums for bushy plants and more flowers in September.

* Harvest tomatoes, squash, peppers and eggplant. Prompt picking will help keep plants producing.

* Remove spent flowers from roses, daylilies and other bloomers as they finish flowering.

* Pinch off blooms from basil so the plant will grow more leaves.

* Cut back lavender after flowering to promote a second bloom.

* One good thing about hot days: Most lawns stop growing when temperatures top 95 degrees. Keep mower blades set on high.

* Once the weather cools down a little, it’s not too late to add a splash of color. Plant petunias, snapdragons, zinnias and marigolds.

* After the heat wave, plant corn, pumpkins, radishes, winter squash and sunflowers. Make sure the seeds stay hydrated.

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