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Rainbow of bearded irises to plant now


Yellow iris
Rhizomes for bearded irises of all colors will be on sale this weekend. (Photo: Debbie Arrington)

Hundreds of varieties available at annual Sacramento rhizome sale

Mid to late summer is the perfect time to plant bearded iris rhizomes. That makes July the perfect time for a rhizome sale.

Saturday and Sunday, July 17 and 18, the Sacramento Iris Society will host its annual rhizome sale at Shepard Garden and Arts Center. These are newly dug rhizomes – fresh from the ground, divided, trimmed and ready to replant. Rhizomes are the fleshy tubers that produce these perennial flowers.

Want some interesting irises? Hundreds of varieties will be available, in every color from pure white to shimmering black and dozens of combinations. According to the society, each specimen will be labeled with the cultivar name and a description of the flower appearance.

"Again we will have a large selection of rebloomers, which have an extended bloom season,” say the organizers. “A demonstration table will be set up to show how rhizomes should be planted. A labeling station will allow you to prepare a free permanent garden label for each of your rhizome purchases before you leave.”

Why plant irises? Besides the beautiful flowers, they’re an ideal choice for Sacramento and foothill gardens. Bearded iris are both deer- and drought-resistant; they can coexist with wildlife and need little summer irrigation.

Sale hours are 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. each day. Admission and parking are free.  Shepard Center is located at 3330 McKinley Blvd., Sacramento, in McKinley Park.

Details and directions:
www.sgaac.org .

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Dig In: Garden checklist for week of Feb. 5

Make the most of sunny days and get winter tasks done:

* This is the last chance to spray fruit trees before they bloom. Treat peach and nectarine trees with copper-based fungicide. Spray apricot trees at bud swell to prevent brown rot. Apply horticultural oil to control scale, mites and aphids on fruit trees soon after a rain. But remember: Oils need at least 24 hours to dry to be effective. Don’t spray during foggy weather or when rain is forecast.

* Feed spring-blooming shrubs and fall-planted perennials with slow-release fertilizer. Feed mature trees and shrubs after spring growth starts.

* Finish pruning roses and deciduous trees.

* Remove aphids from blooming bulbs with a strong spray of water or insecticidal soap.

* Fertilize strawberries and asparagus.

* Transplant or direct-seed several flowers, including snapdragon, candytuft, lilies, astilbe, larkspur, Shasta and painted daisies, stocks, bleeding heart and coral bells.

* In the vegetable garden, plant Jerusalem artichoke tubers, and strawberry and rhubarb roots.

* Transplant cabbage and its close cousins – broccoli, kale and Brussels sprouts – as well as lettuce (both loose leaf and head).

* Plant artichokes, asparagus and horseradish from root divisions.

* Plant potatoes from tubers and onions from sets (small bulbs). The onions will sprout quickly and can be used as green onions in March.

* From seed, plant beets, chard, lettuce, mustard, peas, radishes and turnips.

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