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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: .


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For week of Dec. 10:

Take advantage of these dry but crisp conditions. It’s time to get out the rake!

* Rake leaves away from storm drains and keep gutters clear.

* Fallen leaves can be used for mulch and compost. Chop up large leaves with a couple of passes with a lawn mower.

* Prune non-flowering trees and shrubs while they’re dormant. Without their foliage, trees are easier to prune.

* Rake and remove dead leaves and stems from dormant perennials.

* Make sure to take frost precautions with new transplants and sensitive plants. Mulch, water and cover tender plants in the late afternoon to retain warmth.

* Succulent plants are at particular risk if temperatures drop below freezing. Don’t water succulents before frost; cover instead. Use cloth sheets, not plastic. Make sure to remove coverings during the day.

* Clean and sharpen garden tools before storing for the winter.

* Brighten the holidays with winter bloomers such as poinsettias, amaryllis, calendulas, Iceland poppies, pansies and primroses.

* Keep poinsettias in a sunny, warm location. Water thoroughly. After the holidays, feed your plants monthly so they'll bloom again next December.

* Just because it rained doesn't mean every plant got watered. Give a drink to plants that the rain didn't reach, such as under eaves or under evergreen trees. Also, well-watered plants hold up better to frost than thirsty plants.

* Plant garlic (December's the last chance -- the ground is getting cold!) and onions for harvest in summer.

* Bare-root season begins. Plant bare-root berries, kiwifruit, grapes, artichokes, horseradish and rhubarb. Beware of soggy soil. It can rot bare-root plants.

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