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Grow a gorgeous garden and save water, too

Master gardeners present free online workshop

Yellow butterfly
A western tiger swallowtail enjoys the ambiance of a trailing lantana. Low-water gardens can be beautiful. (Photo: Kathy Morrison)

How do you balance garden beauty with fire safety? How do you support bees and butterflies while saving water? (And what can survive our summer heat while still looking good?)

As our climate gets drier, those gardening challenges become harder, especially in communities with limited water. Who knows what to plant to fulfill all these needs?

Master gardeners do! See their suggestions and learn how to master this gardening dilemma during a special free workshop. It's open to anyone with an internet connection.

Set for 9 a.m. Saturday, June 26, “Gorgeous Low-Water Gardening” features the expertise of foothill master gardeners, who have the challenge of providing defensible space for wildfire protection.

Presented by the UC Cooperative Extension Master Gardeners of Amador County in cooperation with the UCCE Master Gardeners of El Dorado County, this 90-minute online class will explore options and challenges of low-water gardening.

“So, you want a beautiful garden up here in the Sierra Foothills,” say the organizers. “You want to attract butterflies and bees, but you also want to be fire-safe and, of course, drought tolerant due to our long, hot summers and increasing drought periods.”

Like the drought period we appear to be in again.

“Well, things just got pretty tricky!!” they added. “You need advice and direction from the experts! Join our Master Gardeners who will share tips and tricks, review various plant choices and discuss water management for your beautiful creation.”

Registration is free, but required. Participants can sign up anytime before and during the session. You will receive the link to the session in the registration confirmation email. To register:

More details:


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For week of Dec. 3:

Make the most of gaps between raindrops. This is a busy month!

* Windy conditions brought down a lot of leaves. Make sure to rake them away from storm drains.

* Use those leaves as mulch around frost-tender shrubs and new transplants.

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

* 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 eves or under evergreen trees. Also, well-watered plants hold up better to frost than thirsty plants.

* Prune non-flowering trees and shrubs while they're dormant.

* 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.

* Plant one last round of spring bulbs including daffodils, crocuses, hyacinths, anemones and scillas. Get those tulips out of the refrigerator and into the ground.

* This is also a good time to seed wildflowers such as California poppies.

* Plant such spring bloomers as sweet pea, sweet alyssum and bachelor buttons.

* Late fall is the best time to plant most trees and shrubs. This gives them plenty of time for root development before spring growth. They also benefit from fall and winter rains.

* Lettuce, cabbage and broccoli also can be planted now.

* Plant garlic and onions.

* 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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