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Gardens Gone Native event takes a break

Tour devoted to native gardens focuses on 2022; past tours can be seen online

Purple-pink wildflower
Elegant clarkia ( Clarkia unguiculata ) was one
of many California natives on view in a Davis
garden during the 2019 Gardens Gone Native
tour. (Photos: Kathy Morrison)

For more than a decade, Gardens Gone Native has been a staple of Sacramento spring, as local residents opened their gardens to share their love of California native plants.

But like so many other garden events, Gardens Gone Native is sitting out this April.

“Regrettably, the tour has been canceled,” said Colene Rauh, the tour’s chairperson.

The Sacramento Valley Chapter of the California Native Plant Society, which hosts the tour, posted this notice to its website: “Sadly, we regret that we will not be able to move forward as planned, however our primary concern is the health and safety of our wonderful tour supporters and hosts.”

In April 2020, the chapter quickly pivoted Gardens Gone Native from an in-person garden tour to virtual event. In the early days of the pandemic, it was one of the first Sacramento-area events to do that successfully. Instead of inviting in scores of visitors, the participating gardens posted photos to the chapter’s website with hopes of hosting a live tour in 2021.

“We begin planning in August of the previous year for the tour,” Rauh explained. “In August of 2020, it was very unclear whether having 100 to 200 folks walk through your yard would be allowed. Or how our hosts would feel about it.

“In addition, I lost two critical resources I haven’t been able to replace,” she added. “I’m staying optimistic that will happen in the next few months.”

Blue oak with label in tree
Visitors to a Sacramento garden on the 2019 tour saw labels
high and low on the native plants.

Instead of another virtual tour, the group opted to take a break.

“We decided to take this year off,” Rauh said. “We are revamping and rethinking what the garden tour can be in 2022. ... It is a blank canvas right now.”

Although there’s no tour this April, interested gardeners can still virtually tour past participating gardens online. Hundreds of photos capture California natives looking their spring best in suburban Sacramento settings.

“You can still be inspired by
past year's images of a variety of gardens that showcase the beauty, versatility, and wildlife habitat value of native plants as well as their role in water efficient landscapes,” says the chapter. “We wish you all good health and hope to see you in person next year.”

See the garden galleries here:

For more on native plants: .


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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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