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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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Dig In: Garden checklist for week of Nov. 27

Before the rain comes later in the week, take advantage of sunny, calm days:

* This may be your last chance this season for the first application of copper fungicide spray to peach and nectarine trees. Leaf curl, which shows up in the spring, is caused by a fungus that winters as spores on the limbs and around the tree in fallen leaves. Sprays are most effective now, but they need a few days of dry weather after application to really “stick.” If you haven’t yet, spray now.

* Rake and compost leaves, but dispose of any diseased plant material. For example, if peach and nectarine trees showed signs of leaf curl this year, clean up under trees and dispose of those leaves instead of composting.

* Make sure storm drains are clear of any debris.

* Give your azaleas, gardenias and camellias a boost with chelated iron.

* Trim chrysanthemums to 6 to 8 inches above the ground after they’re done blooming. Keep potted mums in their containers until next spring. Then, they can be planted in the ground, if desired, or repotted.

* Prune non-flowering trees and shrubs while dormant.

* Plant bulbs for spring bloom. Don’t forget the tulips chilling in the refrigerator. Other suggestions: daffodils, crocuses, hyacinths, anemones and scillas.

* Seed wildflowers including California poppies.

* Also from seed, plant sweet pea, sweet alyssum, bachelor buttons and other spring flowers.

* Plant most trees and shrubs. This gives them plenty of time for root development before spring growth. They also benefit from winter rains.

* Set out cool-weather annuals such as pansies and snapdragons.

* Lettuce, cabbage, broccoli and cool-season greens can be planted now.

* Plant garlic and onions.

* If you decide to use a living Christmas tree this year, keep it outside in a sunny location until Christmas week. This reduces stress on the young tree.

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