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Let the (shrub) madness begin!

Pick a bracket full of winners in this contest for plant fans

Pugster Periwinkle
Can pretty Pugster Periwinkle butterfly bush break into the top
brackets? Only time (and votes) will tell in the Shrub Madness
competition. (Photo courtesy Proven Winners)



This spring tournament can grow on you. There’s a bracket, 64 competitors and plenty of possible upsets. But only one shrub will reign supreme.

Think of it as March Madness for fans of certain kinds of plants.

It’s “Shrub Madness” and this year’s contest offers several prizes for gardeners who take part in the online activities.

Presented by Proven Winners, Shrub Madness pits many of the plant company’s best-selling or most eye-catching plants against each other in a bracket format, similar to the NCAA basketball tournament. Fans are asked to vote online for their picks in each match-up. The winning shrubs advance to the next round. Stretched over four weeks, the contest culminates in a “Floral Four” with one overall champion.

The 2020 Shrub Madness champion: Oso Easy Italian Ice rose, a tough-as-nails landscape rose that blooms all summer but never needs deadheading.

That rose broke a string of hydrangea dominance. Since the contest began in 2014, hydrangeas have captured the championship five times. The only other winners were roses: Last year’s Oso Easy Italian Ice and 2016’s At Last, a fragrant apricot-hued landscape rose. (That hydrangea/rose dominance is something to remember when filling out your bracket.)

Just like March Madness, fans have a chance to compete against each other by predicting the outcomes of those shrub-to-shrub match-ups. But you better hurry; complete your bracket by Sunday, Feb. 28, to be eligible. (Note: It's a "weighted" bracket with later rounds counting much more than early picks.)

“At the end of the competition, whoever has most closely predicted the outcome will win the grand prize – a $250 gift card to Corona Tools and four gallon-sized shrubs,” says Proven Winners. Those shrubs will be the Floral Four finalists.

Here’s a look at this year’s competitors:
https://www.shrubmadness.com/the-plants.html

Shrub Madness is a fun way to learn about new varieties and plant introductions from Proven Winners, the nation's leading "plant brand."

Starting Monday, March 1, the real fun begins: Plant fans can vote daily to advance favorite plants to the next round. At the end of each round, participants’ names will be drawn at random to receive shrubs that were winners in that round.

“The more you vote, the better your chances to win dozens of prize packs,” says Proven Winners.

But to keep people from stuffing the virtual ballot box, patrons are limited to one vote per day.

Start playing here: https://bit.ly/37DeiA7

Find out more at: www.shrubmadness.com .

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Garden Checklist for week of May 19

Temperatures will be a bit higher than normal in the afternoons this week. Take care of chores early in the day – then enjoy the afternoon. It’s time to smell the roses.

* Plant, plant, plant! It’s prime planting season in the Sacramento area. If you haven’t already, it’s time to set out those tomato transplants along with peppers and eggplants. Pinch off any flowers on new transplants to make them concentrate on establishing roots instead of setting premature fruit.

* Direct-seed melons, cucumbers, summer squash, corn, radishes, pumpkins and annual herbs such as basil.

* Harvest cabbage, lettuce, peas and green onions.

* In the flower garden, direct-seed sunflowers, cosmos, salvia, zinnias, marigolds, celosia and asters.

* Plant dahlia tubers. Other perennials to set out include verbena, coreopsis, coneflower and astilbe.

* Transplant petunias, marigolds and perennial flowers such as astilbe, columbine, coneflowers, coreopsis, dahlias, rudbeckia and verbena.

* Keep an eye out for slugs, snails, earwigs and aphids that want to dine on tender new growth.

* Feed summer bloomers with a balanced fertilizer.

* For continued bloom, cut off spent flowers on roses as well as other flowering plants.

* Don’t forget to water. Seedlings need moisture. Deep watering will help build strong roots and healthy plants.

* Add mulch to the garden to help keep that precious water from evaporating. Mulch also cuts down on weeds. But don’t let it mound around the stems or trunks of trees or shrubs. Leave about a 6-inch to 1-foot circle to avoid crown rot or other problems.

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