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Make a star of your backyard

Local garden needed to illustrate new museum’s water-wise display

Gloved hands planting in a garden
Your garden could be in a museum display this year. (Photo courtesy Regional Water Authority)

Is your garden ready for its close-up?

Maybe not right this minute, but envision your backyard as spring flowers bloom and water-wise plants look their best. Even the dog’s little scrap of lawn is vibrantly green.

That’s just what the Regional Water Authority needs.

The umbrella agency over the greater Sacramento area’s water providers, the RWA has long been a proponent of garden makeovers and water-wise landscaping. The RWA’s Water Efficiency Program is working on a special project: A museum display on wise-water use at home.

This display will be featured at the new SMUD Museum of Science and Curiosity (MOSAC), scheduled to open later this year. Housed in a historic power station on the banks of the Sacramento River near downtown, the new state-of-the-art science center will help educate thousands of Sacramento-area students as well as inspire visitors of all ages. (Read more about it here: .)

Currently, the RWA is looking for candidates for its inspirational and water-wise backyard, says Amy Talbot, RWA Water Efficiency Program manager. Specifically, the backyard should be well-maintained and include beautiful and colorful low water-use plants as well as a small grass lawn.

“If selected, RWA will send a professional photographer to take images of the yard,” Talbot says. “A small stipend for maintenance may be available.”

To nominate your yard or for questions, contact Talbot at or call (214) 914-2510.

For more information of water-wise landscaping and other saving tips, visit: .


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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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