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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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Dig In: Garden Checklist

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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