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UC Davis Arboretum hosts first spring plant sale of 2024

Members-only event features huge selection of water-wise plants; join at the gate

The weather likely won't be as pleasant Saturday as in this photo, but the tables at the UC Davis Teaching Nursery will be just as full for the first spring Plant Sale of 2024. This will be a members-only event.

The weather likely won't be as pleasant Saturday as in this photo, but the tables at the UC Davis Teaching Nursery will be just as full for the first spring Plant Sale of 2024. This will be a members-only event. Kathy Morrison

This month is a wonderful time to add water-wise perennials, shrubs, trees and native plants to our landscapes. The weather is warming and so is the soil, which is moist and soft due to recent rain.

That also makes this the perfect week for a plant sale!

On Saturday, March 9, the UC Davis Arboretum’s Teaching Nursery starts its spring cycle of plant sales with its annual Spring Members Appreciation Sale. From 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., members of Friends of the Arboretum get the run of the 1-acre nursery and first pick of the arboretum’s spring selections – plus a 10% discount.

Not a member? No problem! Join in advance online or at the gate and get a new member gift ($10 coupon for the sale) as well as the discount.

Split sales (with the first hour reserved for members only) will be held April 7 and 27. The spring clearance sale is set for May 11. Hours are 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. for each sale.

“Shop our 1-acre nursery to find an incredible selection of attractive, low-water plants perfect for our region,” says the arboretum staff. “By choosing to shop with us, not only will you bring home beautiful plants that help support a sustainable environment, your purchases play a vital role in supporting the growth and care of our gardens, student environmental leadership opportunities, and free public programs.

“Discover the joys of gardening with plants that help heal our environment while nurturing our community!”

Volunteers are still needed to staff the sales. The nursery seeks customer assistants, cashiers, plant counters and other volunteers to help these events run as smoothly as possible. Find the forms to sign up here: https://arboretum.ucdavis.edu/plant-sales.

That same link also leads to downloadable inventory lists of the hundreds of varieties that will be available as well as many photos. The inventory lists are invaluable tools to get the most out of these sales.

Take it from our experience: Research plants before you shop, and compile a list with the plant locations. Bring a wagon or rolling cart if you have one: Often early in the sale there's a waiting list for the nursery wagons.

The Arboretum Teaching Nursery is located at 1046 Garrod Drive, Davis, on the UC Davis campus near the small animal veterinary hospital. Parking is available in the adjoining lots. Student volunteers stationed on corners can direct visitors to parking areas.

Details and directions: https://arboretum.ucdavis.edu/.

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Garden Checklist for week of July 7

Take care of garden chores early in the morning, concentrating on watering. We’re still in survival mode until this heat wave breaks.

* Keep your vegetable garden watered, mulched and weeded. Water before 8 a.m. to conserve moisture.

* Prevent sunburn; provide temporary shade for tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, melons, squash and other crops with “sensitive” skin.

* Hold off on feeding plants until temperatures cool back down to “normal” range. That means daytime highs in the low to mid 90s.

* Don’t let tomatoes wilt or dry out completely. Give tomatoes a deep watering two to three times a week. Harvest vegetables promptly to encourage plants to produce more.

* Squash especially tends to grow rapidly in hot weather. Keep an eye on zucchini.

* Some weeds thrive in hot weather. Whack them before they go to seed.

* Pinch back chrysanthemums for bushy plants and more flowers in September.

* Harvest tomatoes, squash, peppers and eggplant. Prompt picking will help keep plants producing.

* Remove spent flowers from roses, daylilies and other bloomers as they finish flowering.

* Pinch off blooms from basil so the plant will grow more leaves.

* Cut back lavender after flowering to promote a second bloom.

* One good thing about hot days: Most lawns stop growing when temperatures top 95 degrees. Keep mower blades set on high.

* Once the weather cools down a little, it’s not too late to add a splash of color. Plant petunias, snapdragons, zinnias and marigolds.

* After the heat wave, plant corn, pumpkins, radishes, winter squash and sunflowers. Make sure the seeds stay hydrated.

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