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Feeling lucky? Try this charmer


The St. Patrick's Day rose blooms yellow but has a green tint to
its bud (still apparent in bottom rose). Photo: Debbie Arrington
St. Patrick's Day thoughts for gardeners



How do you keep Irish eyes smiling? Or any eyes for that matter?

During this very weird St. Patrick’s Day, it’s been difficult to focus, little alone grin. Traditions – such as St. Patrick’s Day – help keep us centered, positive and moving forward. So does gardening.

So, as most of us hunker down in some form of self-quarantine, here are some upbeat thoughts for St. Patrick’s Day:

Rose with a green streak

Start with the St. Patrick’s Day rose. Mine is not yet in bloom, but the buds are forming and the flowers will be open soon. A hybrid tea, this unusual rose looks green in bud form (hence its Irish name). During the hottest days of summer, the greener the buds. They open into big butter-yellow blooms.

Introduced in 1996 by Weeks Roses, St. Patrick’s Day won the All-America Rose Selection award. It’s a cross of two very good yellow roses: Brandy and Gold Medal.

(Fun fact: Marilyn Monroe, a buff-colored hybrid tea, was developed by crossing St. Patrick’s Day with the orange blend Sunset Celebration. Like St. Patrick’s Day, Marilyn Monroe sometimes has a green tint.)

An almost shamrock

Those aren’t weeds; they’re (almost) shamrocks! Blooming all over Sacramento (and beyond) this St. Patrick’s Day is a familiar yellow flower with leaves that look like shamrocks. It’s the Bermuda Buttercup, an oxalis native to South Africa. Also known as wood sorrel or sourgrass, this may rank as Sacramento’s most charming invasive plant.

Feeling lucky?

Four-leaf clovers are a natural mutation of common three-leaf clovers. The rule of thumb is that one four-leaf clover occurs for every 10,000 three-leafed clovers. But researchers found that four-leaf clovers are actually twice as common. Researchers looked at 5 million clover leaves and found about 1,000 four-leafed examples, meaning that the rate is closer to 5,000 to 1. Still a long shot, but finding a four-leaf clover is twice as “easy” as believed.

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Dig In: Garden Checklist

For week of Feb. 18:

It's wet to start the week. When you do get outside, between or after storms, concentrate on damage control:

* Keep storm drains and gutters clear of debris.

* Clean up tree debris knocked down by wind and rain.

* Where did the water flow in your garden? Make notes where revisions are necessary.

* Are any trees leaning? See disturbances in the ground or lawn around their base? Time to call an arborist before the tree topples.

* Dump excess water out of pots.

* Indoors, start peppers, tomatoes and eggplant from seed.

* Lettuce and other greens also can be started indoors from seed.

* Got bare-root plants? Put their roots in a bucket of water until outdoor soil dries out. Or pot them up in 1- or 5-gallon containers. In April, transplant the plant, rootball and all, into the garden.

* Browse garden websites and catalogs. It’s not too late to order for spring and summer.

* Show your indoor plants some love. Dust leaves and mist to refresh.

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