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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 Sept. 24:

This week our weather will be just right for fall gardening. What are you waiting for?

* Now is the time to plant for fall. The warm soil will get these veggies off to a fast start.

* Keep harvesting tomatoes, peppers, squash, melons and eggplant. Tomatoes may ripen faster off the vine and sitting on the kitchen counter.

* Compost annuals and vegetable crops that have finished producing.

* Cultivate and add compost to the soil to replenish its nutrients for fall and winter vegetables and flowers.

* Fertilize deciduous fruit trees.

* Plant onions, lettuce, peas, radishes, turnips, beets, carrots, bok choy, spinach and potatoes directly into the vegetable beds.

* Transplant cabbage, broccoli, kale, Brussels sprouts and cauliflower as well as lettuce seedlings.

* Sow seeds of California poppies, clarkia and African daisies.

* Transplant cool-weather annuals such as pansies, violas, fairy primroses, calendulas, stocks and snapdragons.

* Divide and replant bulbs, rhizomes and perennials. That includes bearded iris; if they haven’t bloomed in three years, it’s time to dig them up and divide their rhizomes.

* Dig up and divide daylilies as they complete their bloom cycle.

* Divide and transplant peonies that have become overcrowded. Replant with “eyes” about an inch below the soil surface.

* Late September is ideal for sowing a new lawn or re-seeding bare spots.

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