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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 March 26:

Sacramento can expect another inch of rain from this latest storm. Leave the sprinklers off at least another week. Temps will dip down into the low 30s early in the week, so avoid planting tender seedlings (such as tomatoes). Concentrate on these tasks before or after this week’s rain:

* Fertilize roses, annual flowers and berries as spring growth begins to appear.

* Knock off aphids with a strong blast of water or some bug soap as soon as they appear.

* Pull weeds now! Don’t let them get started. Take a hoe and whack them as soon as they sprout.

* Prepare summer vegetable beds. Spade in compost and other amendments.

* Prune and fertilize spring-flowering shrubs after bloom.

* Feed camellias at the end of their bloom cycle. Pick up browned and fallen flowers to help corral blossom blight.

* Feed citrus trees, which are now in bloom and setting fruit.

To prevent sunburn and borer problems on young trees, paint the exposed portion of the trunk with diluted white latex (water-based) interior paint. Dilute the paint with an equal amount of cold water before application.

* Cut back and fertilize perennial herbs to encourage new growth.

* Seed and renovate the lawn (if you still have one). Feed cool-season grasses such as bent, blue, rye and fescue with a slow-release fertilizer. Check the irrigation system and perform maintenance. Make sure sprinkler heads are turned toward the lawn, not the sidewalk.

* In the vegetable garden, transplant lettuce and kale.

* Seed chard and beets directly into the ground.

* Plant summer bulbs, including gladiolus, tuberous begonias and callas. Also plant dahlia tubers.

* Shop for perennials. Many varieties are available in local nurseries and at plant events. They can be transplanted now while the weather remains relatively cool.

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