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Coronavirus concerns cancel 36th annual SF Flower Show

Designer gardens are a big attraction at the San Francisco/Northern California Flower and Garden Show. Those displays will have to wait until 2021 after Tuesday's cancellation. (Photo courtesy Cal State Shows)
Set for Cal Expo, huge NorCal event will wait until 2021

Coronavirus fears canceled a top event on Northern California’s gardening calendar.

Less than a month before its scheduled Cal Expo return, the
36th annual San Francisco/Northern California Flower and Garden Show will not go on, said producer Sherry Larsen.

“Look at our demographics; many of our patrons are in the vulnerable group,” she said. “Exhibitors are traveling from as far away as Maine. We’ve got three weeks to go. We don’t know where we’ll be at that time. We had to look at the potential impact.”

Larsen officially made the call Tuesday, informing her vendors and exhibitors of their options. One of Northern California’s largest events of its kind, the show expected to fill four buildings on the State fairgrounds. Set for April 2 through 5, it was making its second appearance at Cal Expo.

After nearly a year of planning for the April show , the cancellation happened rather quickly.

“One major group pulled out and that heavily impacted us,” Larsen said. “They had a 30- by 100-foot (demonstration) garden, an after-hours event and were host of a stage.

“We got calls from gardening groups,” she added. “Many members wouldn’t volunteer; they were afraid to be with the public. It’s true concern. Who knows what will happen?”

Instead of requesting refunds, most participants are choosing to roll over their reservations until next year, Larsen said. “Right now, we’re getting a real good response. Everybody says, ‘We’re there next year!’

“Everything will be OK,” Larsen said. “I’m excited – I’ve got another year to promote.”

More updates and details: .


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Garden Checklist for week of April 21

This week there’s plenty to keep gardeners busy. With no rain in the immediate forecast, remember to irrigate any new transplants.

* Weed, weed, weed! Get them before they flower and go to seed.

* April is the last chance to plant citrus trees such as dwarf orange, lemon and kumquat. These trees also look good in landscaping and provide fresh fruit in winter.

* Smell orange blossoms? Feed citrus trees with a low dose of balanced fertilizer (such as 10-10-10) during bloom to help set fruit. Keep an eye out for ants.

* Apply slow-release fertilizer to the lawn.

* Thoroughly clean debris from the bottom of outdoor ponds or fountains.

* Spring brings a flush of rapid growth, and that means your garden is really hungry. Feed shrubs and trees with a slow-release fertilizer. Or mulch with a 1-inch layer of compost.

* Azaleas and camellias looking a little yellow? If leaves are turning yellow between the veins, give them a boost with chelated iron.

* Trim dead flowers but not leaves from spring-flowering bulbs such as daffodils and tulips. Those leaves gather energy to create next year's flowers. Also, give the bulbs a fertilizer boost after bloom.

* Pinch chrysanthemums back to 12 inches for fall flowers. Cut old stems to the ground.

* Mulch around plants to conserve moisture and control weeds.

* From seed, plant beans, beets, cantaloupes, carrots, corn, cucumbers, melons, radishes and squash.

* Plant onion sets.

* In the flower garden, plant seeds for asters, cosmos, celosia, marigolds, salvia, sunflowers and zinnias.

* Transplant petunias, zinnias, geraniums and other summer bloomers.

* Plant perennials and dahlia tubers for summer bloom.

* Mid to late April is about the last chance to plant summer bulbs, such as gladiolus and tuberous begonias.

* Transplant lettuce seedlings. Choose varieties that mature quickly such as loose leaf.

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