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International rose expert returns to Sacramento

Stephen Scanniello explains pruning techniques while entertaining rose fans at the Historic
City Cemetery in 2019. He'll be back in the area starting Thursday.
Scanniello leads two pruning workshops Saturday, presents preservation talk Thursday

He’s back! World-renowned rose expert Stephen Scanniello returns to Sacramento this week to inspire local rose lovers and share some of his vast knowledge.

On Saturday, Jan. 11, he’ll lead two pruning demonstrations at Sacramento’s Historic City Cemetery heritage rose garden. He’ll also make a free presentation about his preservation work at 7:30 p.m. Thursday (Jan. 9) to the Sacramento Rose Society at the Shepard Garden and Arts Center in McKinley Park. On Friday, he plans to visit the Woodland Public Library’s rose garden.

President of the Heritage Rose Foundation, Scanniello is a leader in preservation efforts around the globe. Curator of the New York Botanical Garden’s Peggy Rockefeller Rose Garden, he also is in charge of the revival of Connecticut’s Elizabeth Park, the nation’s oldest public rose garden. He’s written several books as well as created scores of gardens for private clients.

The cemetery garden is what brings Scanniello west each winter.

“This is my fifth trip to prune at the cemetery,” he said by phone from his New Jersey home. “It’s a working weekend. I’m looking forward to it.”

Scanniello adores the cemetery rose garden, a living library of about 500 antique and old garden roses – many found nowhere else.

“I think it’s one of the most interesting rose gardens and collections of roses in the world,” he said. “There’s not anything like it on the East Coast. To me, it’s incredibly refreshing to see these roses growing in what appears to be a safe place.

“It’s an amazing collection, a real treasure,” he added. “Roses grow so perfectly in Sacramento. They don’t have the disease issues we have (on the East Coast). They don’t have to contend with winter weather like we do. … Letting roses grow to their full capacity is wonderful to see.”

No reservations are necessary to attend Thursday’s talk at Shepard Center; the public is invited to attend. The center is located at 3330 McKinley Blvd., Sacramento.

For Saturday’s pruning events at the cemetery, attendees should get tickets ($10 donation) in advance. At 9 a.m., Scanniello will show how to prune large climbers – including some of the cemetery’s giants. At 1 p.m., he’ll tackle shrub roses. The cemetery is located at 1000 Broadway, Sacramento.

Tickets and details: .


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Dig In: Garden Checklist

For week of March 19:

Spring will start a bit soggy, but there’s still plenty to do between showers:

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

* Watch out for aphids. Wash off plants with strong blast from the hose.

* 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 fight blossom blight.

* Feed citrus trees as they start to blossom.

* 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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