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Take a holiday home tour -- and help a cause

Inspirational decorations fill each stop of  El Dorado
Homes for the Holidays tours. (Photo courtesy
Assistance League of Sierra Foothills.)

Rain or shine, these tours spark inspiration

A little (or a lot) of rain can’t dampen this holiday spirit.

Two major holiday home tours will be held this weekend, boosting the greater Sacramento area’s seasonal spirit.

Today patrons were already out walking the streets of Sacramento’s Fabulous Forties during the 46th annual Sacred Heart Holiday Home Tour. One of the largest events of its kind in our area, this tour regularly attracts more than 5,000 people, who stroll through the grand neighborhood to see five homes decked out in holiday splendor.

This isn’t the first time there’s been rain on this neighborhood parade. Preparations include contingencies for rain, umbrellas and wet feet. Refreshments (including some warm beverages) will be offered at the Sacred Heart Parish School, which also will host a huge boutique of locally sourced products and a Champagne Bar. (Admission to the boutique is free.)

The Sacred Heart Tour continues 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 7, and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 8. Tickets ($30) are available at , Sacred Heart School, 856 39th St., and the first home on the tour, 1370 46th St. Proceeds support programs and scholarships to Sacred Heart.

In El Dorado Hills, Homes for the Holidays celebrates its 10th year on Dec. 7 and 8. Hosted by the Assistance League of Sierra Foothills, this popular tour raises funds for disadvantaged and homeless children and families. Spectacular homes are decked out in equally eye-popping style, inspiring many a holiday decorating project. In addition, this tour offers a raffle with outrageous prizes and a boutique of handmade gifts.

Tour hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday. Tickets ($25 for adults, $10 for children) are available at .


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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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