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Celebrate green Sunday in a native plant garden

Patricia Carpenter opens her property for the Early Spring Ramble

The buckeye buds are opening and showing off their green at Patricia Carpenter's native plant garden, which will be available for strolling Sunday.

The buckeye buds are opening and showing off their green at Patricia Carpenter's native plant garden, which will be available for strolling Sunday. Courtesy Patricia Carpenter; photo by Beth Savidge

St. Patrick's Day plus awakening plants and springlike weather will add up to a celebration of green this Sunday at Patricia Carpenter's native plant garden in Yolo County.

The Seasonal Early Spring Ramble at Carpenter's 1-acre site, on Pierce Ranch Road west of Davis, is a free event, but registration is required. Sign up here; maps are available online. The property will be open for strolling and inspiration from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday, March 17. Registered visitors can stroll the garden any time during that period.

Carpenter is a California Native Plant Society Ambassador whose garden has taken shape over the past 19 years; it now features about 400 species and cultivars of California native plants.

Early spring highlights at the garden are expected to include plenty of blooms from wildflowers, as well as Ceanothus and Ribes species and cultivars. Spring maintenance chores, such as pruning, pest control and mulching, can be observed. Carpenter also reports that she has been collecting native plant seeds to share.

"The rain has been wonderful, but I am looking forward to a bit of sunshine!" she says.

A special guest during the day will be botanist Glen Holstein, who can tell about the new CNPS Yolo-Colusa Chapter. He also is a wildflower enthiusiast who enjoys helping visitors identify plants.

Carpenter herself will conduct an optional orientation and Q&A session at 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. Meet near the check-in table.

Visitors are welcome to bring a snack or lunch to enjoy during the day.  Also note:

-- Sturdy shoes are advised.

-- A composting toilet is available.

-- No dogs are allowed.

Carpenter's non-native garden also will be open for visiting.

To read more about the native garden, see a map and view a plant list, visit her CNPS Ambassador profile page here.


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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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