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Stock up now on native plants

'Howard McMinn' manzanita is an adaptable native shrub that tolerates clay soil. It will be among the plants for sale Sunday. (Photo courtesy Sac Valley Chapter, CNPS)

Sac Valley CNPS hosts annual fall sale and art market

It’s time to go native! Find a huge selection of tough and beautiful California native plants at Saturday’s annual Fall Native Plant Sale and Art Market at Shepard Garden and Arts Center in McKinley Park.

For one day only, the Sacramento Valley Chapter of the California Native Plant Society will host this event, set for 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 21.

The nursery stock offered for sale was grown locally by Cornflower Farms in Elk Grove, Elderberry Farms in Rancho Cordova and Hedgerow Farms in Winters.

Expect to find a lot of unusual varieties, ready to plant now. Elderberry Farms, which is run entirely by CNPS volunteers, plans to bring more than 110 native plant varieties including 10 different bulb species. Both showy and narrowleaf milkweed, a favorite of monarch butterflies, will be offered.

Elderberry Farms nursery director Chris Lewis, who also is coordinating the sale, listed a few of the varieties that will be available:

Manzanita: Whiteleaf, Dr. Hurd, John Dourley, Pacific Mist, Emerald Carpet, Howard McMinn and Carmel Sur.
California lilac (Ceanothus): Anchor Bay, Owlswood Blue, Yankee Point, Valley Violet, Skylark and Ceanothus cuneatus (buckbrush)
Buckwheat: Red, California and St. Catherine’s Lace.

September and October offer ideal planting weather for these California natives. Mild autumn weather gives them a chance to put down strong roots and get a head start on becoming “established,” a key factor in surviving future droughts.

A lot more than plants will be available at this event. Among the other featured vendors will be Wild Jules seed balls, ceramic artist Julie Clements of Clay Pigeon Ceramics and the artists of Coyote Brush Studios.


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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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