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We're looking at a busy weekend

"Designing Dragonflies," a class to make this vase,
will be taught 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Friday by Brenda
during the Gourd and Fine Art Festival.
Foothills locations offer gourd festival, fair, garden tour

Made plans yet for the weekend? (Beyond tending your garden, of course.) You could head for the hills: Several sites in the foothills hold events with interest for gardeners:

-- The 2019 Gourd and Fine Art Festival will be held at the Amador Flower Farm & Nursery. The event features classes, vendors, demonstrations, food trucks and the California Gourd Society competition.  The classes are on Friday, Saturday or Sunday, and as of this morning four of the six still had seats left; go to to check on availability. The Saturday and Sunday events run from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Admission is free. The Amador Flower Farm & Nursery is at 22001 Shenandoah School Road in Plymouth.

-- The Sherwood Demonstration Garden, an amazing site tended by the UCCE El Dorado County master gardeners, offers its free monthly tour Saturday at 9 a.m. sharp. The garden has 16 different areas, from rose garden to rock garden, with flowers, shrubs and trees that do well in the Placerville-area climate. Stick around after the tour and visit the Community Observatory next to the garden. From 10 a.m. to noon, the Hydrogen-Alpha telescopes will be set up to allow visitors to safely view sunspots, solar flares, filaments, and solar prominences. $2 parking (exact change required) seven days a week. Folsom Lake College El Dorado Center, 6699 Campus Drive, Placerville.

-- For a traditional agriculture experience, visit the Gold Country Fair, starting today at the fairgrounds in Auburn and running through Sunday. Lovers of hot peppers may want to note the Pepper Eating Contest at noon Saturday. The fairgrounds are at 1273 High St., Auburn. Parking is $6. For more fair info and tickets, go to

There are other weekend activities we've posted about earlier, but here are reminders. (Click on the link to read the post):

-- The Rose Propagation Workshop is 9:30 a.m. Saturday at the Historic City Cemetery, Sacramento.

-- Rebecca Plumb talks houseplants and design at Green Acres in Rocklin at 10 a.m. Saturday.

-- The American Begonia Society Convention will be in full swing from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday at the Crowne Plaza Hotel Sacramento Northeast.

-- Kathy Morrison


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Garden Checklist for week of April 14

It's still not warm enough to transplant tomatoes directly in the ground, but we’re getting there.

* 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 needs nutrients. Fertilize 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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