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Cool it on a garden tour, then check in on the sun


The Japanese garden is one of 16 sites within the Sherwood Demonstration
Garden in Placerville. (Photo courtesy UCCE El Dorado master gardeners)
Two weekend events in Placerville promise family fun

There are many cool places to hang out this weekend but one of the coolest for gardeners is the Sherwood Demonstration Garden in Placerville. And this Saturday morning you can get a guided tour of the place for free. Stick around after that tour and visit the Community Observatory for a free viewing of our garden pal, the sun.

The demonstration garden is a production of El Dorado County's UCCE master gardeners. Both events are at the El Dorado Center of Folsom Lake College, 6699 Campus Drive, Placerville.

The garden tour starts promptly at 9:15 a.m. Saturday, July 6, is one hour long and is open to individuals and small groups. Participants should arrive 10 minutes early. No reservations are required and no fee is charged, though the $2 college parking fee applies. (Exact change is required.) No dogs are allowed in the garden.

Master Gardener Sue McDavid will lead the group through the 16 individual demonstration gardens that showcase the growing conditions and microclimates of western El Dorado County. The plants all are sustainably grown for the gardens, which range from a rose garden to a rock garden. An orchard, a marsh and a native plants garden also are part of the site. Information:
http://mgeldorado.ucanr.edu/Demonstration_Garden

The Community Observatory will be open from 10 a.m. to 11:59 a.m. The observatory volunteers will show the sun through their safe solar telescopes, viewing both white light and hydrogen-alpha. Viewers will be able to see sunspots, prominences and maybe even a flare, they say.

Can't make the sun viewing? The observatory will also have night sky viewing at 8:30 p.m. this Saturday and Sunday. For more information: www.communityobservatory.com

-- Kathy Morrison

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Dig In: Garden Checklist for week of April 7

The warm wave coming this week will shift weeds into overdrive. Get to work!

* Weed, weed, weed! Whack them before they flower.

* Mulch around plants to conserve moisture and control weeds.

* 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.

* 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. April is about the last chance to plant summer bulbs, such as gladiolus and tuberous begonias.

* Transplant lettuce and cabbage seedlings.

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