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Learn new garden skills in cool indoors

This is a kokedama, a hanging plant in a soil ball covered with moss.
Learn the technique
at a July 14 workshop. (Photo courtesy The Secret Garden)

The Secret Garden hosts summer workshops including kokedama, terrariums

Learning a new skill is fun. Combine that with gardening and you can count on more enjoyment to come.

The Secret Garden in Elk Grove offers a summer full of workshops for both beginning and experienced gardeners. Mindful of the summer heat, these workshops will focus on indoor gardening fun.

* Thursday, June 27, learn how to create a closed terrarium. This course ($45) includes an 8-inch-tall glass container with lid, rocks, soil and plants. Crystals, geodes and miniature accessories will be available at a discount. Take home your planted terrarium along with the skills to create more.

This 6 p.m. workshop is part of Secret Garden’s “Thirsty Thursday” series. Bring the beverage of your choice (including wine, cider, beer or non-alcoholic refreshment) for personal consumption. Light appetizers will be served.

* Next in the Thirsty Thursday series will be houseplant propagation. Set for 6 p.m. Thursday, July 18, that class ($35) will cover the basics of how to create more plants via cuttings. Learn how and when to make cuttings, keys to success as well as common mistakes. Participants will make their own hanging rooter as well as receive two cuttings to take home.

* Not into planting? How about painting? Local muralist Macy Martinez, whose work is seen by thousands each summer at Music Circus productions, will lead a class in how to paint succulents. Participants will learn her techniques for capturing these sculptured plants on canvas as well as tips for creating outdoor garden art. Each attendee will paint their own 12-inch all-weather artpiece to take home. This course ($59) is set for 10:30 a.m. Saturday, July 13. Fee includes all materials plus coffee, tea and doughnuts.

* Learn the secrets of kokedama, the Japanese technique of hanging (and living) arrangements. In kokedama, a soil ball covered with moss hangs from a string and is planted with ornamental or tropical plants such as ferns. This unusual method for hanging plants is popular in Japanese gardens and catching on rapidly with California gardeners, too. Set for 10 a.m. Sunday, July 14, this two-hour workshop ($45) includes the makings for two kokedama gardens including plants, soil, moss and string. Prepare to get messy! (It’s not as easy as it looks to get that soil ball on a string and covered with moss.)

Registration is now open for all of these workshops. Sign up early; space is limited. The Secret Garden is located at 8450 West Stockton Blvd., Elk Grove.

Details and registration: or call 916-682-6839 .


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Dig In: Garden Checklist

For week of June 4:

Because of the comfortable weather, it’s not too late to set out tomato and pepper seedlings as well as squash and melon plants. They’ll appreciate this not-too-hot weather. Just remember to water.

* From seed, plant corn, pumpkins, radishes, melons, squash and sunflowers.

* Plant basil to go with your tomatoes.

* Transplant summer annuals such as petunias, marigolds and zinnias.

* It’s also a good time to transplant perennial flowers including astilbe, columbine, coneflowers, coreopsis, dahlias, rudbeckia, salvia and verbena.

* Let the grass grow longer. Set the mower blades high to reduce stress on your lawn during summer heat. To cut down on evaporation, water your lawn deeply during the wee hours of the morning, between 2 and 8 a.m.

* Tie up vines and stake tall plants such as gladiolus and lilies. That gives their heavy flowers some support.

* Dig and divide crowded bulbs after the tops have died down.

* Feed summer flowers with a slow-release fertilizer.

* Mulch, mulch, mulch! This “blanket” keeps moisture in the soil longer and helps your plants cope during hot weather.

* Thin grapes on the vine for bigger, better clusters later this summer.

* Cut back fruit-bearing canes on berries.

* Feed camellias, azaleas and other acid-loving plants.

* Trim off dead flowers from rose bushes to keep them blooming through the summer. Roses also benefit from deep watering and feeding now. A top dressing of aged compost will keep them happy. It feeds as well as keeps roots moist.

* Pinch back chrysanthemums for bushier plants with many more flowers in September.

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