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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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Garden Checklist for week of July 14

Take advantage of this break in the heat. Your garden needs you!

* Keep your vegetable garden watered, mulched and weeded. Water before 8 a.m. to reduce the chance of fungal infection and to conserve moisture.

* Feed vegetable plants bone meal, rock phosphate or other fertilizers high in phosphate to stimulate more blooms and fruiting. (But wait until daily high temperatures drop out of the 100s.)

* Don’t let tomatoes wilt or dry out completely. Give tomatoes a deep watering two to three times a week.

* Harvest vegetables promptly to encourage plants to produce more. Squash especially tends to grow rapidly in hot weather. Keep an eye on zucchini.

* Pinch back chrysanthemums for bushy plants and more flowers in September.

* Remove spent flowers from roses, daylilies and other bloomers as they finish flowering.

* Pinch off blooms from basil so the plant will grow more leaves.

* Cut back lavender after flowering to promote a second bloom.

* It's not too late to add a splash of color. Plant petunias, snapdragons, zinnias and marigolds.

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

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