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Give Dad a mosquito eater for Father's Day

Pitcher plants produce fascinating flowers. See many unusual species at the show this weekend. (Photos: Debbie Arrington)

Sacramento Bromeliad and Carnivorous Plant Show and Sale this weekend

Would Dad like a bug eater?

One of Sacramento’s most popular and family-friendly garden events has moved from its traditional dates in late July to this weekend – just in time for Father’s Day.

From 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, the Sacramento Bromeliad and Carnivorous Plant Society will present its 49th annual show and sale at Shepard Garden and Arts Center, 3330 McKinley Blvd., Sacramento. Find hundreds of unusual and rare exotic plants on display and for sale. Admission and parking are free.

“(Our show) was always the last weekend in July – and hotter than hell,” said Eric Trygg, past president. “That’s wildfire season and, the last couple of years, there was so much smoke in the air, people were told to stay inside. That’s also the last weekend of the State Fair, so we had that conflict, too.”

Not that June is much cooler than July – as we’ve seen this past week with triple-digit heat. But society members hope to get a break in the weather (weekend temperatures are forecast in the low 90s) as well as a bump from Father’s Day.

“We have spectacular plants for our sale,” Trygg said. “They make great gifts.”

Carnivorous plants are especially popular with kids, he added.

Pitcher plants can be grown outdoors in Sacramento.
“There’s a mystique about these plants,” Trygg said. “They’re beautiful; they’re weird. People think of Venus flytraps, but there are actually more than 650 varieties of carnivorous plants including some native to California.”

And yes, pitcher plants and cobra lilies will eat mosquitoes (and any other insects that come their way).

“They’ll eat anything they can catch,” Trygg said. “They’re pigs. You never have to feed them; they feed themselves.”

Besides a huge selection of bug eaters, the society’s sale also features an amazing assortment of bromeliads. These tropical plants are known for their striking foliage in rainbow hues.

“People come in for the carnivorous plants, but they get hooked on the bromeliads,” Trygg said. “They keep coming back for more.”

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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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