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Busy garden event weekend across the region

Expect plant lovers to turn out for the UC Davis Arboretum Nursery spring clearance sale. (Photo: Kathy Morrison)

Master gardeners' Open Garden, a big Arboretum plant sale and a Placer County tour add to crowded calendar

If you haven't made plans yet for this weekend, garden fans, we have even more possibilities for you. Debbie's already written about
Bloomtastic in Newcastle and the David Lubin garden tour in East Sacramento, not to mention the Chrysanthemum Society's rooted-cuttings sale .

Yes, there's more, because it's May and the weather is perfect and we are all so happy to be outside.

In Fair Oaks on Saturday, from 9 a.m. to noon, the Sacramento County UCCE master gardeners will fully staff their Horticulture Center for the May Open Garden event. This free, informal event is a great opportunity to ask the experts questions on just about any gardening topic, and to see firsthand how the several garden sites in the Horticulture Center are progressing as spring edges toward summer.

At 10 a.m. a straw-bale gardening demonstration will be held in the vegetable garden. Last year, master gardener Gail Pothour and her crew planted sweet potatoes in the bales and grew a bumper crop. It will be fun to see what the bales will produce this year.

Also, a mini talk at 10:30 a.m. in the Water Efficient Landscape (WEL) Garden will cover container gardening, important especially for gardeners with limited space.

In February, the Horticulture Center's All-America Selections display garden
was all about greens. The spring vegetable garden should be well under way;
check it out at the Open Garden this weekend. (Photo: Kathy Morrison)
Otherwise, there will be ongoing demos and activities including fruit tree planting ideas, in the orchard;  spring planting and grooming beds for summer growth, in the herb garden; irrigation, in the WEL Garden;  tips on keeping birds off berries, in the berry area; planning for warm-season crops, in the vegetable garden; canopy management, in the vineyard, and information on compost bins, in the compost area.

The Horticulture Center is at 11549 Fair Oaks Blvd., Fair Oaks, just south of the Fair Oaks Library.

Across the causeway, the big spring plant clearance sale gets under way at 9 a.m. Saturday at the UC Davis Arboretum Teaching Nursery. The one-acre nursery will cut prices 25 percent for Arboretum members and 15 percent for the public. If you've been looking for California native plants, perennials, shrubs or even trees to fill out your landscape, this is the place.

The nursery sales also are staffed with master gardeners, who can answer questions and make recommendations. Children's activities and music are part of the event, too, making it an excellent family outing for plant lovers. The sale runs until 1 p.m. A link on their website leads to the complete list of plants on sale.

Another family event, a Mother's Day garden tour, takes place 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday in Granite Bay, Loomis and Rocklin. This is an annual event presented by the Placer County master gardeners, and, like the East Sacramento tour, it offers a rare peek at impressive private gardens.

Tickets are $20 per person; children under 12 admitted free. Tickets are available in advance at Eisley Nursery in Auburn, and the Rocklin and Roseville locations of Green Acres Nursery and Supply. Information:


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Garden Checklist for week of July 7

Take care of garden chores early in the morning, concentrating on watering. We’re still in survival mode until this heat wave breaks.

* Keep your vegetable garden watered, mulched and weeded. Water before 8 a.m. to conserve moisture.

* Prevent sunburn; provide temporary shade for tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, melons, squash and other crops with “sensitive” skin.

* Hold off on feeding plants until temperatures cool back down to “normal” range. That means daytime highs in the low to mid 90s.

* 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.

* Some weeds thrive in hot weather. Whack them before they go to seed.

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

* Harvest tomatoes, squash, peppers and eggplant. Prompt picking will help keep plants producing.

* 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.

* One good thing about hot days: Most lawns stop growing when temperatures top 95 degrees. Keep mower blades set on high.

* Once the weather cools down a little, it’s not too late to add a splash of color. Plant petunias, snapdragons, zinnias and marigolds.

* After the heat wave, plant corn, pumpkins, radishes, winter squash and sunflowers. Make sure the seeds stay hydrated.

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