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See rainbow of irises at this Sacramento show

Bearded irises come in all sorts of colors, even bronze. See hundreds of examples at the Sacramento Iris Show.
(Photo: Debbie Arrington)
These colorful flowers are easy care, drought tolerant and spectacular

Irises may be spring’s most colorful flower. Bearded irises come in virtually every rainbow hue (even blue) and countless combinations.

See for yourself during the 69th annual Sacramento Iris Show this weekend in McKinley Park. This year’s theme -- “Goddess of the Rainbow” – fits the flower’s incredible variety as well as the origin of its name. In Greek mythology, Iris was the personification of a rainbow and a messenger from the gods.

This spring, bearded iris blooms have been plentiful in Sacramento, enjoying the cooler temperatures and abundant rain. This tough and easy-care perennial also can cope with Sacramento’s hot summers and years of drought, making it a versatile choice for local landscapes.

During the show, Shepard Garden and Arts Center will be packed with iris blooms at their best. Longtime growers and members of the Sacramento Iris Society will offer expert advice on how to get irises to rebloom spring after spring; some varieties repeat bloom in fall, too. Dozens of unusual irises will be offered for sale.

Admission and parking are free. Hours are 1 to 5 p.m. Saturday, April 20, and 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday, April 21. Shepard Center is located at 3330 McKinley Blvd., Sacramento.


For folks who can’t get enough irises, the National Iris Convention will be held April 22-28 in San Ramon. Tours during the convention include gardens In Loomis and Elk Grove.

Details and registration:


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Dig In: Garden Checklist

For week of March 26:

Sacramento can expect another inch of rain from this latest storm. Leave the sprinklers off at least another week. Temps will dip down into the low 30s early in the week, so avoid planting tender seedlings (such as tomatoes). Concentrate on these tasks before or after this week’s rain:

* Fertilize roses, annual flowers and berries as spring growth begins to appear.

* Knock off aphids with a strong blast of water or some bug soap as soon as they appear.

* Pull weeds now! Don’t let them get started. Take a hoe and whack them as soon as they sprout.

* Prepare summer vegetable beds. Spade in compost and other amendments.

* Prune and fertilize spring-flowering shrubs after bloom.

* Feed camellias at the end of their bloom cycle. Pick up browned and fallen flowers to help corral blossom blight.

* Feed citrus trees, which are now in bloom and setting fruit.

To prevent sunburn and borer problems on young trees, paint the exposed portion of the trunk with diluted white latex (water-based) interior paint. Dilute the paint with an equal amount of cold water before application.

* Cut back and fertilize perennial herbs to encourage new growth.

* Seed and renovate the lawn (if you still have one). Feed cool-season grasses such as bent, blue, rye and fescue with a slow-release fertilizer. Check the irrigation system and perform maintenance. Make sure sprinkler heads are turned toward the lawn, not the sidewalk.

* In the vegetable garden, transplant lettuce and kale.

* Seed chard and beets directly into the ground.

* Plant summer bulbs, including gladiolus, tuberous begonias and callas. Also plant dahlia tubers.

* Shop for perennials. Many varieties are available in local nurseries and at plant events. They can be transplanted now while the weather remains relatively cool.

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