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'Amazing Acacias' ready to put on show


Acacias produce masses of bright yellow blooms in late winter. See the collection at UC Davis on Saturday.
(Photo: Courtesy UC Davis Arboretum)
UC Davis Arboretum tour showcases unusual trees, shrubs

In late February, the
Eric E. Conn Acacia Grove offers one of the prettiest walks on the UC Davis campus. Near Putah Creek, bright yellow acacia blossoms cover trees and shrubs big and small, creating a memorable spectacle.

See those trees in their late winter glory during a free guided tour, presented by the UC Davis Arboretum. At 2 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 23, “Amazing Acacias” will explore the grove and more than 50 species of acacias.

Native to Australia, Africa and parts of the Americas, acacias produce masses of fuzzy and fragrant blooms. Leaves of thorny varieties from Africa are the favorite food of giraffes. Nicknamed wattles, thornless acacias come from Australia. America’s best known acacia is the Hawaiian koa tree

The Conn Collection focuses on species that can survive cold as well as heat. These versatile, low-maintenance evergreen trees and shrubs also are remarkably drought tolerant and well adapted to the Sacramento landscape. Snowy River wattle ( Acacia boormanii ) earned distinction as an Arboretum All-Star and is offered in the arboretum’s spring sales.

For the acacia tour, meet at Putah Lodge. Parking is free on weekends and available in Visitor Lot 55. Wear comfortable shoes for this 90-minute walking tour.

Details: arboretum.ucdavis.edu or call (530) 752-4880.

- Debbie Arrington

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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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