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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: or call (530) 752-4880.

- Debbie Arrington


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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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