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SF Flower and Garden Show moves to Cal Expo

Renowned for its designer show gardens, the 2019 San Francisco Flower and Garden Show will be held at Cal Expo.
(Photo: Courtesy San Francisco Flower and Garden Show)
Sacramento will be new home to prestigious event March 21-24

One of San Francisco’s hallmark gardening events is moving to Cal Expo.

Renowned for its designer gardens and spectacular orchid market, the 2019 San Francisco Flower and Garden Show will be held at
Cal Expo on March 21-24. Tickets are on sale now.

A scheduling snafu at the Cow Palace in Daly City forced the prestigious show, now in its 34th  year, to scramble for a new home, explained show producer Sherry Larsen.

“They booked (an event for) Facebook on our dates,” said Larsen, who didn’t know about the scheduling conflict until late December. “I called Cal Expo and they had our weekend available.”

Larsen had previously produced garden shows at the Sacramento fairgrounds and jumped at the opportunity.

“I know the Sacramento market; it’s wonderful,” she said.

Sacramento patrons have been strong supporters of the San Francisco show, both in Daly City and its previous home in San Mateo, Larsen noted.

“Tracking our ticket sales, we saw 14 percent sold to people from just the city of Sacramento – not counting other Sacramento area cities -- at San Mateo,” she said. “They were willing to drive to San Mateo. Now, they just have to go to Cal Expo.”

Many of the show’s internationally known vendors will make the switch, she added. “With this late change, the show will be smaller; we lost a few designers that were embedded in the Bay Area. But we’ll fill the Pavilion (at Cal Expo).”

Sacramento area garden clubs are invited to participate, she noted. The show offers free space for garden clubs to staff information booths and recruit new members.

Volunteers also are needed to help staff the many exhibits as well as garden designers to compete in the garden showcase or create displays. Details and forms are available at

About 32,000 patrons attended last year’s San Francisco Flower and Garden Show at the Cow Palace, Larsen said. To help entice gardening enthusiasts to Cal Expo, the show dropped its ticket prices from $25 to $18 at the gate, $16 early bird. Currently, the show’s website offers a Valentine’s Day special: Two tickets for $30.

In addition to bringing in some horticultural all-stars, Larsen is drawing on local talent to fill the show’s four-day speaker schedule with almost nonstop seminars and workshops. Speakers will be announced later this month.

“We have three stages,” Larsen said. “That’s what your ticket price really pays for – all that expertise and information, from floral design to urban homesteading.”

Details and tickets: .


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Dig In: Garden Checklist

For week of Dec. 10:

Take advantage of these dry but crisp conditions. It’s time to get out the rake!

* Rake leaves away from storm drains and keep gutters clear.

* Fallen leaves can be used for mulch and compost. Chop up large leaves with a couple of passes with a lawn mower.

* Prune non-flowering trees and shrubs while they’re dormant. Without their foliage, trees are easier to prune.

* Rake and remove dead leaves and stems from dormant perennials.

* Make sure to take frost precautions with new transplants and sensitive plants. Mulch, water and cover tender plants in the late afternoon to retain warmth.

* Succulent plants are at particular risk if temperatures drop below freezing. Don’t water succulents before frost; cover instead. Use cloth sheets, not plastic. Make sure to remove coverings during the day.

* Clean and sharpen garden tools before storing for the winter.

* Brighten the holidays with winter bloomers such as poinsettias, amaryllis, calendulas, Iceland poppies, pansies and primroses.

* Keep poinsettias in a sunny, warm location. Water thoroughly. After the holidays, feed your plants monthly so they'll bloom again next December.

* Just because it rained doesn't mean every plant got watered. Give a drink to plants that the rain didn't reach, such as under eaves or under evergreen trees. Also, well-watered plants hold up better to frost than thirsty plants.

* Plant garlic (December's the last chance -- the ground is getting cold!) and onions for harvest in summer.

* Bare-root season begins. Plant bare-root berries, kiwifruit, grapes, artichokes, horseradish and rhubarb. Beware of soggy soil. It can rot bare-root plants.

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