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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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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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