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These hardy orchids thrive outdoors in Sacramento

Sacramento Valley Cymbidium Society hosts annual show and sale

See the best of the best local cymbidiums at the annual show and sale of the Sacramento Valley Cymbidium Society this Saturday.

See the best of the best local cymbidiums at the annual show and sale of the Sacramento Valley Cymbidium Society this Saturday. Courtesy Sacramento Valley Cymbidium Society

After camellias come cymbidiums – maybe Sacramento’s second favorite March bloomer. These hardy outdoor orchids are just coming into spectacular flower, and they last for weeks.

If you love cymbidiums, you’re in luck. Saturday, March 23, the Sacramento Valley Cymbidium Society is hosting its annual show and sale at Shepard Garden and Arts Center.

The show is a chance to see the best of the best local cymbidiums, displayed by club members. If you want to take some plants home, arrive early: The club will offer more than 75 plants – 50-plus standard-size cymbidiums and 25 miniatures, priced at $30 to $75.

But club members expect them to sell out quickly. That’s what happened when they brought 75 plants to the Shepard Spring Sale this past weekend.

“We had such an amazing response on Saturday (March 16) at the Shepard Sale,” the club posted on Facebook. They sold all but one miniature on this first day of the two-day event.

Fortunately, they’re restocked with new plants for the March 23 sale. These plants were grown by a family-run nursery in San Diego County that specializes in cymbidiums, Casa de las Orquideas.

Club members also will offer advice on how to repot cymbidium orchids and how to care for them. They don’t need much: A spot in the afternoon shade and sufficient irrigation.

Cymbidiums, also known as boat orchids, bloom in massive clusters on 3-foot-tall spikes. With a little protection against frost, these orchids thrive in Sacramento’s mild climate. It’s exposure to temperatures below 55 degrees in winter that prompts all those flowers.

See for yourself on Saturday. Show hours are 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Admission and parking are free.

The Shepard Center is located at 3330 McKinley Blvd., Sacramento, in McKinley Park.

For more details:, or email


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Garden Checklist for week of April 21

This week there’s plenty to keep gardeners busy. With no rain in the immediate forecast, remember to irrigate any new transplants.

* Weed, weed, weed! Get them before they flower and go to seed.

* April is the last chance to plant citrus trees such as dwarf orange, lemon and kumquat. These trees also look good in landscaping and provide fresh fruit in winter.

* Smell orange blossoms? Feed citrus trees with a low dose of balanced fertilizer (such as 10-10-10) during bloom to help set fruit. Keep an eye out for ants.

* Apply slow-release fertilizer to the lawn.

* Thoroughly clean debris from the bottom of outdoor ponds or fountains.

* Spring brings a flush of rapid growth, and that means your garden is really hungry. Feed shrubs and trees with a slow-release fertilizer. Or mulch with a 1-inch layer of compost.

* Azaleas and camellias looking a little yellow? If leaves are turning yellow between the veins, give them a boost with chelated iron.

* Trim dead flowers but not leaves from spring-flowering bulbs such as daffodils and tulips. Those leaves gather energy to create next year's flowers. Also, give the bulbs a fertilizer boost after bloom.

* Pinch chrysanthemums back to 12 inches for fall flowers. Cut old stems to the ground.

* Mulch around plants to conserve moisture and control weeds.

* From seed, plant beans, beets, cantaloupes, carrots, corn, cucumbers, melons, radishes and squash.

* Plant onion sets.

* In the flower garden, plant seeds for asters, cosmos, celosia, marigolds, salvia, sunflowers and zinnias.

* Transplant petunias, zinnias, geraniums and other summer bloomers.

* Plant perennials and dahlia tubers for summer bloom.

* Mid to late April is about the last chance to plant summer bulbs, such as gladiolus and tuberous begonias.

* Transplant lettuce seedlings. Choose varieties that mature quickly such as loose leaf.

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