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Learn how to make your garden 'pop'

Horticulturist Ryan Deering explains some planting basics during a UC Davis Arboretum tour. He'll lead the next "Learn & Shop" event, focusing on how to achieve garden impact. (Photo: UC Davis Arboretum)
Arboretum offers quick course in use of shape, texture

What makes a landscape “pop”? Contrast.

That’s easier said than done. Contrast in the garden blends different plants with various growing traits – tall, short, round, angular, spiky, soft, etc. -- in a way that shows them off to their best advantage.

With the right balance, that contrast also pleases people by adding visual interest to a garden year round.

How do you achieve that balance? Learn from the experts at the UC Davis Arboretum in a special class, “Shape and Texture for Garden Impact,” set for 10 a.m. Feb. 13 at the Arboretum Teaching Nursery.

This two-hour course is only open to Friends of the UC Davis Arboretum and Public Gardens. Fortunately, attendees can sign up for membership at the same time as registration for the class – and get a $10 free plant coupon as a bonus.

That coupon will come in handy immediately. This is one of the arboretum’s “Learn & Shop” events. At the end of the class, attendees enjoy a private sale at the arboretum’s nursery and their choice of thousands of water-wise plants.

Staff horticulturist Ryan Deering will lead the class on a guided walking tour through the arboretum’s West End gardens to show how a variety of plants makes the greatest visual impact. He’ll offer his suggestions of different plants for various garden situations as well as some of his favorite pairings.

Then, it’s back to the nursery for a chance to take home some of those unusual plants featured on the tour and browse without a crowd.

Registration is open now and the class is expected to sell out quickly. Fee is $24 for Friends, $36 with a reserved parking space in the nursery’s lot. Additional parking ($9) is available in the campus lots.

The Arboretum Teaching Nursery is located on Garrod Drive near the small animal veterinary hospital. For more details and registration: .

- 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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