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'Rock star of roses' returns to Sacramento

Heritage rose expert Scanniello at three local events

Always entertaining as well as informative,
Stephen Scanniello will lead two workshops at the Historic City Cemetery.
(Photo: Courtesy Judy Eitzen)

Stephen Scanniello, the “rock star of roses,” returns to Sacramento for three events this week.

Probably the nation’s most famous heritage rose expert, Scanniello will be the guest speaker at the Sacramento Rose Society’s January meeting, 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Jan.10, at the Shepard Garden and Arts Center, 3330 McKinley Blvd., Sacramento. His presentation is free and open to the public.

Roses brought friendships as well as opportunities for Scanniello, president of the Heritage Rose Foundation and curator of the New York Botanical Garden’s Peggy Rockefeller Rose Garden. He’s created gardens for New York’s rich and famous. Among his rose friends is the original Mary Poppins, Julie Andrews. He’ll share stories about how those rosy relationships grew.

Scanniello currently is leading efforts to restore the garden of Alexander Hamilton’s Harlem home and Elizabeth Park, the nation’s oldest public rose garden in Hartford, Conn. He has lots of entertaining stories about those projects, too.

Saturday, Scanniello will lead two pruning demonstrations at the Historic City Cemetery’s heritage rose garden, the main reason Scanniello has become a frequent Sacramento visitor. Based in New Jersey, he’s made pruning the cemetery’s world famous roses an annual pilgrimage.

At 9 a.m., Scanniello will lead a workshop on how to prune climbing roses, using the cemetery collection as hands-on examples. Scanniello literally wrote the book on this subject; he’s the author of “Climbing Roses” and five other books.

At 1 p.m., Scanniello turns his attention to pruning heritage roses, including the cemetery’s many Victorian rarities. Known for their intense fragrance as well as bountiful blooms, these old garden roses need special attention. This expert will share how he treats these unusual bushes to bring out their best.

Suggested donation for each workshop is $10 with proceeds supporting the cemetery garden. Wear sensible shoes; paths can be slippery.

Street parking is available near the cemetery, located at 1000 Broadway, Sacramento. For details: .

- Debbie Arrington


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Garden Checklist for week of April 14

It's still not warm enough to transplant tomatoes directly in the ground, but we’re getting there.

* 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 needs nutrients. Fertilize 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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