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McKinley Park hosts annual 'Prunathon'

Volunteers prune McKinley Park roses during a previous Prunathon. (Photos: Debbie Arrington)
Volunteers needed to finish pruning 1,200 roses

It's time to pull out the shears and get to work! The prunathon is back!

Starting at 9 a.m. Saturday, Jan. 5, volunteers will finish pruning the historic McKinley Park Memorial Rose Garden. This is no small job. The world-famous garden features more than 1,200 full-size roses.

Many hands make quick work; the garden is usually finished before noon.

Volunteers tackle pruning the McKinley Park Memorial Rose Garden, which
includes about 1,200 bushes.
Hosted by Friends of East Sacramento, this free event annually attracts scores of volunteers, who swarm over the rose beds in groups. Each informal team is led by a gardener with rose-pruning experience, including several members of the Sacramento Rose Society.

Dave Coop, the society's president, will lead a hands-on rose care and pruning workshop at the start of the prunathon. No prior pruning experience necessary.

According to rose garden volunteer coordinator Lyn Pitts, volunteers took advantage of recent clear weather to get a jump on the McKinley roses. About half are already pruned. That still leaves hundreds that need attention Saturday.

Refreshments (including hot beverages) will be served. Bring thick gloves and pruners (preferably bypass pruners). Other tools will be available. Dress in layers; the morning will start cold.

Located on H Street near 33rd Street, the McKinley Park Memorial Rose Garden is regarded among the prettiest and most romantic gardens in Sacramento. A favorite site for weddings, it was featured in the 2017 hit movie "Lady Bird."

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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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