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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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Garden Checklist for week of May 19

Temperatures will be a bit higher than normal in the afternoons this week. Take care of chores early in the day – then enjoy the afternoon. It’s time to smell the roses.

* Plant, plant, plant! It’s prime planting season in the Sacramento area. If you haven’t already, it’s time to set out those tomato transplants along with peppers and eggplants. Pinch off any flowers on new transplants to make them concentrate on establishing roots instead of setting premature fruit.

* Direct-seed melons, cucumbers, summer squash, corn, radishes, pumpkins and annual herbs such as basil.

* Harvest cabbage, lettuce, peas and green onions.

* In the flower garden, direct-seed sunflowers, cosmos, salvia, zinnias, marigolds, celosia and asters.

* Plant dahlia tubers. Other perennials to set out include verbena, coreopsis, coneflower and astilbe.

* Transplant petunias, marigolds and perennial flowers such as astilbe, columbine, coneflowers, coreopsis, dahlias, rudbeckia and verbena.

* Keep an eye out for slugs, snails, earwigs and aphids that want to dine on tender new growth.

* Feed summer bloomers with a balanced fertilizer.

* For continued bloom, cut off spent flowers on roses as well as other flowering plants.

* Don’t forget to water. Seedlings need moisture. Deep watering will help build strong roots and healthy plants.

* Add mulch to the garden to help keep that precious water from evaporating. Mulch also cuts down on weeds. But don’t let it mound around the stems or trunks of trees or shrubs. Leave about a 6-inch to 1-foot circle to avoid crown rot or other problems.

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