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Mark your calendar for new year's first gardening events

Want to watch a master rose pruner at work? The Historic City Cemetery's rose garden will be the site of two Jan. 12 workshops by Stephen Scanniello, known as the "rock star of roses." He's also very entertaining. (Photo: Kathy Morrison)

Pruning workshops coming soon

Have you started filling in your 2019 calendar yet? (If you don't have one yet, the master gardeners of Sacramento and Placer counties have excellent gardening calendars, which Debbie wrote about
here .)

Today's a busy day for so many of us, but the new year will be here quickly. Some excellent pruning events, for example, are scheduled in January, including:

Saturday, Jan. 5
Annual McKinley Park Prune-athon: 9 a.m. to noon. Volunteers prune the dozens of roses in McKinley Park. Open to all. Bring gloves and bypass pruners. Information email:

Saturday, Jan. 12
Rose Pruning at the Cemetery: 9 a.m. and 1 p.m. Rose expert Stephen Scanniello returns to Sacramento's Historic Rose Garden to present two workshops. His running narration as he works on roses in the Historic City Cemetery just may be the best (and most entertaining) one-day education on pruning you can find. $10 donation. He also will speak at the Mount Diablo Rose Society on Jan. 9 and the Sacramento Rose Society on Jan. 10. 1000 Broadway, Sacramento.

Saturday, Jan. 12
Sierra Foothills Rose Society Winter Rose Care Workshop:  8:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. (rain or shine). This comprehensive (mostly indoor) free workshop covers the basics of rose care and much more. Watch master rosarian Baldo Villegas prune a rose bush in under three minutes!  Learns the secrets to more rose blooms with less work. The workshop wraps up with a chili cookoff. Public is welcome. Questions? Call Kay Jelten, 916-799- 6005. Maidu Community Center, 1550 Maidu Drive, Roseville.

Saturday, Jan. 19
Open Garden, Featuring Winter Pruning: 9 a.m. to noon.  Free. Sacramento County m aster gardeners will demonstrate winter pruning of deciduous fruit trees, blueberries, cane berries, grape vines and landscape trees. Visitors also can learn how herbs enhance landscapes and how to garden in a small yard. Bring gardening questions to the Ask the Master Gardener table. Fair Oaks Horticulture Center, 11549 Fair Oaks Blvd., Fair Oaks. Information:

For other events during the first months of 2019, see our Garden Calendar here. Check back soon; we'll update it as more events are scheduled.

Happy holidays!

-- Kathy Morrison


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For week of March 3:

* Celebrate the city flower! Catch the 100th Sacramento Camellia Show 3 to 6 p.m. Saturday, March 2, and 10 a.m to 5 p.m. Sunday, March 3, at the Scottish Rite Center, 6151 H St., Sacramento. Admission is free.

* Between showers, pick up fallen camellia blooms; that helps cut down on the spread of blossom blight that prematurely browns petals.

* Feed camellias after they bloom with fertilizer formulated for acid-loving plants.

* Camellias need little pruning. Remove dead wood and shape, if necessary.

* Tread lightly or not at all on wet ground; it compacts soil.

* Avoid digging in wet soil, too; wait until it clumps in your hand but doesn’t feel squishy.

* Note spots in your garden that stay wet after storms; improve drainage with the addition of organic matter such as compost.

* Keep an eye out for leaning trunks or ground disturbances around a tree’s base, a sign of shifting roots in the wet soil.

* Fertilize roses, annual flowers and berries as spring growth begins to appear.

* If aphids are attracted to new growth, knock them off with a strong spray of water or insecticidal soap. To make your own “bug soap,” use two tablespoons liquid soap – not detergent – to one quart water in a spray bottle. Shake it up before use. Among the liquid soaps that seem most effective are Dr. Bronner’s Pure-Castile Soaps; try the peppermint scent.

* Pull weeds now! Don’t let them get started. Take a hoe and whack them as soon as they sprout.

* Prune and fertilize spring-flowering shrubs after bloom.

* Cut back and fertilize perennial herbs to encourage new growth.

* Make plans for your summer garden. Once the soil is ready, start adding amendments such as compost.

* Indoors, start seeds for summer favorites such as tomatoes, peppers and squash as well as summer flowers.

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