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Sacramento clubhouse gets special honor

The Shepard Center in McKinley Park was built in 1958 and hosts many city clubs. (Photo courtesy Shepard Garden and Arts Center.)

City names Shepard Garden and Arts Center historic landmark

Sacramento's clubhouse has a new honor: It's officially a historic landmark.

Shepard Garden and Arts Center, the home of many Sacramento clubs for 60 years, is already beloved by the hundreds of people who meet there regularly.

Late Tuesday, the Sacramento City Council named Shepard Center a "Sacramento Historic Landmark," which gives the building some added distinction as well as protections.

Also named to the landmark list Tuesday were Gunther's Ice Cream, the Freeport Chase Bank building and the Sacramento County Courthouse. These additions all represent mid-century modern design in a city full of history.

Named for longtime Sacramento Bee garden columnist Iva Gard Shepard (who served as the center's president for many years), the center is owned by the City of Sacramento, but operated by its own nonprofit board with support from Friends of the Center.

Built in 1958 in the McKinley Park annex, the center was designed by Raymond Franceschi and was a stark contrast to the surrounding Craftsman cottages and Mission Revival mansions. Considered a mid-century masterpiece, the center combined stone, wood and glass in a dramatic A-frame with a butterfly wing extending over a large patio.

In its 60th year, the center has received some much needed TLC. Club members pitched in to re-do the big blue entrance sign, which had started to rot away. Led by Daisy Mah, new theme gardens are being planted in the beds surrounding the building.

Looking for a hobby? Interested in specific kinds of gardening or plants? The center hosts about 30  clubs, all looking for new members. Contact information and meeting times are available on the center's website.


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Dig In: Garden Checklist

For week of March 26:

Sacramento can expect another inch of rain from this latest storm. Leave the sprinklers off at least another week. Temps will dip down into the low 30s early in the week, so avoid planting tender seedlings (such as tomatoes). Concentrate on these tasks before or after this week’s rain:

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

* Knock off aphids with a strong blast of water or some bug soap as soon as they appear.

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

* Prepare summer vegetable beds. Spade in compost and other amendments.

* Prune and fertilize spring-flowering shrubs after bloom.

* Feed camellias at the end of their bloom cycle. Pick up browned and fallen flowers to help corral blossom blight.

* Feed citrus trees, which are now in bloom and setting fruit.

To prevent sunburn and borer problems on young trees, paint the exposed portion of the trunk with diluted white latex (water-based) interior paint. Dilute the paint with an equal amount of cold water before application.

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

* Seed and renovate the lawn (if you still have one). Feed cool-season grasses such as bent, blue, rye and fescue with a slow-release fertilizer. Check the irrigation system and perform maintenance. Make sure sprinkler heads are turned toward the lawn, not the sidewalk.

* In the vegetable garden, transplant lettuce and kale.

* Seed chard and beets directly into the ground.

* Plant summer bulbs, including gladiolus, tuberous begonias and callas. Also plant dahlia tubers.

* Shop for perennials. Many varieties are available in local nurseries and at plant events. They can be transplanted now while the weather remains relatively cool.

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