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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 Dec. 10:

Take advantage of these dry but crisp conditions. It’s time to get out the rake!

* Rake leaves away from storm drains and keep gutters clear.

* Fallen leaves can be used for mulch and compost. Chop up large leaves with a couple of passes with a lawn mower.

* Prune non-flowering trees and shrubs while they’re dormant. Without their foliage, trees are easier to prune.

* Rake and remove dead leaves and stems from dormant perennials.

* Make sure to take frost precautions with new transplants and sensitive plants. Mulch, water and cover tender plants in the late afternoon to retain warmth.

* Succulent plants are at particular risk if temperatures drop below freezing. Don’t water succulents before frost; cover instead. Use cloth sheets, not plastic. Make sure to remove coverings during the day.

* Clean and sharpen garden tools before storing for the winter.

* Brighten the holidays with winter bloomers such as poinsettias, amaryllis, calendulas, Iceland poppies, pansies and primroses.

* Keep poinsettias in a sunny, warm location. Water thoroughly. After the holidays, feed your plants monthly so they'll bloom again next December.

* Just because it rained doesn't mean every plant got watered. Give a drink to plants that the rain didn't reach, such as under eaves or under evergreen trees. Also, well-watered plants hold up better to frost than thirsty plants.

* Plant garlic (December's the last chance -- the ground is getting cold!) and onions for harvest in summer.

* Bare-root season begins. Plant bare-root berries, kiwifruit, grapes, artichokes, horseradish and rhubarb. Beware of soggy soil. It can rot bare-root plants.

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