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Wanted: Gardens gone native

The Jelly Bean monkeyflower is a hybrid California native adapted for the home landscape. (Photo courtesy UC Davis Arboretum)

Annual spring tour needs local landscapes that feature native plants

Has your garden gone native? Are you willing to share it with about 1,000 guests?

Make your landscape a stop on the 2019 Gardens Gone Native Tour. Organizers are now accepting applications from possible participants.

Hosted by the Sacramento Valley chapter of the California Native Plant Society, the self-guided tour has quickly grown into a major event. The ninth annual Gardens Gone Native Tour is set for April 27, 2019. Gardens are open from 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. that Saturday.

Organizers need about 20 private gardens in Sacramento, Yolo and Placer counties. Each garden should include at least 50 percent California native plants. Visitors may be limited to front yard only if preferred.

"By becoming a garden host, you help to educate the public about the benefits of gardening with native plants and hopefully inspire others to transform their landscapes," according to the organizers.

An application and full details are available at along with articles and photos from tours past. Questions? E-mail Colene Rauh at .

Sow seeds now for California poppy
blooms later. (Photo: Kathy Morrison)
Whether or not you apply for the tour, it's not too late to add some natives to your garden. Plant native perennials and shrubs now to help get them established. Sow wildflower seeds including California poppies.


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Dig In: Garden Checklist

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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