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Become a brighter bulb with this class

Grape hyacinths are layered under tulips in
Debbie Arrington's garden. (Photo: Debbie Arrington)
Master gardeners' seminar will help you 'Fall into Spring'

What's your bulb IQ? Do you know your daffodils from hyacinths? Dutch iris from Siberian squill?

More important, do you know how to make the most of bulbs in your spring garden? Or how to force them indoors?

Learn all that and more at "Fall into Spring: Fall Planting for Spring Color," a special seminar hosted by the UC Cooperative Extension Master Gardeners of Sacramento County.

Sign up early for this bulb class; pre-registration is required and space is limited.

Bulbs are enjoying a new wave of popularity in California gardens. Most spring-blooming bulbs are drought tolerant and easy care. They're also deer- and rodent-resistant. A small investment can pay off with colorful dividends for years to come.

Guest speaker for this information-packed session will be Bill the Bulb Baron, aka Northern California bulb grower and hybridizer William Welch. He'll share his tips for success in Sacramento's climate and soils.

Other presentations include how to layer bulbs for dramatic impact (and more weeks of flowers) as well as how to force bulbs in containers for winter blooms.

In addition, bulbs and forcing kits will be offered for sale at the seminar.

Questions? For more information: UC Cooperative Extension, (916) 875-6913 or .


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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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