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Is your garden throwing shade?

Tuberous begonias are beautiful additions to shade gardens. (Photos: Debbie Arrington)

Workshop focuses on the brighter side of planting shady yards
We love our trees, but sometimes fret that their leafy branches work too well in blocking the sun. What can be grown in all that shade?

To the rescue come the UCCE Master Gardeners of El Dorado County. On Saturday, Aug. 25, their free workshop, "Shade Gardening," will enlighten gardeners on the joys of plants that thrive in the shade.

As Master Gardener Susan Corey-McAlpine writes in the group's newsletter, "There is possibly no more perfect gardening activity for these hot summer afternoons than planning a shade garden, a haven of private coolness."

She notes that the amount of sun exposure a site receives determines what plants can grow there. Full shade is determined as getting less than 1 hour of sun daily, while part shade is 1 to 2 hours of sun exposure daily. Part sun is 4 to 5 hours daily, and full sun is more than 6 hours daily.

Hydrangeas such as this Incrediball variety
are great for shady areas.
In addition to Corey-McAlpine, the workshop will be conducted by Master Gardeners Merry Campbell, who chairs the Shade Garden at the Sherwood Demonstration Garden, and EJ Kipping.

They will cover topics such as soil content, shade plants with color, and the special attention needed for planting under oaks.

The workshop runs from 9 a.m. to noon at the Government Center, Building C Hearing Room,  2850 Fairlane Ct., Placerville. No advance registration is required.

For more information on the El Dorado Master Gardeners' programs: 530-621-5512 or

-- Kathy Morrison


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Dig In: Garden Checklist

For week of March 19:

Spring will start a bit soggy, but there’s still plenty to do between showers:

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

* Watch out for aphids. Wash off plants with strong blast from the hose.

* 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 fight blossom blight.

* Feed citrus trees as they start to blossom.

* 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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