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Sacramento Iris Society hosts annual rhizome sale

Now is the time to plant this beautiful water-wise perennial

Auburn iris flower against green foliage
To get beautiful iris blooms like this, plant rhizomes in midsummer. Find a huge selection of rhizomes at the Sacramento Iris Society sale this weekend. (Photo: Debbie Arrington)

Bearded irises rank among the best drought-tolerant perennials for Sacramento gardens. And here’s your chance to get a bunch to plant now.

On Saturday and Sunday, July 16 and 17, the Sacramento Iris Society will host its annual rhizome sale at Shepard Garden and Arts Center. Think of it as a bare-root sale for irises; rhizomes are irises’ fleshy underground stems.

Mid to late summer is the best time to plant (or divide and transplant) bearded irises, which is why this plant sale is a mid-July staple. Bearded irises need very little summer irrigation, once established. Planted now, they’ll bloom next March and April.

The iris is named for the Greek goddess of the rainbow because the flowers come in so many hues. Find scores of varieties in every color (and many dazzling combinations) from pure white to (almost) pure black. Reblooming irises – which produce flowers in both spring and fall – will also be available.

Sale hours are 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. each day. Parking and admission are free. Come early for the best selection. Club members will be on hand to offer advice, not just in choosing varieties but how to care for those rhizomes once you get them home and how to keep them thriving for years ahead.

Shepard Center is located at 3330 McKinley Blvd., Sacramento.



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Dig In: Garden Checklist

For week of Dec. 3:

Make the most of gaps between raindrops. This is a busy month!

* Windy conditions brought down a lot of leaves. Make sure to rake them away from storm drains.

* Use those leaves as mulch around frost-tender shrubs and new transplants.

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

* 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 eves or under evergreen trees. Also, well-watered plants hold up better to frost than thirsty plants.

* Prune non-flowering trees and shrubs while they're dormant.

* 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.

* Plant one last round of spring bulbs including daffodils, crocuses, hyacinths, anemones and scillas. Get those tulips out of the refrigerator and into the ground.

* This is also a good time to seed wildflowers such as California poppies.

* Plant such spring bloomers as sweet pea, sweet alyssum and bachelor buttons.

* Late fall is the best time to plant most trees and shrubs. This gives them plenty of time for root development before spring growth. They also benefit from fall and winter rains.

* Lettuce, cabbage and broccoli also can be planted now.

* Plant garlic and onions.

* 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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