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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 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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