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Bug-eating plants return to Shepard Center

Sacramento Bromeliad and Carnivorous Plant Society hosts 52nd annual show and sale

Red and gold pitcher plants
Pitcher plants are among the carnivorous plants that do well outdoors in
the Sacramento area. See more plants at the show and sale this weekend. (Photo:
Debbie Arrington)

In most gardens, bugs eat plants. But these plants eat bugs.

Discover the fascinating world of carnivorous plants during the 52nd annual Sacramento Bromeliad and Carnivorous Plant Society Show and Sale, set for this Saturday and Sunday, June 18 and 19, at Shepard Garden and Arts Center.

See hundreds of intriguing specimens, with several species that are right at home in Sacramento. Pitcher plants, for example, can be grown outdoors in our area. They do particularly well as part of a backyard water feature such as a half wine barrel or small pond; their roots get the boggy conditions they prefer while the plants have access to insects that may fly by.

Because they evolved to grow in such poor soil, carnivorous plants get most of their nourishment from insects that can become trapped in their specialized (often sticky) foliage. Likewise, bromeliads trap moisture and nutrients in the center of their swirl of colorful foliage.

Club members will be on hand to answer questions and offer advice. An excellent selection of plants will be offered for sale. Find pitcher plants, sundews, butterworts and other bug eaters as well as tillandsia (air plants) and bromeliads in a rainbow of hues.

Hours are 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Admission and parking are free.

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

Details and directions: www.sgaac.org .

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Garden Checklist for week of May 19

Temperatures will be a bit higher than normal in the afternoons this week. Take care of chores early in the day – then enjoy the afternoon. It’s time to smell the roses.

* Plant, plant, plant! It’s prime planting season in the Sacramento area. If you haven’t already, it’s time to set out those tomato transplants along with peppers and eggplants. Pinch off any flowers on new transplants to make them concentrate on establishing roots instead of setting premature fruit.

* Direct-seed melons, cucumbers, summer squash, corn, radishes, pumpkins and annual herbs such as basil.

* Harvest cabbage, lettuce, peas and green onions.

* In the flower garden, direct-seed sunflowers, cosmos, salvia, zinnias, marigolds, celosia and asters.

* Plant dahlia tubers. Other perennials to set out include verbena, coreopsis, coneflower and astilbe.

* Transplant petunias, marigolds and perennial flowers such as astilbe, columbine, coneflowers, coreopsis, dahlias, rudbeckia and verbena.

* Keep an eye out for slugs, snails, earwigs and aphids that want to dine on tender new growth.

* Feed summer bloomers with a balanced fertilizer.

* For continued bloom, cut off spent flowers on roses as well as other flowering plants.

* Don’t forget to water. Seedlings need moisture. Deep watering will help build strong roots and healthy plants.

* Add mulch to the garden to help keep that precious water from evaporating. Mulch also cuts down on weeds. But don’t let it mound around the stems or trunks of trees or shrubs. Leave about a 6-inch to 1-foot circle to avoid crown rot or other problems.

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