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Go native! Sac Valley CNPS hosts fall plant sale

Order plants online, then pick up at Rancho Cordova nursery

A monarch butterfly pauses on the blossom of a salvia clevelandii at the Cosumnes Preserve.

A monarch butterfly pauses on the blossom of a salvia clevelandii at the Cosumnes Preserve.

Photo courtesy Robin Rogerson via Sac Valley CNPS

In time for fall planting, the Sacramento Valley chapter of the California Native Plant Society (CNPS) is hosting its online fall plant sale at its nursery, starting at noon Wednesday through Sunday, Sept. 14-18.

Orders are available for pickup on two Sundays, Sept. 25 and Oct. 4. The demonstration gardens also will be open for viewing; see website for availability.

Also known as Elderberry Farms, Sac Valley CNPS Nursery and Gardens are located at Soil Born Farms’ American River Ranch, 2140 Chase Drive, Rancho Cordova.

Fall is the best time to transplant most native plants, especially shrubs, trees and perennials. It allows them months (hopefully with rain) to put down roots and get established before the stress of summer heat next year.

“Native plants are not only beautiful and climate adaptable, but they also feed and shelter birds, bees, butterflies and other pollinators,” says Chris Lewis, the nursery’s longtime director.

Gardeners gravitate towards native plants, too; they naturally use less water. Survival of our dry summer weather is stamped into these plants’ DNA. Many varieties need little if any summer irrigation.

Not only do native plants save water compared to traditional lawn-based landscape, they support local wildlife. Providing flowers and often seeds or berries, native plants offer food for pollinators and birds; that’s something turf never does.

Among the native favorites offered by the nursery: Monkeyflower, buckwheat, lupine, penstemon, salvias, asters, redberry, mountain mahogany and, of course, elderberry.

For full details and plant list:


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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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