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Sacramento rose auction features little favorites

Plenty of compact varieties available to highest bidders

The miniflora rose Leading Lady is one of the roses to be auctioned Thursday.

The miniflora rose Leading Lady is one of the roses to be auctioned Thursday. Debbie Arrington

Who doesn’t need more roses? Especially when those roses will fit into small spaces in your garden – or thrive while growing in containers.

With an eye for little favorites, the Sacramento Rose Society hosts its annual auction at 7 p.m. Thursday, May 9, at Shepard Garden and Arts Center in McKinley Park. The auction is open to the public. Admission and parking are free.

The club has come up with a stellar selection of must-have rose varieties – mostly miniatures, mini-floras and polyanthas. These varieties tend to stay small (often under 2 feet) and can be grown in pots. (Suddenly, you can envision a lot more space for roses!)

Maybe you saw some of these varieties at Sacramento’s recent rose show? Or admired their flowers in bouquets? The list of varieties includes the minifloras Leading Lady, Butter Cream, Gold Country and Nancy Jean as well as the popular miniatures Bees Knees, Gourmet Popcorn, Old Glory and Kings Mountain.

Debbie Arrington, co-creator of Sacramento Digs Gardening, will serve as auctioneer. For an auction catalog, email

The 44 bushes to be offered were grown by the club’s green-thumbed propagators, mostly from cuttings supplied by renown rose expert Baldo Villegas and pulled from his vast 3,000-plant collection. Several of these varieties cannot be found in nurseries. At the homes of club members, these bushes have been babied for many months if not years. The results: Healthy plants that will produce beautiful roses for years to come.

This auction is the Sacramento Rose Society’s major fundraiser. So, buying a bush not only adds to your garden but helps this club survive and thrive, too. Cash or checks only please.

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

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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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