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Master gardeners' Fair Oaks garden open Saturday for morning strolls

Placer, El Dorado master gardeners also welcome visitors to their sites

This view of the Fair Oaks Horticulture Center shows the pond, the berry garden and part of the orchard. Visit between 9 a.m. and noon Saturday.

This view of the Fair Oaks Horticulture Center shows the pond, the berry garden and part of the orchard. Visit between 9 a.m. and noon Saturday. Kathy Morrison

No rain is expected this Saturday, May 11, which means it should be a perfect time to stroll any of the region's three master gardener demonstration gardens.

The Sacramento County master gardeners open their demonstration garden, the Fair Oaks Horticulture Center, about once a month for Open Garden Day. Visitors can walk through the gardens, ask questions and find inspiration in the plantings. Hours are 9 a.m. to noon; admission and parking are free.

Three mini talks are scheduled during the morning:

-- 10 a.m., "Peach Leaf Curl: Let's Get It Straight."

-- 10:30 a.m., Soil solarization.

-- 11 a.m., Harvesting worm castings.

The FOHC includes a berry garden, an orchard, an herb garden, vegetable garden, a vineyard, a composting area and the Water Efficient Landscape, which includes plantings devoted to native plants, wildlife habitat plants, perennials and succulents.

May is an active time in the gardens, and master gardeners will be on site, happy to explain their work or answer any gardening questions that visitors might have.

The "Ask a Master Gardener" table also will be staffed with folks who enjoy a good gardening challenge. Bring samples of pests or problem plants (preferably in a closed bag) to the table.

The Fair Oaks Horticulture Center is located at 11549 Fair Oaks Blvd.,  south of the Fair Oaks Library and park. For more information on Sacramento County master gardener events, visit

The El Dorado County master gardeners undoubtably will be glad for some sunshine while working at their Sherwood Demonstration Garden on Saturday. The garden, located at 6699 Campus Drive, Placerville, is open 9 a.m. to noon. Sherwood features 16 individual garden areas, including a rose garden, native plant area and vegetable garden.

For information on the El Dorado group's events, go to

Further north, the Placer County master gardeners will hold their monthly Open Loomis Demonstration Garden Day, on the grounds of the Loomis Library, from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. The library is at 6050 Library Drive, Loomis.

"Our garden is a living classroom for the Placer County community that emphasizes sustainable gardening, integrated pest management and backyard food production," they note. The master gardeners are happy to field questions from visitors.

This weekend, incidentally, is a busy one for the Placer master gardener group. Sunday, May 12, is their annual Mother's Day Garden Tour. Tickets for the tour of seven fabulous gardens in Rocklin area are $20 each, with children under 12 admitted free. 

Tickets with maps will be available through the day of the tour (cash or check only) at: Green Acres Nursery at Eisley’s: 380 Nevada St., Auburn;  Green Acres Nursery & Supply: 5436 Crossings Drive, Rocklin,  and
Green Acres Nursery & Supply: 7300 Galilee Road, Roseville.

For more information on Placer County master gardener events, visit


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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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