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New Loomis Demonstration Garden hosts first Spring Open House

Placer County master gardeners welcome public to experience their growing resource, now in spring bloom

It was late March when the Demonstration Garden first opened at the Loomis Library. Guaranteed there will be more blooms, bigger plants and plenty of sunshine this Saturday for the Spring Open House.

It was late March when the Demonstration Garden first opened at the Loomis Library. Guaranteed there will be more blooms, bigger plants and plenty of sunshine this Saturday for the Spring Open House. Kathy Morrison

After several months of growth, Placer County’s newest gardening resource is now ready for its closeup – plus plenty of questions.

On Saturday, June 1, Placer County master gardeners will host their first Spring Open House at their new Demonstration Garden at Loomis Library. Admission is free.

From 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., dozens of master gardeners will be on hand to show visitors what they’ve been working months to create – a total transformation. What was originally 11,000 square feet of unused turf is now a vibrant water-wise garden packed with California natives, pollinator-friendly flowers and edible plants.

“The garden provides an educational environment with areas devoted to pollinator-friendly garden, HOA-friendly garden, rain garden, compost demonstration area, California native woodlands, a lawn-alternative meadow, hedgerows, an edible garden, straw-bale alternative and an orchard,” explain the master gardeners. “The plants and fruit trees are all small but have labels, and the labels have QR codes so visitors can learn more about them.”

Opened earlier this year on the library grounds, the garden will be bursting with spring color, as well as activities for all ages and all levels of gardeners.

“There will be kids activities, information tables staffed with experts in various gardening topics, live music and more,” say the hosts. “Experts will be on hand to answer questions about tool care, irrigation – we will have an expert from Hunter Industries on hand – ‘Ask a Master Gardener’ and vermiculture. Master gardeners will be present to answer questions about the garden and the various beds. We will have experts on California native plants and pollinators as well.”

Loomis Library is located at 6050 Library Drive, Loomis.

For more on the Demonstration Garden: https://pcmg.ucanr.edu/Demonstration_Garden/.

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Garden Checklist for week of June 23

Get to work in the mornings while it’s still cool.

* Irrigate early in the day; your plants will appreciate it.

* Generally, tomatoes need deep watering two to three times a week, but don't let them dry out completely. That can encourage blossom-end rot.

* Let the grass grow longer. Set the mower blades high to reduce stress on your lawn during summer heat. To cut down on evaporation, water your lawn deeply during the early hours of the morning, between 2 and 8 a.m.

* Tie up vines and stake tall plants such as gladiolus and lilies. That gives their heavy flowers some support.

* Dig and divide crowded bulbs after the tops have died down.

* Feed summer flowers with a slow-release fertilizer.

* Mulch, mulch, mulch! This “blanket” keeps moisture in the soil longer and helps your plants cope during hot weather.

* Avoid pot “hot feet.” Place a 1-inch-thick board under container plants sitting on pavement. This little cushion helps insulate them from radiated heat.

* Thin grapes on the vine for bigger, better clusters later this summer.

* Cut back fruit-bearing canes on berries.

* Feed camellias, azaleas and other acid-loving plants. Mulch to conserve moisture and reduce heat stress.

* Cut back Shasta daisies after flowering to encourage a second bloom in the fall.

* Trim off dead flowers from rose bushes to keep them blooming through the summer. Roses also benefit from deep watering and feeding now. A top dressing of aged compost will keep them happy. It feeds as well as keeps roots moist.

* Pinch back chrysanthemums for bushier plants with many more flowers in September.

* From seed, plant corn, pumpkins, radishes, melons, squash and sunflowers.

* Plant basil to go with your tomatoes. 

* Transplant summer annuals such as petunias, marigolds and zinnias.

* It’s also a good time to transplant perennial flowers including astilbe, columbine, coneflowers, coreopsis, dahlias, rudbeckia, salvia and verbena.

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