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'Orchid Mania' workshop offered in person and online

Master gardeners cover basics of how to buy and care for orchids

Placer master gardeners will offer tips on caring for orchids such as this beautiful cymbidium.

Placer master gardeners will offer tips on caring for orchids such as this beautiful cymbidium. Debbie Arrington

Walk into any garden gift shop – or supermarket – and it’s clear: Orchids have become the go-to gift plant.

But which one to buy? And how do you care for these beautiful indoor tropicals? Or get them to rebloom?

Learn how at “Orchid Mania,” a new workshop offered by the UC Cooperative Education Master Gardeners of Placer County. And during this busy holiday season, this workshop will be presented both in-person in Loomis and via Zoom.

Set for 10:30 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 10, “Orchid-Mania: How to Buy and Care for Orchids” will be hosted at Loomis Library, 6050 Library Drive, Loomis. It’s free with no advance registration necessary for the in-person event.

“This presentation is for you if you are ready to move beyond tossing orchids in the trash when they are done blooming, say the master gardeners. “You will learn how to keep and care for orchids and how to help them rebloom, maybe for many years. Warning: You may become addicted to these beautiful babies!”

This workshop will cover popular Phalaenopsis or moth orchids as well as Dendrobium and other species. Get some tips on outdoor grown cymbidiums, too.

And here’s a special free offer for those attending in person: Bring your ‘sad’ orchids for recommendations on how to make them ‘happy’ again.” That may include repotting or other ideas.

To watch it live on Zoom, you will need to register in advance to receive the link. For Zoom registration and link:


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For week of March 3:

* Celebrate the city flower! Catch the 100th Sacramento Camellia Show 3 to 6 p.m. Saturday, March 2, and 10 a.m to 5 p.m. Sunday, March 3, at the Scottish Rite Center, 6151 H St., Sacramento. Admission is free.

* Between showers, pick up fallen camellia blooms; that helps cut down on the spread of blossom blight that prematurely browns petals.

* Feed camellias after they bloom with fertilizer formulated for acid-loving plants.

* Camellias need little pruning. Remove dead wood and shape, if necessary.

* Tread lightly or not at all on wet ground; it compacts soil.

* Avoid digging in wet soil, too; wait until it clumps in your hand but doesn’t feel squishy.

* Note spots in your garden that stay wet after storms; improve drainage with the addition of organic matter such as compost.

* Keep an eye out for leaning trunks or ground disturbances around a tree’s base, a sign of shifting roots in the wet soil.

* Fertilize roses, annual flowers and berries as spring growth begins to appear.

* If aphids are attracted to new growth, knock them off with a strong spray of water or insecticidal soap. To make your own “bug soap,” use two tablespoons liquid soap – not detergent – to one quart water in a spray bottle. Shake it up before use. Among the liquid soaps that seem most effective are Dr. Bronner’s Pure-Castile Soaps; try the peppermint scent.

* Pull weeds now! Don’t let them get started. Take a hoe and whack them as soon as they sprout.

* Prune and fertilize spring-flowering shrubs after bloom.

* Cut back and fertilize perennial herbs to encourage new growth.

* Make plans for your summer garden. Once the soil is ready, start adding amendments such as compost.

* Indoors, start seeds for summer favorites such as tomatoes, peppers and squash as well as summer flowers.

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