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Between storms, Prune-a-thon set for Saturday at McKinley Rose Garden

Be prepared for mud while learning about rose care

Volunteers in a previous January prune the McKinley Park roses. Two days of Prune-a-thons are scheduled this year, on Jan. 7 and 14.

Volunteers in a previous January prune the McKinley Park roses. Two days of Prune-a-thons are scheduled this year, on Jan. 7 and 14. Debbie Arrington

It may be soggy, but we’ll be pruning. Despite heavy rains this past week, the Prune-a-thon at McKinley Park’s Memorial Rose Garden is expected to be held as scheduled on Saturday, Jan. 7.

Sacramento-area parks were closed mid-week due to concerns about falling trees and branches. (Or in the case of the rose garden, falling palm fronds.) But all parks are expected to be reopened by Saturday morning.

From 9 a.m. to noon, volunteers will be out in force to prune the beloved garden in McKinley Park.

Located on H Street near 33rd Street in East Sacramento, the rose garden is home to about 1,200 rose bushes, all in need of some TLC. All volunteers are welcome; no experience is necessary.

Skilled rosarians from the Sacramento Rose Society will lead volunteers, supervised by Sacramento parks employees.

Registration and parking are free. Water and light lunch will be provided. Volunteers under age 18 must have a parent’s or guardian’s signature to participate. Tools and instruction will be provided. Bring gloves and, if possible, bypass pruners.

Dress warmly. Considering how muddy the garden will be, wear closed-toe, water-repellent shoes or boots.

The Prune-a-thon is a great opportunity to learn about roses or reinvigorate pruning skills. It’s also a wonderful chance to show this historic rose garden some love.

In addition to tackling pruning (the biggest chore in any rose garden), the Prune-a-thon serves as a recruiting event for year-round rose garden volunteers.

Can’t make it Saturday? A second Prune-a-thon session is scheduled for 9 a.m. Jan. 14.

For details and to register in advance via QR code:


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Garden Checklist for week of July 7

Take care of garden chores early in the morning, concentrating on watering. We’re still in survival mode until this heat wave breaks.

* Keep your vegetable garden watered, mulched and weeded. Water before 8 a.m. to conserve moisture.

* Prevent sunburn; provide temporary shade for tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, melons, squash and other crops with “sensitive” skin.

* Hold off on feeding plants until temperatures cool back down to “normal” range. That means daytime highs in the low to mid 90s.

* Don’t let tomatoes wilt or dry out completely. Give tomatoes a deep watering two to three times a week. Harvest vegetables promptly to encourage plants to produce more.

* Squash especially tends to grow rapidly in hot weather. Keep an eye on zucchini.

* Some weeds thrive in hot weather. Whack them before they go to seed.

* Pinch back chrysanthemums for bushy plants and more flowers in September.

* Harvest tomatoes, squash, peppers and eggplant. Prompt picking will help keep plants producing.

* Remove spent flowers from roses, daylilies and other bloomers as they finish flowering.

* Pinch off blooms from basil so the plant will grow more leaves.

* Cut back lavender after flowering to promote a second bloom.

* One good thing about hot days: Most lawns stop growing when temperatures top 95 degrees. Keep mower blades set on high.

* Once the weather cools down a little, it’s not too late to add a splash of color. Plant petunias, snapdragons, zinnias and marigolds.

* After the heat wave, plant corn, pumpkins, radishes, winter squash and sunflowers. Make sure the seeds stay hydrated.

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