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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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Dig In: Garden Checklist

For week of March 19:

Spring will start a bit soggy, but there’s still plenty to do between showers:

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

* Watch out for aphids. Wash off plants with strong blast from the hose.

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

* Prepare summer vegetable beds. Spade in compost and other amendments.

* Prune and fertilize spring-flowering shrubs after bloom.

* Feed camellias at the end of their bloom cycle. Pick up browned and fallen flowers to fight blossom blight.

* Feed citrus trees as they start to blossom.

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

* Seed and renovate the lawn (if you still have one). Feed cool-season grasses such as bent, blue, rye and fescue with a slow-release fertilizer. Check the irrigation system and perform maintenance. Make sure sprinkler heads are turned toward the lawn, not the sidewalk.

* In the vegetable garden, transplant lettuce and kale.

* Seed chard and beets directly into the ground.

* Plant summer bulbs, including gladiolus, tuberous begonias and callas. Also plant dahlia tubers.

* Shop for perennials. Many varieties are available in local nurseries and at plant events. They can be transplanted now while the weather remains relatively cool.

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