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Sacramento hosts its 99th annual Camellia Show

Despite winter weather, weekend event should feature hundreds of flowers

Blue-ribbon camellia blossoms fill a tabletop at the 2022 Sacramento Camellia Show.

Blue-ribbon camellia blossoms fill a tabletop at the 2022 Sacramento Camellia Show. Debbie Arrington

It’s Camellia Week in Sacramento – and the weather is not cooperating.

A Sacramento tradition for almost a century, the 99th annual Sacramento Camellia Show will be held Saturday and Sunday, March 4 and 5, at  Elks Lodge No. 6 in Sacramento’s Greenhaven/Pocket neighborhood. Admission and parking are free.

Organizers expect hundreds of blooms for Sacramento’s signature flower event – even after all the wind and rain.

Warmed by spring-like temperatures in early February, many camellia bushes started blooming before this current series of storms, noted Julie Vierra, president of the Camellia Society of Sacramento and the show’s co-chairperson. Meanwhile, other bushes have stubbornly kept their buds closed.

“It’s weird,” said Vierra, who has a backyard full of camellias in flower in West Sacramento. “You talk to (gardeners), and everything’s blooming – or not blooming. It’s definitely the weather.”

Judges at this weekend’s show will keep that challenging weather in mind, she said. “Weather impact will be taken into consideration. You can tell if (damage) is weather-related or petal blight.”

Petal blight, a fungal disease that causes brown spots on camellias, is highly contagious and any flower showing signs of petal blight may be eliminated from the show.

As always, the public is encouraged to enter flowers in the camellia show as well as enjoy the bounty of blooms. Public entries are accepted from 7:30 to 10 a.m. Saturday. Society members will be on hand to help with variety identification and placement.

After judging, the show itself will be open from 3 to 6 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday.

The Elks Lodge serves an excellent Sunday brunch for $15, Vierra noted. “It’s always fun to go to brunch, then see the show.”

The theme for this year’s show: “California Bloomin.’ ” Members of the Sacramento Floral Design Guild will interpret that theme with camellia arrangements. Sacramento chapter members of Ikebana International will display examples of Japanese flower arranging.

In addition to seeing hundreds of flowers, patrons can take home camellias, too. More than 200 bushes will be offered for sale in many varieties not available in local nurseries. Collectible magnets and buttons also will be available for a donation.

Experts will be on hand to offer advice on growing camellias, Sacramento’s official flower. Learn the craft of “camellia waxing,” preserving blooms by coating with clear wax.

The Elks Lodge is located at 6446 Riverside Blvd., Sacramento, where Florin Road dead-ends into Riverside Boulevard.

Questions? Email Vierra at j4sfgiants@sbcglobal.net.

Details: https://camelliasocietyofsacramento.org/.

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Garden Checklist for week of April 14

It's still not warm enough to transplant tomatoes directly in the ground, but we’re getting there.

* April is the last chance to plant citrus trees such as dwarf orange, lemon and kumquat. These trees also look good in landscaping and provide fresh fruit in winter.

* Smell orange blossoms? Feed citrus trees with a low dose of balanced fertilizer (such as 10-10-10) during bloom to help set fruit. Keep an eye out for ants.

* Apply slow-release fertilizer to the lawn.

* Thoroughly clean debris from the bottom of outdoor ponds or fountains.

* Spring brings a flush of rapid growth, and that means your garden needs nutrients. Fertilize shrubs and trees with a slow-release fertilizer. Or mulch with a 1-inch layer of compost.

* Azaleas and camellias looking a little yellow? If leaves are turning yellow between the veins, give them a boost with chelated iron.

* Trim dead flowers but not leaves from spring-flowering bulbs such as daffodils and tulips. Those leaves gather energy to create next year's flowers. Also, give the bulbs a fertilizer boost after bloom.

* Pinch chrysanthemums back to 12 inches for fall flowers. Cut old stems to the ground.

* Mulch around plants to conserve moisture and control weeds.

* From seed, plant beans, beets, cantaloupes, carrots, corn, cucumbers, melons, radishes and squash.

* Plant onion sets.

* In the flower garden, plant seeds for asters, cosmos, celosia, marigolds, salvia, sunflowers and zinnias.

* Transplant petunias, zinnias, geraniums and other summer bloomers.

* Plant perennials and dahlia tubers for summer bloom.

* Mid to late April is about the last chance to plant summer bulbs, such as gladiolus and tuberous begonias.

* Transplant lettuce seedlings. Choose varieties that mature quickly such as loose leaf.

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