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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



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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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