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CNPS chapter kicks off spring plant sale season

Online sale of California natives begins Saturday

Common yarrow is a reliably hardy green perennial in winter,  but will show off with white flowering stalks as the weather warms up

Common yarrow is a reliably hardy green perennial in winter, but will show off with white flowering stalks as the weather warms up

Kathy Morrison

March brings a rush of spring plant sales. Kicking off the season is the Sacramento Valley Chapter of the California Native Plant Society with a four-day online sale this Saturday through midday Wednesday, March 4-8. 

SacValley CNPS has a propagation nursery and demonstration gardens on property at Soil Born Farms, 2140 Chase Drive, Rancho Cordova, though it is a separate entity from Soil Born. Formerly called Elderberry Farms, the nursery’s name now is SacValley CNPS Nursery and Gardens, in order to focus better on the chapter’s activities.

If you want a garden filled with natives – and why wouldn’t you? – this is one of the best sales in the Sacramento area at which to find them. The 61 plants on the inventory list range from Achillea millefolium (yarrow) to Vitus californica (California wild grape), and many other great plants in between. Check out the inventory here. Shopping tip: Create a wishlist ahead of time, then when the sale starts, just indicate the size of plant desired. Attributes of each plant are in this detailed list. Most will be in 1-gallon pots ($13), with some in 4-inch pots ($6). 

The sale also will feature about 20 books and pocket manuals on native plants and/or wildlife, including a few children’s books. Prices are half what you’d expect. (Example: “Gardening for Butterflies” from The Xerces Society, just $10.)

Shoppers also can make a donation to CNPS on the site.

The sale goes live at 8 a.m. Saturday and closes at noon Wednesday. Pickup is at Soil Born Farms, When purchasing plants, choose a pickup date within the windows of 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. March 12 or 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. March 15. Anyone who can’t make either date will be advised to message nursery and plant sale chair Chris Lewis (email on the website).

Sac Valley also is planning a small in-person plant sale 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. April 15 during a Soil Born Farms marketplace day. Some guest vendors, including Find Out Farms, will be at the sale as well. More details are coming, the chapter notes. But the online sale is likely the best bet to get their popular plants.

For general information on the Sacramento Valley CNPS chapter,  including how to volunteer, visit

– Kathy Morrison


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Dig In: Garden Checklist

For week of March 26:

Sacramento can expect another inch of rain from this latest storm. Leave the sprinklers off at least another week. Temps will dip down into the low 30s early in the week, so avoid planting tender seedlings (such as tomatoes). Concentrate on these tasks before or after this week’s rain:

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

* Knock off aphids with a strong blast of water or some bug soap as soon as they appear.

* 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 help corral blossom blight.

* Feed citrus trees, which are now in bloom and setting fruit.

To prevent sunburn and borer problems on young trees, paint the exposed portion of the trunk with diluted white latex (water-based) interior paint. Dilute the paint with an equal amount of cold water before application.

* 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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