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Update: Master gardeners' Open Garden officially canceled but may be held informally

Popular Saturday events washed out by weather

Visitors explore the Berry Garden at the Fair Oaks Horticulture Center during February's Open Garden Day.

Visitors explore the Berry Garden at the Fair Oaks Horticulture Center during February's Open Garden Day.

Kathy Morrison

Update Thursday evening: The March 11 Open Garden at the Fair Oaks Horticulture Center is officially canceled, primarily out of concerns for safety, including the potential for flooded streets and downed trees.

The word went out to the Sacramento County master gardeners Thursday from program coordinator Judy McClure. She noted that if the weather clears Saturday morning and streets are safe, master gardeners can welcome visitors to the Horticulture Center informally. But there will be no welcome tables, signs, displays, calendar sales or other official accoutrements of Open Garden Day.

The next scheduled Open Garden is 9 a.m. to noon Wednesday, April 12.


Original post:

The next few days are expected to be wet, really wet. But ducks and the hardy Sacramento County master gardeners will be out there Saturday, as long as a blizzard doesn’t stir up in Fair Oaks. (For the record, no blizzard is forecast. Not yet, anyway.)

Saturday’s Open Garden Day will go ahead as planned, 9 a.m. to noon at the Fair Oaks Horticulture Center, rain or shine. The only times the event has been canceled due to inclement weather was when heavy rain was blowing sideways, program coordinator Judy McClure noted earlier this week. 

The entire Horticulture Center is available for exploration on Open Garden Days. The master gardeners staff each area of the garden to show off what’s growing, answer questions and, as the occasion allows, take care of some gardening chores. 

This March event offers a great opportunity to see how the FOHC Orchard's trees and the Water Efficient Landscape plants, in particular, are holding up against the winter weather. Need some clarification on green waste rules? The Compost team members can offer guidance on what can and what cannot go into the weekly collection bins. The Vegetable, Herb and Berry teams will be staffing those areas, doing light cleanup work as they answer questions. (Wet soil precludes much digging.)

The Fair Oaks Horticulture Center is at 11549 Fair Oaks Blvd., south of Madison Avenue and the Fair Oaks Library. More information on the FOHC and Sacramento County master gardeners is available here.

Meanwhile, on the other side of the Yolo Bypass, the "atmospheric river" forecast prompted the Plant Sale planners on Wednesday night to cancel Saturday’s first spring sale at the UC Davis Arboretum Teaching Nursery. That was to be a members-only event for Friends of the Arboretum.

"We don’t take these decisions lightly. The sales typically happen rain or shine, heat wave or windstorm … not to mention, pandemic,” said Taylor Lewis, the nursery manager, noted on the plant sale website. “We can deal with a lot, and so can our customers, but this next round of weather, with the quantity of rain falling so close to the sale, won’t give us time to recover before Saturday.” 

"We know our community, just like us, really looks forward to these plant sales. It’s disappointing for all of us to have to cancel,” said Carmia Feldman, assistant director at the UC Davis Arboretum and Public Garden.

To make it up to the Friends members, the nursery will turn April into Member Appreciation Month. Now $10-off coupons will be given to Friends members at both the currently scheduled April events, in addition to offering early access at both sales, and 10% off. Those sales are April 8 (with member-only access 9 a.m. to 11 a.m., public 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.) and April 29 (members get early access at 8:30 a.m. before it opens to the public at 9 a.m.)

“The irony of having to postpone a plant sale that offers one of the area’s largest selections of low-water plants due to rain, is not lost on me,” Lewis said. “It speaks to the extreme weather we’ve been experiencing up and down the state and actually, further reinforces the need for plants like ours to support the environment.”

For information on becoming a Friend of the Arboretum and all the perks, go here.


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Dig In: Garden Checklist

For week of June 4:

Because of the comfortable weather, it’s not too late to set out tomato and pepper seedlings as well as squash and melon plants. They’ll appreciate this not-too-hot weather. Just remember to water.

* From seed, plant corn, pumpkins, radishes, melons, squash and sunflowers.

* Plant basil to go with your tomatoes.

* Transplant summer annuals such as petunias, marigolds and zinnias.

* It’s also a good time to transplant perennial flowers including astilbe, columbine, coneflowers, coreopsis, dahlias, rudbeckia, salvia and verbena.

* Let the grass grow longer. Set the mower blades high to reduce stress on your lawn during summer heat. To cut down on evaporation, water your lawn deeply during the wee hours of the morning, between 2 and 8 a.m.

* Tie up vines and stake tall plants such as gladiolus and lilies. That gives their heavy flowers some support.

* Dig and divide crowded bulbs after the tops have died down.

* Feed summer flowers with a slow-release fertilizer.

* Mulch, mulch, mulch! This “blanket” keeps moisture in the soil longer and helps your plants cope during hot weather.

* Thin grapes on the vine for bigger, better clusters later this summer.

* Cut back fruit-bearing canes on berries.

* Feed camellias, azaleas and other acid-loving plants.

* Trim off dead flowers from rose bushes to keep them blooming through the summer. Roses also benefit from deep watering and feeding now. A top dressing of aged compost will keep them happy. It feeds as well as keeps roots moist.

* Pinch back chrysanthemums for bushier plants with many more flowers in September.

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