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Early Spring Ramble coming up March 26

Visit a garden of natives as the green season gets going

Early spring 2022 was full of bright blooms at Patricia Carpenter's property.

Early spring 2022 was full of bright blooms at Patricia Carpenter's property. Photo by Beth Savidge, courtesy Patricia Carpenter

Yes, it’s almost spring, which means Patricia Carpenter, a California Native Plant Society Garden Ambassador, will be opening her Yolo County property Sunday, March 26, for the Early Spring Ramble in a Native Plant Garden.

“So much rain and wind and cold this past winter!” she said in the announcement of the event.  “But spring is finally here – I think. How is the native garden responding?  I invite you to come take a look.”

Expect to see wildflowers, Ribes and Ceanothus in bloom, and other signs of the native garden waking up. The 1-acre garden west of Davis (west of Pierce Ranch Road south of Russell Boulevard) will be open rain or shine from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. for self-guided tours; visitors may start any time during those hours.

Maps will be available for use on site. Carpenter’s non-native garden will be open to view as well.

She will give brief orientation talks at 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. 

Admission is free but registration is required. The registration link and more information can be found here

Visitors should note that sturdy shoes are advised. No dogs, please. Anyone is welcome to bring a lunch or snack. A composting toilet is available onsite.

Gardeners inspired to plant natives will be able to shop from the Miridae Mobile Nursery truck, which also will be on site. Check out their latest inventory here.

In 2021 Carpenter and Pat Dressendorfer wrote an article for Pacific Horticulture about her garden in early spring. It can be found at


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For week of March 3:

* Celebrate the city flower! Catch the 100th Sacramento Camellia Show 3 to 6 p.m. Saturday, March 2, and 10 a.m to 5 p.m. Sunday, March 3, at the Scottish Rite Center, 6151 H St., Sacramento. Admission is free.

* Between showers, pick up fallen camellia blooms; that helps cut down on the spread of blossom blight that prematurely browns petals.

* Feed camellias after they bloom with fertilizer formulated for acid-loving plants.

* Camellias need little pruning. Remove dead wood and shape, if necessary.

* Tread lightly or not at all on wet ground; it compacts soil.

* Avoid digging in wet soil, too; wait until it clumps in your hand but doesn’t feel squishy.

* Note spots in your garden that stay wet after storms; improve drainage with the addition of organic matter such as compost.

* Keep an eye out for leaning trunks or ground disturbances around a tree’s base, a sign of shifting roots in the wet soil.

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

* If aphids are attracted to new growth, knock them off with a strong spray of water or insecticidal soap. To make your own “bug soap,” use two tablespoons liquid soap – not detergent – to one quart water in a spray bottle. Shake it up before use. Among the liquid soaps that seem most effective are Dr. Bronner’s Pure-Castile Soaps; try the peppermint scent.

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

* Prune and fertilize spring-flowering shrubs after bloom.

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

* Make plans for your summer garden. Once the soil is ready, start adding amendments such as compost.

* Indoors, start seeds for summer favorites such as tomatoes, peppers and squash as well as summer flowers.

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