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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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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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