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Bonsai shows celebrate spring in 'City of Little Trees'

Two historic clubs host Sacramento events devoted to ancient tradition

This is just an example of the beautifully tended bonsai that will be on display this weekend at the Shepard Garden and Art Center.

This is just an example of the beautifully tended bonsai that will be on display this weekend at the Shepard Garden and Art Center. Photo courtesy American Bonsai Association, Sacramento

Do you love bonsai? You’re in the right place. Sacramento is home to two of the nation’s oldest bonsai clubs, each hosting a spring show and sale. That makes Sacramento the City of Little Trees.

Our seasonal salute to bonsai starts this weekend, April 8 and 9, with the 63rd annual spring show of the American Bonsai Association, Sacramento. A forest of little trees will fill the Shepard Garden and Arts Center in McKinley Park.

Show hours are 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. each day, with demonstrations by Colorado bonsai expert Todd Schlafer at 1:30 p.m. both days. Admission and parking are free.

A large sales area will be packed with little trees and plants appropriate for this hobby plus supplies such as appropriate containers, potting mix and gardening tools scaled to work on miniatures. Among the vendors will be Janette Bautista, Geoff Campbell, David Chimpky, Danny Power, Phil Richardson and Rick Savell. A consignment table features member-grown trees for sale as well as unique items for bonsai lovers.

Just starting bonsai? As part of this event, ABAS members will conduct a beginners workshop at 10 a.m. Sunday, April 10. For more information or to reserve a space, email absbonsaiclub@gmail.com.

Shepard Center is located at 3330 McKinley Blvd., Sacramento. Details: http://abasbonsai.org.

More than six decades ago, ABAS formed as an English-speaking offshoot of the original Sacramento Bonsai Club, the oldest bonsai club in the United States. With its early meetings conducted in Japanese, the Sacramento Bonsai Club was founded in 1946 by formerly interned Japanese Americans as a celebration of their culture. Nearly eight decades later, that original club is still going strong and still celebrating.

On May 6, the Sacramento Bonsai Club will host its 77th annual spring show at the Buddhist Church of Sacramento, 2401 Riverside Blvd., Sacramento. Show hours are 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Admission is free.

This one-day show also features a plant and pot sale plus a raffle and refreshments. Learn the finer skills of bonsai during a 1:30 p.m. demonstration.

Details: http://www.sacbonsaiclub.com.

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Garden Checklist for week of July 7

Take care of garden chores early in the morning, concentrating on watering. We’re still in survival mode until this heat wave breaks.

* Keep your vegetable garden watered, mulched and weeded. Water before 8 a.m. to conserve moisture.

* Prevent sunburn; provide temporary shade for tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, melons, squash and other crops with “sensitive” skin.

* Hold off on feeding plants until temperatures cool back down to “normal” range. That means daytime highs in the low to mid 90s.

* Don’t let tomatoes wilt or dry out completely. Give tomatoes a deep watering two to three times a week. Harvest vegetables promptly to encourage plants to produce more.

* Squash especially tends to grow rapidly in hot weather. Keep an eye on zucchini.

* Some weeds thrive in hot weather. Whack them before they go to seed.

* Pinch back chrysanthemums for bushy plants and more flowers in September.

* Harvest tomatoes, squash, peppers and eggplant. Prompt picking will help keep plants producing.

* Remove spent flowers from roses, daylilies and other bloomers as they finish flowering.

* Pinch off blooms from basil so the plant will grow more leaves.

* Cut back lavender after flowering to promote a second bloom.

* One good thing about hot days: Most lawns stop growing when temperatures top 95 degrees. Keep mower blades set on high.

* Once the weather cools down a little, it’s not too late to add a splash of color. Plant petunias, snapdragons, zinnias and marigolds.

* After the heat wave, plant corn, pumpkins, radishes, winter squash and sunflowers. Make sure the seeds stay hydrated.

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