'In the Garden' is theme for annual show and sale
See tall bearded irises like this beauty and other varieties as well at the Sacramento Iris Society Show and Sale. Kathy Morrison
See a rainbow of colorful irises this weekend when the Sacramento Iris Society hosts its annual show and sale.
Shepard Garden and Arts Center in McKinley Park will be filled with bearded irises and other species at their peak of bloom. With the theme “In the Garden,” the iris show will be open to the public from 1 to 5 p.m. Saturday, April 15, and 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday, April 16. Admission and parking are free.
This will be a judged show with many different varieties and kinds of irises vying for awards. It’s a great opportunity to learn about the many different color combinations and how to better identify varieties.
And there are a lot of varieties! Bearded irises (also known as flags) now include more than 60,000 named cultivars and come in every color from pure white to black with countless shades in between. The most common colors are blues and purples, closest to the iris family’s native hues. Thousands of varieties feature unusual combinations of hues on standards (the upright petals), falls (the down-pointing petals) and beards (the fuzzy flower parts that give these irises their nickname).
Take some irises home, too! The club will offer potted irises for sale with plants ready to transplant now.
Bearded iris, the most common perennial iris, is a water-wise wonder that thrives in Sacramento. After showy spring blooms, bearded irises need little summer irrigation – just once a week or twice a month. The plant dies back in August before sprouting new growth in late fall or winter.
Shepard Center is located at 3330 McKinley Blvd., Sacramento.
Details and directions: www.sgaac.org or https://sacramentoirissocietydotcom.wordpress.com/.
-- Debbie Arrington
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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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