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Take a late-spring ramble through a garden of native plants

Event near Davis is free but requires registration

June grass, yarrow and Ithuriel's spear grow in the valley grassland area of Patricia Carpenter's property.

June grass, yarrow and Ithuriel's spear grow in the valley grassland area of Patricia Carpenter's property. Photo courtesy Beth Savidge

Many California natives rest or go dormant in the summer, so May is an excellent time to view native plants still in their spring flush.

This Sunday offers an ideal opportunity, as California Native Plant Society Ambassador Patricia Carpenter opens her garden west of Davis for her Late Spring Seasonal Native Garden Ramble.

Carpenter's 1-acre property, with more than 400 species and cultivars of natives, will be available for self-guided tours from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday, May 21, starting at any time within those hours. The event is free but registration is required. The link to register can be found here. A map and plant list can be found on Carpenter's CNPS profile page.

In addition to viewing late-spring color, visitors will be able to see the many geophytes blooming in the garden.  Seasonal maintenance, pruning, seed collecting, and plant propagation also will be in progress.

An optional short orientation and Q&A gathering with Carpenter will be held at 11 a.m. and again at 1 p.m. To participate, meet near the check-in table.

Visitors should bring a sun hat or personal umbrella and a filled water bottle. Toting a lunch or snack is allowed, but no dogs, please.

For more information, email both Patricia Carpenter <pcarpenter.flower@gmail.com> and Maya Argaman <margaman@cnps.org>.

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Dig In: Garden Checklist

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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