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Master gardeners host Open Garden Days in two locations

Get advice from experts in Sacramento and El Dorado counties

The blueberries are ripening at the Fair Oaks Horticulture Center -- and the bushes are protected from birds by this extensive netting system. Discover this and lots more during the Open Garden on Saturday.

The blueberries are ripening at the Fair Oaks Horticulture Center -- and the bushes are protected from birds by this extensive netting system. Discover this and lots more during the Open Garden on Saturday.

Kathy Morrison

Need some gardening inspiration – or advice? Saturday, May 20, is your opportunity to get expert help at UCCE master gardener events in two counties.

Both Sacramento County and El Dorado County master gardeners are hosting Open Garden Days on Saturday morning at their respective demonstration gardens. These special events are open to the public and offer a chance to watch these experts in action and ask gardening questions.

“Open Gardens are informal free events where you roam the gardens, watch what we are doing, see what we are growing and ask questions,” say the Sacramento County master gardeners.

“Bring samples of your problem plants, mystery pests and questions to the ‘Ask the Master Gardeners’ information table. Get one-on-one advice based on the most recent research-based sustainable practices.”

From 9 a.m. to noon, the El Dorado County master gardeners will be stationed at Sherwood Demonstration Garden, 6699 Campus Drive, Placerville.

It’s a chance for the public to get “a hands-on, interactive experience about research-based, sustainable gardening practices specific to the west slope of El Dorado County, appropriate for all ages and cultures, and reflective of a variety of environments and gardening experiences.”

The Sherwood Garden features 16 individual demonstrations gardens range from the Shade Garden to the Rock Garden. Especially popular right now is the newly planted vegetable garden. (Remember: No dogs allowed.)


Also 9 a.m. to noon Saturday, the Sacramento County master gardeners will open the gates of Fair Oaks Horticulture Center, 11549 Fair Oaks Blvd., Fair Oaks, in Fair Oaks Park.

“Bring your family and friends to see the new spring growth in our spaces for ideas to use in yours,” say the organizers. “From vegetables in raised beds, grapes grown in barrels, fragrant herbs, or espaliered fruit trees. You will be delighted you came, and inspired for spring planting.”

Among the specific highlights Saturday:

Herbs: Culinary herbs are in full display for bedding ideas. Smell the scented geraniums, and ask about the newest herb plantings, which are so new they don't have labels yet.

Orchard: Ask how the Orchard Team is transitioning the old part of the orchard to some new  trees. Find out what happened to the espaliered O'Henry peach tree up on the hill (above the berries) and learn how the winter weather was involved.

Berry Garden: See the many varieties of blueberries, blackberries and raspberries for our region, and learn how they're netted to protect the crop

Vegetable Garden: The All-America Selections display garden is planted for summer. Check out which varieties of tomatoes were chosen. See the new potato-growing area, which replaced the straw-bale garden.

Vineyard: See the prodigious growth on some of the grapevines, and learn about the newest varieties planted.

Compost Area: Watch a demonstration on how to collect worm castings.

Water-Efficient Landscape: See native and well-adapted shrubs and grasses on display; see what's blooming now that the weather has warmed.



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Dig In: Garden Checklist

For week of June 4:

Because of the comfortable weather, it’s not too late to set out tomato and pepper seedlings as well as squash and melon plants. They’ll appreciate this not-too-hot weather. Just remember to water.

* From seed, plant corn, pumpkins, radishes, melons, squash and sunflowers.

* Plant basil to go with your tomatoes.

* Transplant summer annuals such as petunias, marigolds and zinnias.

* It’s also a good time to transplant perennial flowers including astilbe, columbine, coneflowers, coreopsis, dahlias, rudbeckia, salvia and verbena.

* Let the grass grow longer. Set the mower blades high to reduce stress on your lawn during summer heat. To cut down on evaporation, water your lawn deeply during the wee hours of the morning, between 2 and 8 a.m.

* Tie up vines and stake tall plants such as gladiolus and lilies. That gives their heavy flowers some support.

* Dig and divide crowded bulbs after the tops have died down.

* Feed summer flowers with a slow-release fertilizer.

* Mulch, mulch, mulch! This “blanket” keeps moisture in the soil longer and helps your plants cope during hot weather.

* Thin grapes on the vine for bigger, better clusters later this summer.

* Cut back fruit-bearing canes on berries.

* Feed camellias, azaleas and other acid-loving plants.

* Trim off dead flowers from rose bushes to keep them blooming through the summer. Roses also benefit from deep watering and feeding now. A top dressing of aged compost will keep them happy. It feeds as well as keeps roots moist.

* Pinch back chrysanthemums for bushier plants with many more flowers in September.

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