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Learn keys to gardening success with native plants

El Dorado County master gardeners offer free workshop

This native California poppy isn't even completely open and already five little pollinators -- tripartite sweat bees -- are working hard inside, gathering pollen. Native plants attract native wildlife.

This native California poppy isn't even completely open and already five little pollinators -- tripartite sweat bees -- are working hard inside, gathering pollen. Native plants attract native wildlife. Kathy Morrison

Fall is the perfect time to add more native plants to your landscape. But which ones? And what can you do to help them thrive?
Learn how during a free workshop offered at 9 a.m. Saturday, Aug. 26, by the UCCE Master Gardeners of El Dorado County at the Sherwood Demonstration Garden.

Led by Alice Cantelow, “Successful Gardening with Native Plants” will cover the basics of embracing water-wise natives while also supporting wildlife. Sherwood’s native plant garden is full of examples of easy-care perennials and shrubs that thrive in the Sierra foothills and Sacramento area.

“Do you love wildlife, pollinators, and birds, and would like to enjoy their activities in your landscape?” reads the class description. “Are you ready to lower your water bill, and spend less on fertilizers and pesticides as well? Alice Cantelow will teach you how to choose and add colorful, easy-care native plants to your garden.”

That’s a lot to cover, so it will be a full morning; the workshop runs from 9 a.m. to noon. Bring water and dress appropriately. No advance registration is necessary.

That same Saturday morning, Sherwood will be open for visitors during an Open Garden Day. During a workshop break, take a peek at its 16 themed gardens and get expert advice from master gardeners.

Sherwood Demonstration Garden is located at 6699 Campus Drive, Placerville.

Details and directions: https://mgeldorado.ucanr.edu/.

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Garden Checklist for week of May 19

Temperatures will be a bit higher than normal in the afternoons this week. Take care of chores early in the day – then enjoy the afternoon. It’s time to smell the roses.

* Plant, plant, plant! It’s prime planting season in the Sacramento area. If you haven’t already, it’s time to set out those tomato transplants along with peppers and eggplants. Pinch off any flowers on new transplants to make them concentrate on establishing roots instead of setting premature fruit.

* Direct-seed melons, cucumbers, summer squash, corn, radishes, pumpkins and annual herbs such as basil.

* Harvest cabbage, lettuce, peas and green onions.

* In the flower garden, direct-seed sunflowers, cosmos, salvia, zinnias, marigolds, celosia and asters.

* Plant dahlia tubers. Other perennials to set out include verbena, coreopsis, coneflower and astilbe.

* Transplant petunias, marigolds and perennial flowers such as astilbe, columbine, coneflowers, coreopsis, dahlias, rudbeckia and verbena.

* Keep an eye out for slugs, snails, earwigs and aphids that want to dine on tender new growth.

* Feed summer bloomers with a balanced fertilizer.

* For continued bloom, cut off spent flowers on roses as well as other flowering plants.

* Don’t forget to water. Seedlings need moisture. Deep watering will help build strong roots and healthy plants.

* Add mulch to the garden to help keep that precious water from evaporating. Mulch also cuts down on weeds. But don’t let it mound around the stems or trunks of trees or shrubs. Leave about a 6-inch to 1-foot circle to avoid crown rot or other problems.

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