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Sacramento begonia show, sale celebrates 75th anniversary

Find hundreds of unusual, colorful shade-loving plants at free event

Nature's an endlessly fascinating designer, especially when it comes to leaves of rex begonias like the one here. See plenty of gorgeous plants at the annual American Begonia Society Show and Sale this weekend.

Nature's an endlessly fascinating designer, especially when it comes to leaves of rex begonias like the one here. See plenty of gorgeous plants at the annual American Begonia Society Show and Sale this weekend. Photo courtesy Sacramento Branch of the American Begonia Society

One of Sacramento’s favorite shade-loving plants is having its moment in the spotlight.

This weekend (Sept. 9 and 10) is all about begonias as the Joan Coulat Sacramento Branch of the American Begonia Society celebrates its 75th anniversary show and sale at Shepard Garden and Arts Center in McKinley Park.

With a nod to its milestone, the show’s theme is “Diamonds in the Shade.” In their diverse foliage and flower forms, begonias are true garden gems that thrive in Sacramento shade.

Open free to the public, the show highlights gorgeous specimen plants grown by club members. It’s also an opportunity to get expert advice on how to nurture these plants in your own garden.

The club’s annual fundraiser, the sale is always a huge draw, featuring hundreds of unusual and eye-catching plants. Club members go to great efforts to offer begonias not available from local sources.

In particular, find a great selection of rex begonias with foliage in a rainbow of colors and patterns. (They’re called “painted begonias” because each leaf looks like a living masterpiece.) Some even shimmer with a silvery patina.

Besides the amazing rex begonias, the sale features cane-type “Angel Wing” begonias as well as rhizomatous-type begonias and mini-begonias that prefer life in terrariums.

Show and sale hours are 1 to 5 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 9, and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 10. Come early for the best selection.

Shepard Center is located at 3330 McKinley Blvd., Sacramento.

Details and directions: www.sgaac.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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