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Water-wise demonstration garden coming to Loomis

Placer County master gardeners to break ground on 11,000-square-foot project

This area behind the Loomis Library will become the demonstration garden for the Placer County master gardeners.

This area behind the Loomis Library will become the demonstration garden for the Placer County master gardeners. Photo courtesy Loomis Library

A huge asset for Placer County gardeners – plus those from neighboring counties – is one step closer to reality.

On Tuesday morning, Sept. 19, the UC Cooperative Extension Master Gardeners of Placer County will break ground on their own demonstration garden behind Loomis Library. The public is welcome to the 9:30 a.m. ceremony to learn more about the project.

More than a year in the making, the new garden will replace more than 11,000 square feet of lawn with water-wise landscaping plus a demonstration orchard and edible garden.

“In collaboration with the Town of Loomis and the Loomis Library and Community Center, the Master Gardeners will be transforming an existing lawn into a beautiful water-wise garden showcasing California natives, pollinators, and edible plants,” say the master gardeners. “Opportunities for education in the garden will bring a living classroom to the community.”

It takes a community to create such a large new garden, which is being funded mostly via individual donations. The Placer County Water Agency is contributing about $10,000 in rebates and incentives for turf removal and irrigation upgrades. Wood chips and compost for the new garden will be provided by the Town of Loomis.

The Friends of the Loomis Library also are raising money for the garden through their “Buy a Brick” campaign; the engraved bricks will be used in a permanent garden display. You can support the garden by purchasing an engraved brick at https://www.polarengraving.com/floomisl. The bricks cost $120 ($130 with logo).

Or make a contribution directly to the master gardeners at www.pcmg.ucanr.edu.

As its name implies, the new demonstration garden will show how to grow a water-wise and wildlife-friendly garden that looks good year-round while attracting pollinators such as butterflies and bees as well as supporting birds. The garden also will provide space to grow vegetables, fruit, berries and herbs as part of educational displays.

Besides offering a living showcase of the master gardeners’ work, the project will save a significant amount of water by the replacement of all that old lawn. The garden’s design includes places to hold gardening workshops and other events. Signage will identify all the plants and offer tips for home gardeners.

According to library officials, the master gardeners hope to have the first phases of construction including the lawn removal completed in time for fall planting of California natives.

Loomis Library is located at 6050 Library Drive, Loomis.

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Garden Checklist for week of July 7

Take care of garden chores early in the morning, concentrating on watering. We’re still in survival mode until this heat wave breaks.

* Keep your vegetable garden watered, mulched and weeded. Water before 8 a.m. to conserve moisture.

* Prevent sunburn; provide temporary shade for tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, melons, squash and other crops with “sensitive” skin.

* Hold off on feeding plants until temperatures cool back down to “normal” range. That means daytime highs in the low to mid 90s.

* Don’t let tomatoes wilt or dry out completely. Give tomatoes a deep watering two to three times a week. Harvest vegetables promptly to encourage plants to produce more.

* Squash especially tends to grow rapidly in hot weather. Keep an eye on zucchini.

* Some weeds thrive in hot weather. Whack them before they go to seed.

* Pinch back chrysanthemums for bushy plants and more flowers in September.

* Harvest tomatoes, squash, peppers and eggplant. Prompt picking will help keep plants producing.

* Remove spent flowers from roses, daylilies and other bloomers as they finish flowering.

* Pinch off blooms from basil so the plant will grow more leaves.

* Cut back lavender after flowering to promote a second bloom.

* One good thing about hot days: Most lawns stop growing when temperatures top 95 degrees. Keep mower blades set on high.

* Once the weather cools down a little, it’s not too late to add a splash of color. Plant petunias, snapdragons, zinnias and marigolds.

* After the heat wave, plant corn, pumpkins, radishes, winter squash and sunflowers. Make sure the seeds stay hydrated.

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