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Spring offers a packed calendar of area garden tours

Gardens' best finery on display in fundraisers and free events

Native plants in the Gardens Gone Native tour typically are marked with explanatory signs, as in this Carmichael garden on the 2023 tour. This year's tour, which will include more than 30 sites in Sacramento and Yolo counties, will be Saturday, April 27.

Native plants in the Gardens Gone Native tour typically are marked with explanatory signs, as in this Carmichael garden on the 2023 tour. This year's tour, which will include more than 30 sites in Sacramento and Yolo counties, will be Saturday, April 27. Kathy Morrison

 If you're a fan of garden tours -- and what gardener isn't? -- there's a packed schedule during the next two months in the Sacramento region. Many of the events are fundraisers for area groups or schools, featuring lush gardens, impressive landscaping and often extras such as refreshments, gift shops and plants for sale.

One event in particular, the Gardens Gone Native tour, is free and designed to spread the word about using California native plants in a home or school landscape.

The dates come up quickly, and some tours sell out, so it's best to plan ahead. Here's a quick rundown of the tours we know about; more information will be available as the dates approach.

-- April 27, Curtis Park Home & Garden Tour. Tickets already are on sale for this tour, a fundraiser for the Sierra 2 Center and the Sierra Curtis Neighborhood Association. The five homes include a Crocker Village estate and a "tiki hut" garage conversion. A parade of classic cars by the Capitol A’s Model A Ford Club is part of the event, which runs from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.. Curtis Park itself will be the site of food trucks, information displays and live jazz. Tickets can be purchased online here.

-- April 27, Gardens Gone Native, presented by the Sac Valley Chapter of the California Native Plant Society. This self-guided tour from 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. is free but registration is requested. Sign up here and receive a map and tour brochure about a week before the tour. Hint: It's impossible to see all 30-plus gardens in one day, so when the map is released, plan a driving route. I like to choose a neighborhood I haven't explored before. And don't be afraid to ask questions about the plants and the gardener's choices.

-- April 27-28, Gardens of Folsom. The Folsom Garden Club presents its 22nd annual tour of Folsom gardens. Seven private gardens, plus two bonus gardens, are on this year's tour. Artists will be active in the gardens, and the event also includes a raffle, a plant sale, a bake sale and food trucks. Garden experts will be on duty to answer questions. Tickets are $20, available starting April 1. Information available here.

-- May 5, Annual Pence Gallery Garden Tour. The nonprofit art gallery in downtown Davis presents a Sunday tour featuring five private gardens in the university town. As befitting its sponsor and beneficiary, the tour features artists painting in each of the featured gardens. Tickets are $25-25, and go on sale April 5. Information available here. Note: This comes the day after a different Davis tour on May 4, the Stories on Stage Garden Tour that Debbie wrote about this week. See her post here.

-- May 5, Colonial Heights Garden Tour. This Sunday tour is presented by the Colonial Heights Neighborhood Association. The charming Sacramento neighborhood east of Stockton Boulevard dates to 1910. Colonial Park will be the headquarters for the event, which also will feature vendors and a plant/seed swap. Information here

-- May 11-12, East Sac Garden Tour. Tickets go on sale April 1 for this very popular tour, a Mother's Day weekend tradition. A fundraiser for David Lubin Elementary School, this walkable tour of beautiful East Sacramento gardens also features extras including a gift boutique, a cafe and the Sutter Lawn Wine Garden. Information is available here.

-- May 18, Tahoe Park Garden Tour. The Sacramento neighborhood again will host a tour of a variety of gardens, including drought-tolerant ones. Tickets and information are available here.

Also of note: CNPS Ambassador Patricia Carpenter typically opens her garden for a Late Spring Ramble on a Sunday in latter May. The tour is free but requires registration; signups are not yet available.


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Garden Checklist for week of April 21

This week there’s plenty to keep gardeners busy. With no rain in the immediate forecast, remember to irrigate any new transplants.

* Weed, weed, weed! Get them before they flower and go to seed.

* April is the last chance to plant citrus trees such as dwarf orange, lemon and kumquat. These trees also look good in landscaping and provide fresh fruit in winter.

* Smell orange blossoms? Feed citrus trees with a low dose of balanced fertilizer (such as 10-10-10) during bloom to help set fruit. Keep an eye out for ants.

* Apply slow-release fertilizer to the lawn.

* Thoroughly clean debris from the bottom of outdoor ponds or fountains.

* Spring brings a flush of rapid growth, and that means your garden is really hungry. Feed shrubs and trees with a slow-release fertilizer. Or mulch with a 1-inch layer of compost.

* Azaleas and camellias looking a little yellow? If leaves are turning yellow between the veins, give them a boost with chelated iron.

* Trim dead flowers but not leaves from spring-flowering bulbs such as daffodils and tulips. Those leaves gather energy to create next year's flowers. Also, give the bulbs a fertilizer boost after bloom.

* Pinch chrysanthemums back to 12 inches for fall flowers. Cut old stems to the ground.

* Mulch around plants to conserve moisture and control weeds.

* From seed, plant beans, beets, cantaloupes, carrots, corn, cucumbers, melons, radishes and squash.

* Plant onion sets.

* In the flower garden, plant seeds for asters, cosmos, celosia, marigolds, salvia, sunflowers and zinnias.

* Transplant petunias, zinnias, geraniums and other summer bloomers.

* Plant perennials and dahlia tubers for summer bloom.

* Mid to late April is about the last chance to plant summer bulbs, such as gladiolus and tuberous begonias.

* Transplant lettuce seedlings. Choose varieties that mature quickly such as loose leaf.

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