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Learn how to prune roses better, faster

Sierra Foothills Rose Society offers free workshop with expert hands-on advice

In a previous workshop, Baldo Villegas demonstrates his pruning technique while Charlotte Owendyk assists and holds the microphone.

In a previous workshop, Baldo Villegas demonstrates his pruning technique while Charlotte Owendyk assists and holds the microphone. Courtesy Sierra Foothills Rose Society

Need to sharpen your pruning skills? Here’s a great opportunity to learn how to prune your roses faster and better – and taste some great chili, too.

On Saturday, Jan. 13, the Sierra Foothills Rose Society will host its annual Winter Care Workshop for Roses, featuring master rosarians Baldo Villegas, Linda Knowles and Charlotte Owendyk. To be held at the Orangevale Grange Auditorium, the free workshop starts at 8:30 a.m. with registration. The seminar starts at 9 a.m. and includes hands-on practice as well as demonstrations.

“Practice under the watchful eye of experienced rosarians who prune hundreds of their own roses,” say the organizers. “When you leave, you will confidently prune your roses!”

Make that “thousands” of roses; Baldo grows more than 3,000 bushes at his Orangevale home.

Proper pruning produces more and bigger flowers. It also helps reinvigorate rose bushes and makes for a healthier garden with less if any pesticides.

The morning-long session wraps up with a chili cookoff at 12:30 p.m. Participants vote for the best chili while also having an opportunity to get advice from the society’s rose experts one on one.

Highlight of this workshop is always Baldo’s demonstration of his “Three-Minute Pruning Method.” He’ll show how to prune a full-size hybrid tea in three minutes – and often less – by looking at the plant from the base up. By identifying the canes to keep first, the job becomes much simpler.

Instructors also will share advice on pruning tools as well as how to control pests and diseases in the garden (an important part of why we prune roses every year).

No advance registration is needed and the public is welcome. Bring gloves and bypass pruners.

Orangevale Grange is located at 5807 Walnut Ave., Orangevale.

For more on Sierra Foothills Rose Society: www.sierrafoothillsrosesociety.org.

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Garden Checklist for week of April 14

It's still not warm enough to transplant tomatoes directly in the ground, but we’re getting there.

* 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 needs nutrients. Fertilize 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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