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McKinley Park rose garden needs volunteers

More pruning events set for Saturdays throughout January

This is what the McKinley Park Memorial Rose Garden will look like come spring. But first, all those rose bushes require pruning -- by volunteers.

This is what the McKinley Park Memorial Rose Garden will look like come spring. But first, all those rose bushes require pruning -- by volunteers. Debbie Arrington

Love to prune? Want to learn? McKinley Park’s famous Memorial Rose Garden is the place to be.

Volunteers are needed to finish pruning the beloved garden’s 1,200 roses – then maintain the roses through spring and summer.

No advance registration is needed. Just show up with thorn-resistant gloves, closed-toe shoes and maybe rain gear; these events are rain or shine.

Pruning sessions will start at 8:30 a.m. every Saturday in January plus Feb. 10 and 17. In addition, the pruning crew will be out at 8:30 Wednesday, Jan. 17. After a morning of pruning, the volunteers are provided lunch.

“Volunteers should plan to meet at the Rose Garden,” say the organizers. “Tools, gloves and instruction will be provided. Please dress appropriately for working outdoors, including closed-toe shoes.”

On the south edge of McKinley Park, the Frederick N. Evans Memorial Rose Garden – named for Sacramento’s first parks superintendent – is located on H Street between Alhambra Boulevard and 33rd Street in East Sacramento. Originally planted in 1929, the rose garden replaced what was a running track (hence its oblong shape). In 2012, the bushes were almost entirely replaced with newer, disease-resistant varieties.

For the pruning events, volunteers are asked to assemble at the park’s Rose Garden Room, the small structure located on the north side of the garden. The sessions are expected to last until 11:30 a.m. each day.

McKinley Park's rose garden also needs volunteers to help maintain the bushes throughout their blooming season.

Questions? Email or


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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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