It's a friendly rivalry that stretches from year to year.
Each fall, master gardeners in Sacramento and Placer counties release new calendars and gardening guides, separately tailored to their individual locales. Both calendars are available online as well as for sale at special events and local nurseries.
In trying to give their gardening patrons something different, the two groups this year independently hit on the same theme: gardening myths.
"We had no idea," said Pauline Sakai, Placer's calendar co-chairman. "There was no communication between the two teams. It blew my mind."
Said Mindy Cecchettini, Sacramento's marketing director, "It is interesting. It certainly wasn't planned. But it's a broad topic. There are a lot of myths out there."
Celebrating its 30th anniversary, the Placer County Master Gardeners issued a 13-month (January to January) 2013 Gardener's Companion titled "Garden Myths Busted!"
Thinking along the same garden path, the Sacramento County Master Gardeners published the "2013 Gardening Guide and Calendar: Gardens De-Myth-tified."
Both groups are part of the UC Cooperative Extension but work as separate organizations. Showing the range of their topic, the two calendar teams came up with very different sets of myths.
Take January, for example.
Sacramento tackles this myth: "Wound dressing helps tree pruning cuts heal and prevents pest damage." (The statement is false; sealing in moisture decay, wound dressing promotes damage and prevents healing, say the master gardeners.)
Meanwhile, Placer County dealt with this maxim: "Always select plants that are rated for your hardiness zone." (That's true with exceptions.)
With an eye toward the seasons, the two groups bust myth after myth with very little overlap.
"When we premiered the calendar at Harvest Day, we heard lots of comments 'My grandmother used to do that' or 'My granddad always did that,' " Cecchettini said. "This dispels some of those things that, by experience or research, we now know don't really work well."
Filled with attractive garden photos, both publications are far more than calendars. They're packed with useful gardening information.
Sacramento's guide features monthly rainfall and temperature averages, irrigation pointers, links to University of California pest notes, glossary, basics for beginners and a detailed, month-by-month planting guide.
Placer's gardening companion offers day-by-day tips and to-do lists, and a guide to online and print resources. In addition, Placer County offers something new: a fresh produce reminder.
"What's at the Market" lists the locally grown fruit and vegetables shoppers should expect to find each month in stores and farmers markets.
As its extra, Sacramento's calendar offers monthly day-trip suggestions to area nature preserves and local public gardens such as the Phoenix Field Vernal Pools and Rio Linda's Pioneer Memorial Rose Garden.
Both publications stress the same thing: garden education.
"That's our primary goal," Cecchettini said. "This is good educational material. It resonates with the public. They want to see tested, well-researched advice."
Said Sakai, "We have a following now. People actually look for our calendar. Outreach is our No. 1 goal. And the money also helps support our programs."
Mums the word
This weekend, the Sacramento Chrysanthemum Society celebrates its 65th birthday with hundreds of eye-catching mums some of them 6 to 8 inches across. The gigantic blooms will compete for top honors at the society's annual show at the Shepard Garden and Arts Center.
"We're having a really late bloom this year, but with the change in the weather, we should have lots of flowers on the tables," said co-chair Martha Hackett of Orangevale.
In addition to the bloom competition, the show features many flower arrangements with themes inspired by the society's age such as "Seniors on Skateboards," "Snow Birds," "There's Less Spring in Our Step" and "Where Are My Pills?"
Jeff MacDonald, who won several awards at last weekend's 69th annual National Chrysanthemum Society show near Portland, Ore., will be among the arrangers.
Which will be best of those mum-packed interpretations? That will be up to the public to decide. Patrons at the show will vote for Best of Show arrangement honors.
Mum lovers can take home flowers and plants this weekend, too, with a large selection offered for sale at the show.
The timing is right. Symbolic of compassion and friendship, chrysanthemums are the traditional flower of November. And that's no myth.
65TH ANNUAL SACRAMENTO CHRYSANTHEMUM SOCIETY SHOW AND SALE
Where: Shepard Garden and Arts Center, 3330 McKinley Blvd., Sacramento
When: 1-4 p.m. today, 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Sunday
Details: (916) 988-6081
MASTER GARDENER CALENDARS
Get your Sacramento County Master Gardeners 2013 Gardening Guide and Calendar ($11 plus shipping) online at: ucanr.org/sites/sacmg. The calendar also is available at the UC Cooperative Extension office, 4145 Branch Center Road, Sacramento, and at the following nurseries and garden stores: The Gifted Gardener, Capital Nursery, Green Acres, Fair Oaks Boulevard Nursery and Talini's.
Placer County Master Gardeners 13-month calendar and gardener's companion ($10 or five for $40) will be available at the master gardeners' booth at the Mountain Mandarin Festival, Nov. 16-18. The calendar also will be sold at two dozen locations in Placer, El Dorado and Nevada counties including Bushnell Gardens, High Hand and Eisley's nurseries (prices will vary). For the full list or to order the calendar online (for $13 including shipping), go to pcmg.ucanr.org.