Most of us know Mark Steele as the extremely knowledgeable banana expert who has generously shared with us (at both LA and WLA chapter meetings) his vast experience with the AAA and BBB genome groups (and everything in between).
He is also, however, a self-proclaimed Fig Nerd… as witnessed by his co-hosting a major sale of exotic fig plants this past fall. And now we have a rare chance to see both his banana plants and fig tree, as well as citrus, stone fruit, cherimoya, and other fruits he grows.
When not in his garden or chasing his 4-year-old son, Mark is a Professor of Biology at California State University Northridge.
On Saturday, July 10th, he will be taking us on a tour of his yard and discussing the ups and downs of fruit cultivation. While most of us will be tuning in via Zoom, he says he can handle up to 5 warm immunized bodies, so if you would like to attend in person, please let us know. This may well be your once in a lifetime opportunity to head home with some of Mark’s special plants, so attendance will have to be on a first-come, first served basis.
Zoom links, etc will be in members’ forthcoming newsletter. Mark’s address will only be provided to those who make the 5 body cut -off. PLEASE do not claim a spot unless you are 100% you can attend.
Photo by Martin Angelov on Unsplash
Speaker: Lewis Perkins
Coffee is the first sine qua non for many people’s day. What will global warming/climate change do to our elixir? The Economist April 24, 2021 edition reveals a rediscovered Coffea Stenophylla, from the lowland hills of Sierra Leone (also Guinea & Ivory Coast) and written in the 1834 papers of Scottish botanist George Don, which tolerates a higher temperature range of 24-26 C.
Lewis and Tera actually have had coffee made from 3.5 pounds of wet beans grown from a Kona and Java plant in the shade of a reed fence in Santa Monica. Groundwork Coffee Company was kind enough to use an antique sample roaster to make them enough for one pot of light and medium roast brew. Lewis notes that there is a lot of manual labor to remove the cascara by hand and teeth! He also says that good coffee is underpriced by a lot!
Less work and quite tasty is eating the ripe red anti-oxidant fruit before the birds get them. Even if you don’t like brewed coffee, you would likely like the berries.
If you love coffee, this is your chance to learn how to grow your own!
Members should have received their Zoom links by now.
Photos by Pablo Merchán Montes and Rodrigo Flores on Unsplash
Exactly two years ago, our chapter made a memorable visit to a member’s huge orchard out at Point Dume. Attendance was strictly limited and many of you were disappointed not to be able to see the wondrous array of exotic trees and wildlife that Arnie has been patiently tending for years (and brought safely through the Woolsey Fire that totally surrounded it two months after our visit. )
This year, however, thanks to COVID19, you can see the orchard in all its glory… virtually.
Check your member’s newsletter for the Zoom links. We are still working on getting an unlimited Zoom license but for the time being our Zoom meetings are restricted to members. Because we have so many new members since our Plant Sale, our spreadsheet may be a little out of date. If you don’t receive your newsletter within a few days, please let us know.
Please note the different date and early start time from our normal field trips.
Program: The Tony Stewart Memorial Tree Symposium at Sylmar High School
Panel of Experts: Steve List of Sylmar High School, Dan Nelson of La Verne Nursery in Piru, Elliott Kuhn of Cottonwood Urban Farm.
Moderator: Jim Schopper
We will be joining the Los Angeles Chapter for what we hope will be an annual event.
There will be tours of Sylmar High School’s agricultural gardens and hothouse, followed by a Fruit Tree Symposium. The event will conclude with a tree auction, with plants provided by the school and by local nurseries.
The Symposium will include a panel of three experts in unique fields of interest to answer your gardening questions: Steve List, head of the Sylmar High School Agriculture Department and leader of the Urban Gardening Workshop; Dan Nelson, Director of Operations at La Verne Nursery in Piru; and Elliott Kuhn, educator and owner/cultivator of Cottonwood Urban Farm in Panorama City. Questions will be moderated by Jim Schopper, member of the LA Chapter.
A potluck will follow. All members, please bring a dish that serves 8-10 people. Sylmar High School Students studying gardening, planting, and fruit trees will be joining us.
This field trip is for WLA and LA chapter members ONLY. The online address per Google Maps is WRONG. The nursery has been without electricity due to wind/fires. Specific directions and actual available plants will be emailed to you as soon as the nursery can get them to us.
We will have a tour of La Verne Nursery at their huge Piru Facility. La Verne is one of the premier sources of tropical and subtropical fruiting plants in our area. We all probably have at least a plant or two from their nursery. Daniel Nelson, Director of Nursery Operations, will be our tour guide. He will discuss such topics as mass propagation, container culture, and specific care instructions for various fruit trees, as well as answer any questions our members may have. This is a rare chance to see how a large nursery goes about producing many thousands of plants a year and to learn from Dann’s professional expertise. We will be able to see their propagation facilities and techniques. Perhaps we will see how their nursery grafts new scion wood to rootstock.
Although La Verne Nursery does not sell retail, as special guests we will be able to purchase trees after the tour at near-wholesale prices. The last time we purchased trees from La Verne Nursery, the plants were large, healthy, and beautiful! Everyone was immensely pleased with the plants purchased.
You can pre-order any plants that you want (before we get to the nursery). Go online to see what plants are available at: http://www.lavernenursery.com/current-availability.html. This list shows what plants the nursery has in abundance and may not include all the possibilities you will find when you are there. As noted above, we will receive a more complete list of available trees by the end of this week and that list will be emailed to you as soon as it is received. Please note that you cannot order online. Select your plants and email Susan Guggenheim to tell her what plants you want to order.
All sales will be cash; buyers will be responsible for paying for and transporting their own purchases at the end of the tour.
The nursery is some distance from West LA, so plan to carpool. Members of the LA Chapter are welcome. Only CRFG members may attend the field trip.
From our new Field Trip Chair Jane:
“On Saturday September 14 at 10 am, the WLA Chapter will visit the Patient Garden at the Long Beach Veterans Medical Center, 5901 E. 7th Street Long Beach 90822. The garden’s purpose is therapy, rehabilitation, and enjoyment of the veterans. They have a mixture of vegetables, ornamentals and fruit trees; several structures provide for greenhouse, hothouse , and propagation space.
I was surprised that the several members I spoke to didn’t know of its existence; maybe I have had more injured Vets in my life. After the loss of the WLA VA Garden I want to make sure we know about this one before it is ever threatened. The will be no lecture-like tour but perhaps we could talk about land closer to us where we could make some contribution.
Please try to carpool.( At the next meeting I am going to have people clustered by neighborhood to facilitate carpooling in the future.) I will bring our chapter’s big water jug with ice and lemons. PLEASE BRING YOUR OWN CUP, a chair if you can, and fruit to share out of hand.
For a second activity, some carpools might want to go south to Westminster for supermarkets and other fruit markets. Going north I suggest stopping the International Garden Center, 155 N Pacific Coast Highway, El Segundo 90245. Sepulveda becomes N PCH in El Segundo. I treat myself to a visit here when I take someone to LAX. While there is nothing particularly International about it, they have a wide range of products: trees, perennials, fruits, vegetables, seeds, bulbs, and my favorite Annies’ Annuals.
(Enter the VA facility by the 7th Street entrance. Veer to the right and stay to the right making only right turns when a turn is necessary. The garden is in the north/east corner of the campus and parking is on the ride hand side of the street . There is a water tower quite close I always look up to verify my location.)”
This month we will visit Champa Nursery in El Monte. Jimmy Nguyen, the proprietor, has extended a kind welcome to us. Jimmy has over a hundred different varieties of tropical fruit trees in stock (on less than an acre!). Were you looking for that hard-to-find acerola cherry (Barbados cherry)? Jimmy has them! Want a new variety of black sapote? Jimmy has four varieties currently available! Were you anxious to try a sapodilla? Jimmy sells three varieties! He even has three varieties of mamey sapote! At Champa Nursery you will also find six different varieties of carambola, three varieties of canistel, an amazing eight varieties of jackfruit, a dozen varieties of mangoes, three varieties of longan, four varieties of lychee, five varieties of wax jambu, and many many more intriguing fruit trees. Go to their website and start your want list: https://www.champanursery.com. Carpooling is recommended.
Address: 4254 Tyler Ave, El Monte, CA 91311
Directions: Champa Nursery is on the corner of Santa Anita and Tyler Ave., next to the El Monte Airport. Take the I-10 Freeway east to El Monte. Take the Santa Anita Ave. exit (Exit 28) and turn left onto Santa Anita Ave. In just under 1 1/2 miles turn right onto Tyler Ave. Champa Nursery will be on your left.
Okay, so hopefully there will be no snow on the ground, but we are taking the opportunity of visiting a member’s relatively new orchard to discuss our various preparations for winter. Do you do dormant spraying? Do you remove the leaves from your trees in this most unseasonable of winters? How do you train the young trees you planted last bareroot season? How are you getting ready for the trees you will plant this year? How do you prepare your orchard for the (fingers crossed) winter rains? There will be plenty of time to tour the garden but also yak. Come with ideas!
Oh, do you guys have a treat in store! We are going to Paradise Nursery in Chatsworth. This is a family-owned nursery that propagates and grows its own beautiful trees (primarily fruit, including many Persian specialties you won’t find elsewhere). Plus many of their trees are ENORMOUS! Walking around the grounds is sort of like walking through a forest, and it gives you a rare chance to see what your trees will look like full grown. Paradise of course also carries trees small enough to fit in the back of my Toyota Corolla, so don’t think you won’t also be able to bring home trophies from the hunt.
Cribbing shamelessly from their website :
“(Owner) Dr. Majid Jahanbin is an Agricultural Engineer with a doctorate from the University of Bologna, Italy. He fell in love with plants at the age of seven, while visiting his father’s farm in Abadan, Iran. He has over 50 years of professional experience and hosts a popular radio show on 670AM KIRN, giving gardening tips and taking questions on air in Farsi.
His son Ashkan Jahanbin now runs the nursery and is a horticulturalist with degrees in Landscape Architecture and Environmental Horticultural from California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo. Ashkan consults and designs edible gardens and home orchards that are beautiful, enjoyable, and environmentally sustainable.”
Ash has kindly agreed to meet with us and answer any questions we have about his trees. There is parking; but on a Saturday morning it might be somewhat limited, so car pooling is highly suggested.
Also fellow chapter member Alex Silber’s Papaya Tree Nursery is only a couple of freeway exits away from Paradise and if you have never been there, it would be well worth your time to arrange with Alex to stop in before or after. Since he operates quite literally out of his family’s backyard, he can’t take all of us but said he would welcome individuals who call him first.
We will be visiting a member’ orchard all the way out on Point Dume. This is a long and physically challenging tour with limited space, so it is absolutely restricted to members only. RSVPs are required and can be made by using the form below. Once your chapter membership is verified, you will receive the exact address.
PLEASE do not RSVP if you only think you might be coming. Our host requires an accurate count. If we receive more RSVPs than he can comfortably handle, the tour will be repeated in March for the overflow.
Note: If you RSVP and then fail to show up, thereby depriving someone else the opportunity, you will not be allowed to come in March.
[contact-form-7 404 "Not Found"]