Holy Guacamole! Did we have a great time in Long Beach!

Eighteen or so of us braved the 405 yesterday morning to visit Rancho Los Cerritos and then Ricardo’s Nursery.   Many of us were so impressed by both that return trips are already being planned.

At the Rancho, docents who had generously boned up on  the parks “rare fruit” ahead of our arrival were able to display the gardens and orchards originally laid out by the groundbreaking SoCal landscape architect Ralph D. Cornell in 1931,  as well as some amazing trees —  including a rambling pomegranate — dating back to the mid 1800s.    Over the past 32 years, the staff horticulturist Marie Barnidge-McIntyre  has been  researching and restoring and maintaining the trees Cornell originally chose.  We got to see such unusual specimens as the Kashlen, Lyon and Puebla avocado trees, a thornless jujube, a huge black locust that was a local landmark for 150 years and California’s original Sweet Orange.  Not to mention the macadamia, loquat, persimmon, dwarf thornless pomegranate and many  many other trees.

Ricardo Ortiz, generously waiting as we straggled in from the Rancho, served us his sorbet made from his amazing Persian mulberries and lectured on both his nursery’s fairly recent swivel to tropical fruit,  lessons he learned in the process and his newfound love of grafting.  We were able to pick fresh Persian mulberries from one of his enormous trees and admire the vanilla orchid in  his greenhouse along with many many other plants in various stages of growth.    Needless to say, a great time was had by all.

Persimmons! with Marc Robbi of Fruitwood Nursery Saturday October 14th @ 10 am

Those of us who order scion wood from the wonderful Fruitwood Nursery up in Orleans, California can’t help being struck by the amazing number of persimmon varieties on offer (69 by  today’s count!) and the grafting knowledge – not to  mention kindness & helpfulness – of Fruitwood’s owners Corrina Cohen and Marc Robbi.  So when chapter members started clamoring for a speaker on persimmons, thoughts immediately turned to Fruitwood.  And now, despite the terror of the over-9000-acre Pearch Creek fire that has threatened Corrina and Marc for more than a month, Marc has agreed (the fire gods willing) to speak to us via Zoom on October 14th.

A little background from the Fruitwood website: “We have been propagating and growing perennial plants for over 40 years and are the former owners of Rolling River Nursery.com, which is now under the new ownership of Planting Justice in Oakland, CA. We are now offering nursery wood and divisions of all the same great plants we sold previously, taken from our mother plantings here at Rolling River Farm in Orleans, CA. Our huge selection of cuttings wood, scionwood, liners, seeds, rootstocks and divisions are available and shipped throughout the lower 48 states, and by special request beyond.  We supply everything the do-it- your- selfer needs to grow your own true to type quality starts of many popular fruiting plants. Growing your own is both fun and also an economical way to create your own edible landscape, orchards and other plantings large or small.

We are also offering custom propagation services such as bench grafting varieties of your choice for growing on by you, and contracting for the production of larger lots of certain varieties that we grow to size for commercial and other plantings. Let us know your needs and we will see how we may help. We can grow starts of most fruiting plants and also contract out to produce many native plants for restoration projects.

As always our growing practices are organic and sustainability oriented, motivated by the desire to contribute to a healthy, diverse and beautiful world for the future generations. We maintain our diverse collection of varieties as an effort to keep the rich genetic heritage inherited from humanity’s past fruit explorers and breeders available to the public and safe from extinction. All sales help to keep these plantings maintained, enlarged and going strong.”

Obviously we could have as easily asked Marc to speak on Apples (of which he sells 251 varieties of scion wood!) or figs (63 varieties!) or pomegranates (59!).  Persimmons however are among the fussiest fruit trees to graft not to mention the most beautiful and most reliable fruiters for us in Southern California, so we are just thrilled to have an expert guide us through the selection of varieties, rootstock, and grafting technique.

So tune in on October 14th at 10 am.  Zoom links will be sent out with member’s newsletters. If you are not a member but wish to participate, please Contact Us.

BTW, do not be deterred by the fact that almost all scion wood is currently listed as Out of Stock on the Fruitwood site.  They have not  yet begun cutting which – per the website – will begin in November.

 

 

 

 

Photo by Yoonbae Cho on Unsplash

LaVerne/Everde Nursery trip rescheduled! 10-22-22 @ 9 am

Obviously not our traditional Second Saturday meeting day (or meeting time for that matter), but we are just so grateful to Dan Nelson for finding another slot for us — after draconian weather forecasts led him and us to cancel the trip in early September.

Temperatures should be much more comfortable for all concerned so make sure to get this onto your calendar pronto.  Unfortunately, we don’t have a plant availability/price list yet but will get it to chapter members as soon as we do.

LaVerne/Everde field trip Saturday 9/10@ 9 am Last Minute Details

By now all chapter members should have received the address and plant price list for our field trip on the 10th.  If you haven’t, please let us know!  Because we are going to be allowed to park on the grounds this year, there will also be an updated address in your meeting reminder later this week.

Please, please, please email the list of your wants to us by Wednesday so we can get them to Laverne in time for them to pull the plants.  They will be waiting for us at the end of the tour.   They have to be paid for in CASH.

If you need more information on the size of the plants, this is a more detailed .pdf.  The dates listed are when the plants, mostly described last week  as SS or substandard, are expected to be up to snuff.  Some of the dates will have already passed by the time we get to Piru and therefore those plants should be full size.  Other dates are as soon as 10/1 but some are not until next year.  Please keep that in mind when making your selections.  You can also see the number of plants available for each size. and their actual dimensions.

Many of you have been startled by how much more expensive the plants are this year than in the past.  We are assuming the skyrocketing prices of gas and water have much to do with that.  Out of curiosity, I stopped by my local Armstrong’s Garden Center today where 5 gallon citrus trees are $59.99 and 5 gallon avocados are $69.99.  Obviously the prices we are being offered are much better than that.

Anyhow, plant acquisitions aside, this is always one of my favorite tours.  Our host, Director of Nursery Operations Dan Nelson, is both knowledgeable and charming and it is always fascinating to see how the pros propagate and grow up some of our most loved plants.

Everde Growers (aka LaVerne Nursery) Field Trip! September 10th @ 9 am (note earlier start)

For the first time in almost three years, we are finally getting up close and personal again with the amazing growing fields (and propagation greenhouse) of  the great wholesale fruit nursery LaVerne . It was recently purchased by Everde Growers but we have been assured the staff and congeniality will remain the same.  This is primarily an outdoor field trip (with the exception of the grafting tables/ greenhouse) so you will  need a hat.  Also there are no restrooms so stake out nearby gas stations!

Exact address and further details will be sent to members as soon as we have them;  as will, of course, a plant availability list for any who want to buy fresh  new plants at wholesale.

 

Photo by Alora Griffiths on Unsplash

CANCELLED! Special Field Trip with LA Chapter: March 21st @ 9 am

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.

Field Trip to La Verne Nursery! November 9th @ 9 am (Note new time)

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.

 

Field Trip to Champa Nursery May 11th @ 10 a.m.

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.

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