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.

 

Scion Exchange/Grafting Demos/Hands On Class February 9th

Yes, our biggest meeting of the year is just about upon us.   And for 2019, we are finally providing what has long been requested:  a chance  for you yourself to take a shot at grafting under the eyes of an expert.

We are also going to provide  intimate, close-up-and-personal  grafting demos by having four different experts each holding down his own table and teaching a variety of different grafts , the Cleft Graft, the Budding Graft, the Veneer Graft, etc.

The meeting will be in the MultiPurpose Room of the Culver City Veterans Memorial  complex.  The schedule will be as follows:

9:30-10 –  Registration, waiver signing, the Bringing In and Arranging of the Scion Wood (Click here to access a .pdf on how to collect and store scion wood from  your orchard)  Please place each variety in its own ziploc bag and label it!  Also, if you intend to collect wood at our exchange, bring more ziplocs, and a Magic Marker to label your precious finds.

NOTE:  Because of huanglongbing disease, NO CITRUS scion wood, fruit or roostock should be brought to the meeting or otherwise moved around the state.

10-10:30 – The Grafting Demos (you are encouraged to watch each of them, but obviously you can camp for the duration in front of Fang Liu, for example, if you are trying to master the veneer graft)

10:30-11 – Members allowed to select scion wood

11-11:30 – Non-members allowed to select scion wood

11:30-noon Hands on Grafting Classes with our Experts

Note:  while we will have knives, parafilm and grafting tape on hand, we will not necessarily  have enough rootstock and matching scion wood for all comers to take home an actual grafted tree.   The classes are designed to teach you the craft, period.  Odds are we will have a lot of avocado rootstock and  a lot of pear scion wood.  Despite the fact that avocados are sometimes referred to as Alligator Pears, this WILL NOT work.  Plus, your beautiful graft may be lopped off and replaced by the next student.

If you have a rootstock and scion wood of your own, however, that you want to learn to “marry” for life, feel free to bring ’em.

LET IT ROT! August 11th @ 10 am

Denise  “Deni” Friese of Custom Landscapes (whose services include eco-friendly design, consultation and installation) will speak to us on August 11th about composting and mulching in the orchard.   If you heard her at our last field trip/workshop, you know she is incredibly knowledgeable.  This time she will have the floor mostly to herself (though I’m sure our membership will be contributing their voices and experience as well.)

[Deni adds: “I am an Eco-Friendly Landscaper, own business since 1995, I do design, consultation, installation, specialty maintenance and irrigation. Love putting in edible gardens. My specialty is knowing plants and what they need to thrive. I try to help my clients design their own “dream yard”. I have been a Plant-a-holic for many years and have way too many plants. Joined CRFG a few years ago and love it]

Also the renowned Charles Portney will be describing rare  fruit trees he has propagated and will be generously donating to the day’s plant raffle.  These raffles seem to be shaping up as only semiannual  events so don’t miss this one!  The next one probably won’t be until our Holiday Party in December.

On the same note, if you have plants of your own to donate, this is the time.   And if you happen to have any treepots (the tall skinny pots used for rooting plants with long taproots, they come between 8” and 14” deep) Charles desperately needs them to continue his generous work.  They look like this.

And per usual, snacks to share will always be welcome. Now that Jane has donated a lovely glass beverage holder, we will be having something to drink at most meetings, so either homegrown fruit or hand-held crunchy things will be appreciated by one and all.

Pictures from our scion exchange

David King runs the Learning Garden at Venice High and also teaches the Plant Propagation class at UCLA extension.  Each year he brings students to our Scion Exchange, and this  year, they sent us a lovely note of thanks!  And photos!  Thank you, kids,  for being a great part of our group.  And thank you, volunteer grafter/speakers.  The depicted grafter is our pineapple guava expert, Glen Woodmansee.

Field Trip March 10th @ 9 am: Fruit Tree Symposium withTom Spellman

In a joint field trip with the LA Chapter, we will be the beneficiaries of the experience and wisdom of the famous Tom Spellman of Dave Wilson Nurseries.   Tom is  a specialist in backyard fruit growing, and author/lecturer on topics near to our heart, such as Low-Chill Winners for successful fruit production,  The Art of Successive Ripening and Recommendations for Multiple Planting

He will be speaking at Sylmar High School in a program that will include tours of the school’s agricultural gardens and hothouse, plus one of the pot lucks for which the LA Chapter is so famous.  Come on, West LA!  Time to get those pans out and rise to the challenge.   If the past is any indication, Tom will also be bringing trees for raffle.

Note that space for this field trip is extremely limited and attendance is absolutely restricted to members of the LA and West LA chapters.

 

Grafting demos/Scion Exchange February 10th

Our famous annual Grafting Demos and Scion Exchange will take place on February 10th in the Multi-Purpose Room and its adjacent Patio at the Culver City Veterans Memorial Building.

We will have demonstrations of three grafting techniques, including the use of the common cleft graft (such as you would use with stone fruit), the side veneer graft (such as you would use for avocados) and the traditional whip-and-tongue graft.  You will be able to get up close and observe every detail of these techniques.  Our grafters will be available to answer your grafting questions.

With grafting, you can build your own fruit tree, with multiple varieties of apples, peaches, pears, sapotes, cherimoyas, etc.  You can even have peaches, nectarines, plums, and pluots on the same tree, or almonds on one side of your tree and plums on the other.  You can completely graft over a non-productive variety (called topworking).  With grafting, the possibilities are almost unlimited.

 We will also have our annual scion wood exchange, so please bring your scion wood to share.  If we all bring wood, we should have many different varieties from many different trees.  If you have rootstock growing in small pots, please bring them to the meeting and take home a grafted plant or share your rootstock with others.  Remember to bring extra bags, labels, and a marker for the scion wood you collect!

At the exchange, please limit your selections to two of any variety until everyone has had an opportunity to collect wood.  Then feel free to go back.   Please do not collect wood you do not plan to use. By the way, members who have paid for 2018 and who bring in scions to share will get first choice of scion wood that they want to use in their own gardens.  So, if you haven’t renewed for 2018 (both WLA and CRFG, Inc.), now might be a good time to send your dues to Andrée.

To minimize chaos and give our speakers the respect they deserve, we are adopting the following schedule.

10:00 – 10:15: Registration and scion wood donation

10:15 to 11:15: Demonstrations of grafting on the patio

11:15 to 11:30: Scion exchange open to members in the Multi-Purpose Room

11:30 to 11:45: Scion exchange open to non-members in the Multi-Purpose Room

No one will be allowed to enter the Multi-Purpose Room during the grafting demonstrations (unless it rains).

 Note: There will also be a sale of quite sizable Blue Passionflower vines grown by one of our members, Terry Brockert. These are considered a great pollinator for other passionflower vines.  You can read more about them here.

Fruit tree pruning demo January 6th @ 10 am (note the earlier date!)

We will start 2018 with a great Pruning Demonstration by WLA member Pieter Severynen, a professional arborist and landscape architect. Pieter is a California licensed landscape architect and ISA certified arborist. He has been working with fruit trees for over 40 years. He studied subtropical agriculture in the Netherlands, where he received his pruning diploma from the State Agricultural College in Deventer. He graduated in landscape architecture from the University of California at Berkeley. After a career in land planning with the US Department of Housing and Urban Development, he set up his own landscape architect and consulting arborist office in Los Angeles.

Pieter’s company, Pieter Severynen Associates, specializes in the establishment and pruning of sustainable organic orchards and fruit trees, aiming for high yield and maximum enjoyment. His company provides two key services: 1) Arboriculture: consulting on trees and landscaping, and 2) Landscape Architecture: outdoor environment & garden design. Pieter provides on-site advice on selecting climate- appropriate trees and plants and keeping them healthy for a very long time, using minimum water and fertilizer, while keeping gardens sustainable with minimum impact on the environment.

Pieter has taught at UCLA Extension, written articles for various newsletters, and blogged “Tree of the Week” articles for the LA Times. He teaches classes in and publicly speaks on arboriculture, planning, environmental subjects, gardening, urban forestry, and fruit tree pruning and maintenance. He has been the Director of Planning and Design for North East Trees, a nonprofit Los Angeles environmental design/build firm that practices urban forestry, watershed rehabilitation, park design and community stewardship.

The demonstration will be hosted at the lovely home garden of member Sue Oppenheimer. Thank you in advance, Sue!

If you have trees, then you need to prune. If you need to prune, then you need to see Pieter’s demonstration! Bring any pruning questions you have because this is your chance to have them answered by a professional.

Holiday Party! Saturday December 9th @ 2 pm

Okay, so there probably won’t be fireworks.  But there will be yummies.

 

And, yes Virginia, there will be plants!

 

Our annual CRFG holiday shindig will be held this year at the beautiful Rotunda Room of the Culver City Veterans Memorial Building. 

 

 

In keeping with CRFG tradition, this will be a potluck.  Please bring your most festive dish.

 

It should also be our biggest and most exciting plant sale of the year, so start grooming those seedlings, rootlings, grafts and other rare-fruit-growing items to gladden the hearts of your fellow members (and also increase our decidedly non-profit coffers).

Jane, who is running the plant sale, has asked that you label your contributions which will make it easier for winners for find your precious babies.  This needn’t be anything fancy:  a popsicle stick with a pencil inscription is fine.  As is a length of painters tape stuck on each pot.   If you are bringing dozens of the same plant, you could also group them under a single sign.

In addition we will have a return of our popular “Ask the Experts”.  A panel of some of the most knowledgeable fruit growers on the planet (or at least west of the 405) will be on hand to answer your questions.

Please notice this month’s change to a far-more-civilized time.  See you there!

GROWING BANANAS IN SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA!

WHEN:  August 12th @ 10 am (promptly!)

LOCATION: Multipurpose Room, Veterans Memorial Building, 4117 Overland Ave., Culver City 90230

Mark Steele, a CRFG member and a member of the Los Angeles chapter, is an avid fruit grower who lives in Ventura.  His small yard is packed with various fruiting plants, especially bananas.  He currently grows about 20 different varieties of bananas, most of which he has succeeded in fruiting.  He became obsessed with bananas after receiving one as a birthday gift from a friend about seven years ago.

Mark is a professor of biology at CSU Northridge where he teaches various marine biology classes and does research of marine fishes.  His talk will cover the basics of banana biology and provide advice about varieties that do well in Southern California and how to grow them.

If you have eaten a home-grown banana, you know that they are very much sweeter and tastier than those you buy in the grocery store.  According to the CRFG Fruit Facts, bananas are “fast-growing herbaceous perennials arising from underground rhizomes,” not trees.  They are a plant that can be grown quite successfully here in Southern California if they are given proper soil conditions and are protected from temperatures below freezing.  Mark will tell us more about how to do this successfully.

Plan to come and learn a lot more about growing bananas!

Also please bring fruit and other treats to share with our members.

Please bring any plants that you have to raffle or sell!  Sharing plant material and related information is what CRFG is all about.