Meeting April 8th @ 10 am: Portney on Pawpaws!

the common pawpaw

The inimitable Charles Portney will be speaking to us on everything pawpaw in a long-awaited return to face to face meetings in the MultiPurpose Room… with pawpaw sorbet… and  cookies!  You may remember that Don Winterstein wrote about Pawpaws in a recent issue of the Fruit Gardener.  Charles started corresponding with him about the topic and now we will be the beneficiaries of their shared knowledge and experience.  (If you didn’t see the article, pawpaws are the largest native fruit in North America, are celebrated on the third Thursday in September — National Pawpaw Day — as well as being the State Native Fruit of Ohio.  Take that, rhubarb!)

Because Charles will be projecting some pawpaw pix, we will probably be meeting inside where the movie screen lives. Still, the room is large and we can safely distance to our hearts’ content.  Charles will also be using a mic so the wary can set up outside on the patio,


Photo by Clarknova on  Wikipedia

Yes, our field trip today is on!

Mark Abraham, our host at Will Rogers Learning Garden, says short of a downpour we are welcome to come visit.  It is still vaguely drizzling but we are a hardy bunch.  Who doesn’t remember our field trip to Paradise Nursery in Chatsworth in the midst of the fires that surrounded it?  Sometimes the more difficult trips are the most memorable.  See you there!

What NOT to exchange at our Scion Exchange

It’s pretty straightforward:  no citrus scions or budwood (this includes curry leaf) plus no plants still under patent.   And of course nothing that is sick or bug infested.

A shout-out to Martin Kou, Chair of Foothill for spreading  the word and to the Orange County chapter for locating the list of current patents.  Note that the spreadsheet  shows some varieties highlighted in green which are now okay to exchange.

If you can’t open an Excel file, please let us know and we can send you a .pdf which is unfortunately much more difficult to read.


Scion Exchange Back in Multi-Purpose Room!

All of you worried about finding our new location in the Culver City Veterans Memorial Complex can now relax.  We have been returned to our beloved MultiPurpose Room for all of  2023.  Barring rain, the scion tables will be set up outside, as they were last year.   Those bringing scions should try to get them down on the tables sometime between 9:30 and 10:00 when the exchange proper will start. And for those of you who are new to our Culver City home, a map is here.

Inside, there will be two grafting demo tables manned by our esteemed experts:  previous-Chair Bruce Blavin who has taught grafting to school children and can teach it to you.   And Ajmal Noorzayee, famous all over Youtube as The Graft Man.  How can you miss with these guys?  For the protection of our experts and fellow graft-learners, anyone inside  must be masked.

As is traditional, members donating scion wood get the first crack at the tables, then members and then anyone else who is interested.  Because we are still practicing social distancing (and because our Enforcer — the Machete — has already had COVID twice), this will be on the honor system since we don’t want to get all up-close-and-personal checking membership status.  (And if you want member priority, please sign  up online before Saturday. ) We would request that you limit  yourself to one piece of scion wood until everyone has had a chance to get some.  After that, free for all!



Photo by James Lee on Unsplash

Field Trip to Will Rogers Elementary will be contingent on weather

Per Mark Abraham, our host: “It’s predicted dry for a few days before Saturday, so if the morning is dry I am GAME ON and would think the site would be perfect for people to access – but if it rains we will have to cancel.”

If we do have to cancel, we will definitely reschedule this spring.  Be aware that volunteer days at the orchard are every third Sunday from 10 am to 2 pm and all you fruit-growers would be very welcome.

Field Trip to the Will Rogers Learning Community on January 14th @ 10 am

This is from member Mark Abraham who runs garden at The Will Rogers Learning Community:
“The Will Rogers Learning Community is an elementary school in the SMMUSD that today boasts a very large school garden. The nascent 2+ year garden is set up with 19 double reach rows for intensive crop production, composting bays, fruit trees, and more, to teach 500+ elementary school children who visit the garden each week the connection to good food, care for one another and care for the planet. Classroom time in the farm is interactive in nature and the students learn about regenerative agriculture, plant horticulture, propagation, insect identification, decomposers and fungal allies, and more. The garden is supported by a weekly crew of volunteers from the community who come to garden, share, learn and have fun every weekend to advance the mission of the school’s garden, to complement the work being done by the students each week and to help build out the infrastructure.
My intention among many others is to see to it that the site serves as a repository for important, endemic and/or rare germplasm – so that it can function as a lending library of sorts for the community when the time comes. I am grateful to the chapter for their interest in what we are doing; we have a lot of work ahead of us and it is my hope that as we grow the space we can learn from experienced horticulturalists like yourselves, and develop the connections and the necessary resources for our future fruit hunters. We are very excited to host you for the first event of the New Year – see you in 2023!
Garden is located at the corner of Maple and 16th Street in Santa Monica, 90405. Parking and water fountains on site. Bathrooms across the street at John Adams Middle School.”
Definitely a can’t-miss tour and certainly a focus for chapter volunteering.

Scion Exchange and Grafting Demos: February 11th @10 am to noon (scion drop off at 9:30)

The famous CRFG  Scion Exchange returns to Culver City on February 11th.  Unfortunately we have been pre-empted from our beloved MultiPurpose Room for all of 2023, but will be in the Garden Room which also has an outdoor patio for the Scion tables and social distancing.    (You can find a map of its location under Our Location.)

The grafting demos will be in the Garden Room itself.  For the safety of the presenters and  your fellow graft-learners, we would ask that you wear masks if you want to watch.

Instructions for cutting and storing scion wood as you do your winter pruning are here.

Plant Sale and Holiday Party a Huge Success!

Much thanks to all  of you who donated your carefully nurtured plants and/or that really yummy food;  and thanks also to all of you who came and purchased plants and met us,  many because of COVID for the very first time.   Now we are all getting a little R & R.

But we will be having a field trip in January (details soon) and of course the famous CRFG Scion Exchange/Grafting demos on February 11th.  So stay tuned.  These pineapples will soon be back on their feet.  (Wait, pineapples have feet?  Talk about Rare Fruit…)


Photo by Pineapple Supply Co. on Unsplash

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