We need a video person!

Dear Chapter. we are slowly inching back to a new normal.  Because our Davis-based August speaker, Ernesto Sandoval, is going to be in LA, we will be lucky enough to hear him live and in person.  With our lovely MultiPurpose Room patio, we even have the option of meeting COVID-safely outside though I for one will still be wearing a mask.

This means, however, we will NOT be on Zoom unless someone volunteers to transmit it for us.  Since there is virtually no wifi in the MPR, this will require a phone with better reception than I  got when I  attempted to video the Bartlett Arborists.

Alternatively, if someone would rather not use up their data but is willing just to video the meeting, we can still put it up on our Google Drive for non attendees to view.

With 100 member, we have to have someone less wobbly than yours truly.   The chapter even owns a phone tripod if that helps.  Please, someone, for the sake of your fellow members, volunteer for this very undemanding once or twice a year job.


Photograph by Lance Anderson on Unsplash

Ernesto Sandoval on Plant Hormones and Fruit Trees: Knowing and Managing Them for Better Results

When:  August 13th at 10 am
Where:  Multi-Purpose Room, Veterans Memorial Complex, 4117 Overland Ave, Culver City (yes, we are back!)

Have you ever wondered why your plant has a sudden burst of growth after transplanting? Or how the plant “knows” to grow new parts when pruned or how a cutting knows to make roots?  Maybe you’ve even wondered about how a fruit knows to ripen or why leaves all of a sudden turn yellow when you bring a plant home?  Find answers to these questions and others about why your plants grow the way they do during this informative yet not so technical presentation by Ernesto Sandoval, Director of the UC Davis Botanical Conservatory.

Ernesto Sandoval has been wondering and seeking questions and answers to why plants grow and look the way that they do for nearly 40 years.  Now he explains and interprets the world of plants to a variety of ages and from amateur to professional gardeners. He regularly lectures to a variety of western Garden Clubs throughout the year and particularly to Succulent Clubs throughout California. Although desert plants are his particular passion within his general passion for plants, he describes himself as a “Jose of All Plants, Master of None” and loves learning from the experiences of others as well as his own.  Ernesto thoroughly enjoys helping others, and gardeners in particular, to understand why and how plants do what they do.

When he was about 13 he asked his dad why one tree was pruned a particular way and another tree another way. His dad answered bluntly “because that’s the way you do it.” Since then he’s been learning and teaching himself the answers to those and many other questions by getting a degree at UC Davis in Botany and working from student weeder/waterer to Director/Manager over the last 30 years at the UC Davis Botanical Conservatory.

Argentinian ants

This year seems to have featured, along with other disasters, an even heavier-than-usual invasion of Argentinian ants.   If you are trying to keep them out of your figs (who knew?!) or your bee hives, this is an extraordinary paper on why those traps you bought at Home Depot just aren’t working and what to do instead.

Great talk on irrigation!

I don’t think we have ever had so many people glued to their Zoom screens for so long as we did when Allister Cooney of Netafim shared his decades of irrigation experience with us on the 16th.  Learning that drip irrigation is even more efficient than rainfall was an eye-opener and I ‘m sure will be changing many of our watering habits. Ditto  that flush valves are absolutely necessary, even for tree rings   Allister provided illustrations of best practice drip layouts, including the sizing of headers and the appropriate spacing of drippers in different situations.  The online irrigation calculator he mentioned is available here.  The catalog of Netafim products is here.  He also mentioned that if you know exactly what you want, local business like Smith Pipe & Supply or Aqua-Flo will order them for you.

If you happened to miss the talk, or want to refresh your memory, the video is available to chapter members.  Just ask.



Photo by NITIN SHAH on Unsplash

Zoom talk: Irrigation Products and Design on July 16th @10 am


Speaker: Allister Cooney of Netafim

Watering is always a big issue in Southern California and the current drought with its associated water rationing has made it more so. A talk by an expert about irrigation has become very timely. Because of this, we have changed the topic for our July meeting.

Allister is a landscape professional with 26 years of experience in landscape architecture and irrigation design and installation. He is currently a salesperson for Netafim, the world’s largest drip irrigation company. He will explain the use of Netafim products and irrigation design.  He will discuss drip emitters, micro sprinklers, and other products to irrigate our gardens.

While many of us have used or seen the Netafim drip emitters, there are many innovative Netafim products with which we might not be familiar. In addition, many of the Netafim products are unavailable in our local retail stores. Allister can tell us how to get them!

Allister is a graduate of the University of Gloucestershire and the University of Sheffield in England and has experience in both the public and private sector, having worked with landscape architects, contractors, municipalities, and home builders.

He will discuss when to use what type of product, installation methods, how to design a watering system, the types of flush valves and air/relief valves, and many other important aspects of irrigation.

Come with your irrigation questions!  Zoom links will arrive in your newsletter. Non-chapter members, please contact us if you would like a link.


Photo by philip junior mail on Unsplash

Now you can book out your Second Saturdays for the rest of the year (and beyond)

Our incomparable Program Chair Deborah has lined up some amazing meetings, so take a look at this rundown. Unfortunately most of our speakers are not based in LA and can only speak to us via Zoom. If you — like me — are yearning for an actual face to face get together, and can’t wait until September at LaVerne, let us know. Maybe we can organize another ice cream social or something.


June 11, 2022 –  Vertebrate Garden Pests – Niamh Quinn – via Zoom
July 9, 2022 – Garden tour – Margaret Frane’s amazing yard! – via Zoom
August 13, 2022 – Plant Hormones – Ernesto Sandoval – via Zoom
September 10, 2022 – Field trip to Laverne Nursery – Daniel Nelson
October 8, 2022 – Cover Crops – Margaret Smither-Kopperl — via Zoom
November 12, 2022 – Field trip to Angeles Crest Creamery
December 10, 2022 – Plant sale and Holiday party at Culver City

January 14, 2023 TBD
February 11, 2023 Scion Exchange and Grafting Demos at Culver City
March 11, 2023 TBD
April 8, 2023 Field Trip to Long Beach City College to see Jorge Ochoa’s rebuilt dragon fruit greenhouse




Photo by Manasvita S on Unsplash

Drat! Rats! (And Squirrels?) June 11th at 10 a.m.

Our next meeting will be on June 11th at 10 am.  with Niamh Quinn, the Human-Wildlife Interactions Advisor at  the South Coast Research and Extension Center.  Because she is based in Irvine, we will be doing this by Zoom ONLY (hooray, no video glitches this time).   If you have a specific human-wildlife interaction you would like addressed, please let us know.  More details as the date approaches.

You can see the extraordinary range of Dr. Quinn’s research here: https://ceorange.ucanr.edu/about/contact/?facultyid=26919


Squirrel photo by Carmel Rossen on Unsplash
Fruit hat from clipart-library.com

Field Trip to LaVerne Nursery actually September 10th!

I know many  WLA members  are members of the LA Chapter as well and therefore are aware of their field trip to LaVerne Nursery scheduled for this past Saturday.  Just wanted to alert you that the WLA chapter will be doing the same tour on September 10th (NOT July 9th) so if you missed LA or would rather a more intimate gathering, wait for ours!  Details of time, place, and how to order plants for pickup there  will be available as the date nears.


Image from Google Maps Street View.