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:    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.


Shaw Macademia Nut Cracker/Sorter & Husker

All chapters received the following from the Trust Department at City National. If you are growing macadamia nuts, it might be worth investigating.  I have more photos available to anyone interested.  The deceased was a long time life member of CRFG.

<<Good afternoon,

We manage the estate of an exotic fruit and nut hobbyist who passed away in 2017.  This gentleman planted an extensive orchard on his property, including several dozen macadamia nut trees.  The property is now in escrow and will be sold within the next few weeks, so we are hoping to sell a Shaw Macadamia Nut Cracker/Sorter and a Husker (unknown manufacturer).  The cracker/sorter were purchased new from Mr. Shaw in November 2011 and were used for less than six years, so they are in very good condition.  The machines have not had any maintenance for the past two years, but my orchard manager has used them occasionally and they do work as expected.

We are removing all of the personal property at this time, and would prefer that these machines go to someone who could use them rather than having them dismantled and disposed of as garbage.  The machines are located in the Mountaingate community in West Los Angeles, west of the 405 and between the Skirball Center and the Getty Center.  The machines would need to be picked up one day next week (October 22-25), as we cannot deliver or pack and ship them.

The purchase price is negotiable.  I will be working away from the office tomorrow and all of next week, so please call my cell at (818) 631-6790 if you have any questions.

Thank you,


Wanda Rapp

City National Bank
VP, Sr Trust Real Estate Officer
555 S Flower St, 12th Floor
Los Angeles, CA 90071>>


If you missed the Long Beach VA trip…

…this is what we saw and did.  Now aren’t you sorry you didn’t make it?  Don’t miss out on Ben Farmer’s talk on the 12th.

Long Beach VA gardens

Oct. 12th @ 10 am: Cherimoyas Here, There, and Not Everywhere

Reflections on the Spanish and California Industries by Dr. Ben Faber.

The village of Jete is in the far back of this valley near Almunecar.  It’s all cherimoyas with olives on the hillsides. And nearly all of the cherimoyas are Fino de Jete with lots of seeds, smooth skin, and they all come ripe at the same time with no hand pollination!

Pruning and pollination practices vary considerably both here and in Spain. This is partly due to differences in the “Mediterranean Climates” that are found in the two areas.  We’ll look at those factors, as well as how pruning and pollination are affected by differences in the two “cultural climates”.

Our speaker will be Dr. Ben Faber.  Ben is an advisor with the University of California Cooperative Extension in Ventura, where he specializes in soils, water, and subtropical horticulture.  He has a Ph.D. in Soil Fertility, and he maintains a blog and a newsletter that the bulk of our commercial citrus and avocado growers learn from.  Dr. Faber was going to give his presentation on “Cherimoyas in Spain” at the recent Festival of Fruit   However, unfortunately, he was so sick he couldn’t make it.  Please join us for this very special presentation!  We will be in the MultiPurpose  Room at the Culver City Veteran’s Memorial Complex.

(Description courtesy of Alan Caramatti, our brand-new Program Chair)


Field Trip 9-14-19 @ 10am to Long Beach VA Patients’ Garden

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.)”

Field Trip & Ice Cream Social August 10th @ 10 a.m.

Once again, we are heading down the driveway to convene  in my Back Forty where — at last — I will have  the time to explain what is actually going on there (the cherimoyas and papayas from spit-out seeds, the ridiculous bay laurels, the Pink Passion passiflora that is eating my house,  the Fire Crystal that is, hey,  growing new leaves).   There are also a ton of lemons, limes, tangerines and blood oranges, a monster Black Mission fig, an equally monstrous Saijo persimmon, several apples that will have just finished bearing, ditto the mulberry.  The loquats are long done, the litchi and sapodilla are still too young.  My  homemade beehive is behind a gate and faced in the other direction so no worries.

The Front Forty with my green fig trees, young Hachiya persimmon, another not so happy Fire Crystal, banana plantation and avocado mountains will be taped off because of the number of fragile new plantings and grafts there.  I can however explain most of it from the driveway and sidewalk and will lead small groups through if desired.  It and the adjacent parkway are  full of California natives and therefore butterflies, bees and birds, oh my.

Around 11, the vanilla ice cream will arrive (with bowls and spoons)  and we will share  all the sauces we have made from the fruits of our orchards.  Or actually any topping you want to bring.  If you happen to be lactose intolerant, you are welcome to bring whatever iced alternative you desire.  Yogurt will also not be shunned. Fun in the sun! (Thank you, Fang, for suggesting this.)

PS. There should definitely be some Gros Michel pups for our silent auction.




Photo by Dana DeVolk on Unsplash

Charles Portney on Blueberries July 13th @ 10 am (NB different location!)

For the very last chapter meeting I am solely responsible for arranging (thank you, new Program Chair Alan!) I have managed to persuade the esteemed Charles Portney to speak to us on “38 years of Amateur Blueberry Growing in Southern California”. 
I don’t know anyone who has grown as many different varieties of blueberries here, successfully, as Charles has and — bottom line — he is an amusing and highly authoritative speaker on just about anything.  Come to learn how you can grow this healthy and delicious fruit in pots or in the ground…. and, yes, without chemicals or animal-based products.
Because Charles will also be speaking at the Festival of Fruit in August, we had to switch our Field Trip month with our Chapter meeting month to accommodate his schedule, hence the July 13th date. 
In addition, because our normal Culver City location was already booked, we are — thanks to the hard work of our new Facilities Chair Cat —  able to try a different and temporary location:  the Reed Park Auditorium at 1133 Seventh Street in Santa Monica.  This is just above Wilshire Blvd in downtown Santa Monica;  and while there is some metered street parking on all four sides of the park, there is also parking a few blocks away at either City Parking Structure 9, (1136 4th Street) or the Public Library at 7th Street between Arizona and Santa Monica Boulevard.  Structure 9 is free for the first 90 minutes and then $2.00 for the next half hour and $1.50 for the next, at which point you should probably leave.  The Library lot is free for the first 30 minutes and then $1 for every half hour after that.  BUT the maximum for the whole day is $5 so once you’ve parked at the library, you could come to the meeting and then hit the beach and the Farmer’s Market for hours (or Sidecar Doughnuts across 7th Street from our meeting)

Meeting June 8th @ 10 am: Dr. Leryn Gorlitsky on the Fig & the Wasp

Dr. Gorlitsky is a Senior Researcher at UCLA’s Center for Tropical Research as well as a lecturer in the Institute of the Environment and Sustainability (whose mantra is Moving Science to Action) As such, she is intimately engaged in efforts to combat everything from invasive species to mass extinctions. Her specialty of Tropical Ecology, however, intersects with our interest in exactly what is going on in our back forties. She will be lecturing to us on Coevolution, focusing on the interaction between the fig and the wasp.

Margaret’s friend Britten is currently a student in one of Dr. Gorlitsky’s UCLA classes and reports she is both an engaging and incredibly knowledgeable lecturer. This is definitely a meeting not to be missed.