Archives for July 2011
As always, I want to remind you to shop local, and get the freshest produce around by heading out to the local Farmer’s Markets in Santa Clarita:
Sundays 8:00am – noon
College of The Canyons Parking Lot
Don’t forget to visit my friend Sarah from Worldwide Exotics
There is also another great Farmer’s Market:
Thursdays in Old Town Newhall from 3-7pm.
Lexus Jazz & Blue Concerts on Town Center Drive have begun again, enjoy them every Friday starting at 7 pm. July 8, 15, 22, 29 and are FREE.
Concerts in the Park is up and running again – here’s a link to the series schedule
August 10, 2011 – I am presenting a Complimentary Teleclass!
“5 Stepping Stones To Creating Your Outdoor Sanctuary: Take your yard from a Drag to a Destination!” Join me on a free training call on August 10, 2011 at 7 p.m., which I’m hosting as part of the celebratory launch of my upcoming teleclass. Sign up here for access to the call.
August 20, 2011 9 am – noon – CLWA – Landscape Education Class
Got Weeds? Castaic Lake Water Agency on the hill above Central Park. Please RSVP to (661) 513-1230.
They have so much going on so here is a link to the June Calendar. Here is a couple that I consider highlights:
Companion Planting Class Sat 8/13/11 at 10 am – topics include companion planting for beauty, pest control, pollinators, birds, butterflies and more.
Intermediate (but beginners are welcome) Sustainable Rose Care. 8/27/11 at 10am.
They are also offering Summer Discovery Camp fo rthe kids and they have extended summer hours so check it out!
Though slower in the hot summer there are still events to check into, here is a link to their events. This month I like the Inter City Cactus Show & Sale on Sat/Sun 8/13-14/11 from 9 am to 5pm and there is also a Summer Nature Camp for 5-10 year olds. If you are a member there are extended Members only hours.
I hope you find a few things to do this month, enjoy!
Love Southern California gardening? Want to learn 5 key secrets about how to design the personalized outdoor sanctuary of your dreams? Join me on a free training call “5 Stepping Stones to Creating your Outdoor Sanctuary: Take your yard from a Drag to a Destination” August 10, 2011 at 7 p.m., which I’m hosting as part of the celebratory launch of my upcoming teleclass. Sign up here for access to the call and the call recording, and I’ll talk to you August 10!
The jujube (Zizyphus jujuba.) is a lovely small deciduous tree that produces wonderfully unusual fruit that can be eaten both fresh and dried. Originally from the Indian sub continent they will grow well in Southern California – specifically the Santa Clarita Valley! They can take low temperatures but the only need 200 chill hours to set fruit.
My friend, Alex Silber of Papaya Tree Nursery in Granada Hills has a wonderful variety of jujube that grows very upright. It is only about 3’ wide so you can fit one most anywhere. It has a beautiful branching structure so when it loses its leaves in winter it becomes an architectural addition to your garden! Alex was kind enough to provide me with some outstanding information and photos, please read on.
When to harvest
(usually starts around Sept in SoCal)
The jujube fruit will have developed full flavor and peak sugars when they are completely dark brown. You can however consume them when they are only approximately 50% brown and green everywhere else. The fruit should feel firm to the touch and will begin to lose moisture soon after the skin of the fruit has turned completely brown while still on the tree.
How to harvest
Do not pull the fruit off the tree; instead you should cut the small stem, as this will give you a clean sealed product.
Fresh fruit storage
The fresh fruit is best stored between 52* and 55* F in a special green plastic bag that counteracts the ethylene gas naturally given off by ripe fruit. You may have seen the info commercials promoting this product and just so you know, it does indeed work…(can you believe it?)
How to dry
The fruit can be allowed to fully dry on the tree or you may pick them when they just begin to show signs of desiccation (wrinkled skin). You then dry them in a flat open basket at room temperature out of direct sunlight. After the fruit has been satisfactorily dried, it is a good idea to freeze the fruit for a few hours, then remove from the freezer and allow the excess condensation to evaporate before placing the fruit in the storage container (Available at Smart&Final).
Sometimes the fruit will show signs of premature drying before fully brown or even at the light green stage and this fruit is usually not the best for drying as the fruit should be allowed to fully color up brown if the intention is to store dry fruit. The usual cause of this premature drying is from heat/water stress and should be less of an issue as the tree becomes more established since it is a drought tolerant species.
Once the jujube has become established (Judgment call), I only fertilize the tree once a year just after the majority of the blossoms have set fruit.
If you are in the market for unusual subtropical fruits you HAVE to visit Papaya Tree Nursery. They are a family owned and operated business, are fruit tree experts, and are just a hop, skip, & jump away. Please call ahead to make sure they are around to help you or… call me and I might just go with you!
For more about my designs please visit my website.
Gaillardia or Blanket Flower is a beautiful perennial addition to your garden. They are heat and drought tolerant, attract butterflies and other pollinators and need very little care. The Blanket Flower gets about 2-3’ tall and should be planted about 18” apart. They are readily available in 4” pots or 1 gallons but grow very well from seed too! They flower from early summer through the late fall here in Southern California, so they provide a lot of bang for your buck!
The Blanket Flower gets it’s name because it blankets the fields where it grows due to its ability to reseed itself. That said here are a few tips for care that will take full advantage of its attributes.
If you seed it, plant in early spring, and once the seeds start getting strong and sprouting thin out to about 18” apart. During the early part of the Blanket Flower’s long bloom season deadhead the flowers on a regular basis and it will encourage more bloom – in to the fall. Once the fall bloom is finished you can allow the flower to go to seed because that is how you will get new “free” plants for next year. If you have an area that you don’t want to be filled, something you want a bit more pristine, just deadhead in the fall as well. If your plants become too tall and start tipping over, just stake them and they will look beautiful all season.
Blanket Flowers do well in garden beds, borders and even container designs, their bright cheery color is perfect for the hot summer, as the color really stands up to the heat. No fading pastels during the hot summer – how boring! Don’t forget to use them in your entry; their bright red is wonderful for bringing good chi into your home.
Please visit my website, to take a look at my designs and see how you can have the landscape of your dreams!