Dr. Kevin Curran teaches an ethnobotany course at the University of San Diego. He has put together an interactive webpage that describes many of the native plants used by early settlers in California. Native Americans used these local plants for food, medicine, tools, and art. Here is the link: www.ethnoherbalist.com
Rare blooming Palmer’s Dudleya with Lavender
Recently my daughter Holly was flipping through some articles on the internet, and discovered a helpful new website, www.calscape.org. UC Berkeley had a brainstorm and teamed up with California Native Plant Society (CNPS) to help gardeners learn about native plants in California that are drought friendly during our water shortage. Users will be able to search by their address or zip code to see what native plants grow in their area, and can be grown in your garden. You can find plants in categories such as trees, shrubs, grasses, succulents, annuals, and much more. Kudos to UC Berkeley and CNPS for this wonderful new tool!
A Monkey Puzzle?
My love affair with trees continues. I could have easily built a tour around the trees we saw in Ireland! My favorite is the Monkey Puzzle Tree, pictured above. It’s latin name, Araucaria araucana, is derived from the city of Arauco in Southern Chile, the area it is indigenous to. This conifer (cone-bearing) lives 100 – 200 years on average and some have been alive over 800 years, reaching heights of over 100 feet. Even the individual leaves can live 15 years.
Monkey puzzle trees have been used by the native people of Chile as a food — they have almond shaped seeds — and for ceremonial purposes. They will tolerate most well-drained soils and a cool, mild and humid climate, exactly what this one is getting in the Connemara area of Ireland. This beauty resides on the grounds of Ballynahinch Castle, in the west.
The leaves of the monkey puzzle tree
Recently I was made aware of the scope of services of the Master Gardeners. These folks are trained thru the University of California extensions across the state in all aspects of horticulture. They are charged with doing volunteer work when they graduate, amounting to 50 hours the first year after they complete the course, and 25 hours each year after. One of their more wonderful services is their hot line..they can answer all matter of questions. I recently contacted them on my poor dead lawn, and I’m in the process of sending them photos. I get lots of questions on my website that do not pertain to nurseries. Because I am horticulturally challenged, please, gentle readers, contact the Master Gardeners at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 626−586−1988 — you will be glad you did!
One of my beloved succulents…
Sunset at Palisades Park in Santa Monica..a great place to see gorgeous mature trees and dream of planting one!
Hanging gourds photo permission of Organicgreenroots.wordpress.com
And I’m hoping you have the answers:
- From Paul: Where can I find the best selection of fuchsias in the L.A. area?
From Susan: I called the South Coast Fuchsia Society and found out the best time to buy fuchsias is in the Spring. They recommend Armstrong Garden Centers , a chain of nurseries in Southern California, for fuchsias (www.armstronggarden.com).
- From Mario (This is an interesting one): I have a 47 ft single outrigger sailing canoe which I am refurbishing. I am looking for black bamboo in the 6 – 8 inch diameter size for use as mast and booms. Any leads for such resource in the San Diego county area? Thanks.
From Susan: my first call would be to Ralph Evans of Botanical Partners/Bamboo Headquarters under San Diego Nurseries on my website.
- From Dana: does anybody know who sells California native and herbal plants? I am a student of the planetary herbology and would like to find those plants and basically plant them in my garden.
From Susan: You can try Theodore Payne Native Plants /Sun Valley under Los Angeles Nurseries on my website.
- From Patrick: I like to buy some dragon plant at a nursery near San Diego — I am willing to drive. Thank you.
Any answers would be so appreciated — just go to comments at the bottom of this page, type your answers, and I will transfer them to this page!