- Author: Jutta Thoerner
- Editor: Noni Todd
Wild Mock Orange
By Jutta Thoerner UCCE Master Gardener
Size of Shrub: 1-3 feet high, growth habit like a Lilac bush.
USDA hardy zone: 5-10
Bloom description and season: white, 2 inch showy and abundant flowers in March- May. Fragrant orange scent.
Pruning needs: after flowering for shaping as desired.
Exposure: part sun to partial shade.
Water needs: drought tolerant, but watering produces more flowers
When we bought our neighbors property in the fall, much of the landscape was stressed. Come spring, we were surprised by the explosion of white fragrant flowers from the Wild Mock Orange that, with some irrigation, spread quickly in all directions. Today, it is one of the showiest shrubs I have ever owned. The Wild Mock Orange is native to the northwestern USA. It does well in central oakwood lands and in pine forests. The name comes from its resemblance to flowers of an orange tree and, of course, from the lovely orange scent. Butterflies will flock to the bush during flowering. It adapts well to gardens, it's drought tolerant and in the hotter inland areas, it likes part sun and part shade. In coastal areas, full sun is best.
This plant is a fast grower, up to 24” per year. Prevent an out of control look by cutting back branches after bloom approximately 1/3 to 2/3 and cut all dead branches to the ground. Another way to keep this plant in check is to restrict water. The amount of growth and flowers can be directly traced back to how much it's watered. There are many different Mock Orange cultivars. For zone 2-8, check with your local nursery if you want to try a different cultivar than the wild Mock Orange. This is a wonderful background shrub, has no affinity for diseases and will delight you with its early and lasting flowers.
- Author: Andrea Peck
- Editor: Noni Todd
By Andrea Peck UCCE Master Gardener
Common Name of Plant: Zebra Plant
Scientific Name: Haworthiopsis attenuata
Planting Area: USDA Zone 11
Size: Up to 6”
Bloom Season: Summer
Exposure: Indirect bright light.
Pruning Needs: Pruning is not necessary
Water Needs: Grown outdoors, water weekly. Grown indoors, water monthly.
Snapshot: With deep green triangular-shaped leaves, and striking white stripes, the diminutive zebra plant is an eye-catching succulent. Relaxed and easy to care for, it fits seamlessly into a modern style décor. It grows up to a manageable 6 inches tall and spreads by little clusters or rosettes that grow solidly from the main plant. These clusters can be plucked to grow a new plant or allowed to spread out in a mounding horizontal direction. In mild climates Haworthiopsis grows outside. It does not tolerate frost so in colder areas (below 40 degrees), it is best kept in a pot outdoors during the warmer seasons and brought indoors when temperatures dip. This is a low-maintenance plant but in hot weather, it needs irrigation weekly. Be careful, however, as overwatering can be the death of H. attenuata. Particularly, be mindful of water inside the leaves---this plant is prone to rot because excess moisture does not drain easily.
Grown indoors, the zebra plant adds a touch of simple drama and requires less watering. Haworthiopsis blooms during the summer months. Flowers are white and tubular, growing on a long inflorescence. Originating, like its namesake, from South Africa, the zebra plant is best grown in bright, but indirect light. In nature, it thrives under the shade of rocks or other protective objects. Hot, direct sun may scorch the leaves. H. attenuata grows best in a loose, quick-draining soil with a pH in the range of 6.6 -7.5. Place your zebra plant in an area with good air-circulation. Use cactus fertilizer during the summer months for best results. Repot during the spring or summer months. H. attenuata grows at a snail's pace but once this appealing plant reproduces, you'll want to pull off a few to propagate and give to your friends.
- Author: Carol Michael
- Editor: Noni Todd
The Dry Facts
By Carol Michael UCCE Master Food Preserver
I have a bounty of chili peppers in my garden this summer. Can I safely dry excess peppers for use this winter in soups and stews?Nell B, Atascadero
Your cupboards may already be bulging with jars of preserved pickles, fruit jam and jelly, and tomato sauce. Summer's bounty shows no sign of ceasing. Are you wondering what else can be done to preserve fall fruits; save an abundance of fresh herbs for winter use, or turn meat and fish into jerky?
Drying is one of the oldest methods of preserving food for later use. Drying food is simple, and easy to learn. Dried foods are ideal for backpacking, camping, traveling and just for snacking! They are lightweight, take up little space and do not require refrigeration.
Fruit can be dried for trail mix or used as a topping for yogurt and oatmeal; zucchini and carrots can be dehydrated for veggie chips; apples and pears can be turned into delicious fruit chips or leather. Dried tomatoes and chili peppers can be crushed to powder and added to soups, meats and ethnic dishes. Dried food can also be rehydrated and used as an ingredient in many different recipes.
Drying also known as dehydratingis a popular method of food preservation, but make sure you are using research tested techniques such as those found in the National Center for Home Food Preservation's website which is critical for safety when making jerky and will help you create a quality product. A fun way to increase your knowledge of dehydration is to take the upcoming class offered by the UCCE Master Food Preservers of San Luis Obispo County. Different types of dehydrators will be discussed and demonstrated as well as techniques and recipe sharing.
Dehydration: The Dry Facts will be held from10:00am-12:00pm Saturday September 28, 2019 at the UCCE Auditorium, 2156 Sierra Way, San Luis Obispo. There is a $10.00 fee. Pre-registration is required. Class size is limited. Registration: http://ucanr.edu/dryfacts
If you like to preserve food, are passionate about local produce, and enjoy teaching, then becoming a UC Master Food Preserver volunteermight be a great opportunity for you. The next training begins in March. Contact Dayna Ravalin at email@example.com for more information.
- Author: Ardis Neilsen
- Editor: Noni Todd
Fall Festival Fun
By Ardis Neilsen UCCE Master Gardener
Have you ever wanted to create a succulent mini-garden? Do you have plant questions? Want to learn how to safely manage garden pests?
At the 2nd Annual Fall Festival these are just a few of the educational opportunities available sponsored by the UCCE Master Gardener Program of San Luis Obispo County. The free event is scheduled on Saturday, Sept. 21, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., at the Garden of the Seven Sisters, 2156 Sierra Way, San Luis Obispo.
Education will be the focus of multiple exhibits, demonstrations, and hands-on activities for all ages. Visitors can obtain “how to” advice on designing grey-water systems, caring for garden tools, managing plant health and other topics.
Master gardeners will answer questions and lead on-site garden tours of their 15-plot demonstration garden. Explore the kitchen garden, native plant garden, succulent and cactus garden, curb appeal garden, fruit and nut orchard, fire safe landscape garden, wildlife habitat garden, vertical edibles garden, scent garden, and more. Over 70 varieties of fruits and vegetables are grown on site.
Norm Smith, Ph.D., a 30-year veteran entomologist and current Master Gardener, will answer questions about the bugs in your garden. Check out his fascinating insect display.
Visit the UCCE auditorium, where the UCCE Master Food Preservers will demonstrate how to ferment, can and dry fruit and vegetables. Enjoy free samples of fig jam, pear preserves and dried apples.
A hands-on learning opportunity is available to those who want to learn how to pot succulents - you even can take home your creation. Kids can enjoy free face painting by a professional artist and other art activities.
Exhibitors include Central Coast Beekeepers Alliance, Cal Fire, California Rare Fruit Growers, Garden Farms Nursery, the SLO County Agriculture Department and 4H.
Plants, fruit trees, bird houses, painted gourds, iris rhizomes, honey, wreaths, and succulent mini-gardens will be for sale. The Beach Walk BBQ food truck, will be on the grounds.
If you are interested in becoming a master gardener, please submit an application by September 27. Applications are posted at ucanr.edu /sites/mgslo or call 805-781-5939 for more information.
- Author: Linda Lewis Griffith
- Editor: Noni Todd
By Linda Lewis Griffith UCCE Master Gardener
Common Name: Beach aster, Seaside daisy
Planting Zone: Sunset zones 4-6, 15-17, 22-24
Size: Forms a clump 1 foot high to 3 feet wide
Bloom Season: Spring and summer, into fall if pruned
Exposure: Full sun or light shade; burns in hot inland sun
Pruning Needs: Trim dead blooms every few months to prolong bloom
Water Needs: Low supplemental water once established; needs a little more inland
Narrative: This free-blooming member of the Aster family is native to coastal sand dunes and bluffs from Oregon to Southern California. It is well-suited to coastal gardens that have low amounts of summer moisture. It is a low-mounding perennial with purple flowers and yellow centers. Foliage and stems are blue-green. It is hardy to -5 degrees. Several cultivars include ‘Cape Sebastian,' which grows 6-8 inches high and has lavender pink flowers; ‘Sea Breeze,' which reaches 12 inches in height, producing pink-magenta flowers; ‘Arthur Menzies,' grows to 8 inches with lavender-pink blooms; and ‘Wayne Roderick,' (‘W.R.'), which grows to 12 inches high, 2 feet wide and has light magenta flowers. Beach aster is an excellent choice for borders, ground covers, landscaping near ponds, beach gardens, deep containers, and rock gardens. Its nectar attracts butterflies and hummingbirds; deer tend to leave it alone. It is also fire resistant. There are no known pests or diseases.
The name erigeron is from the Greek eri- meaning early and geron meaning old man, referring to the fact that the flowers bloom in spring, then turn gray like hair. The word glaucus means the blossoms are covered in thin powder. Beach asters benefit from annual or biennial division, which makes them less susceptible to mildew. Divide the tight, woody crowns with a spade. Crowns pulled apart into single rooted shoots can be replanted 2-3 inches apart and will generally flower in the same year. Alternately, cuttings can be placed in gritty soil mix in pots or trays. When well-rooted, plant them in the ground. Seeds may be collected, stored over winter in a dry, cool environment (preferably in the refrigerator) and sown in spring./h4>/h1>