- Author: Linda Lewis Griffith
- Editor: Noni Todd
By Linda Lewis Griffith UCCE Master Gardener
Common Name: Catalina Ironwood
Planting Zone: Sunset Zones 14-17, 19-24
Size: 20-50 ft. tall, 25-35 ft. wide
Bloom Season: Late spring or early summer
Exposure: Full sun
Pruning Needs: Prune in winter to manage shape and growth
Water Needs: Moderate amounts of water are needed from winter through spring; low amounts of water are needed during summer
Narrative:This beautiful, evergreen tree is native to the Channel Islands, where it grows on north facing slopes and canyon habitats from sea level to 1600 ft. in elevation. It is the only species of this genus. But over time, two subspecies have evolved. Lyonothamnus floribundus ssp. asplenifolius is known as Fern-leaf Catalina ironwood and is found on San Clemente, Santa Rosa and Santa Cruz Islands. Its leaves are deep green above, gray and hairy beneath and pinnately or palmately divided into 3-7 deeply notched or lobed leaflets. L. f. ssp. floribundus is native to Catalina Island. Mature foliage consists of simple, linear leaves, 3-7 inches long with finely toothed margins. Both varieties are found in cultivation and can hybridize with each other. The bark is red-brown and peels and shreds with age, revealing smooth, new bark underneath. Flowers appear as small, flat clusters of white blossoms, 8-18 inches wide. Old clusters eventually turn brown and can remain on the tree for years. When practical it's best to remove them. Fern-leaf Catalina ironwood is the most commonly grown subspecies and thrives in well-drained soil in coastal and adjacent inland zones throughout the state. It will survive in warmer climates if provided adequate drainage and periodic deep watering. It is often planted along roadways with other native plants or used to create attractive screens or groves. Excessive litter from flowers, leaves and bark can make it a poor choice in more manicured environments. Chlorosis, or yellowing leaves, may be a problem in heavy soils. Lyonothamnus is named for William S. Lyon, a 19th century resident of Los Angeles and a collector of plants from Santa Catalina Island. Thamnos is a Greek word meaning shrub. Floribundus means free-flowering.
- Author: Polly Nelson
- Editor: Noni Todd
By Polly Nelson UCCE Master Gardener
Common Name: Plumeria (Frangipani)
Scientific Name: Apocynaceae
Planting area: Depends on species, generally USDA zones 8-11
Size: Depends on species and if grown in ground or container.
Bloom Season: Spring-Fall
Exposure: Minimum 6 hours of full sun
Pruning needs: Minimal; to remove dead branches, maintain desired size and shape
Water needs: Moderate
Snapshot: Did you receive a lei in Hawaii and savor the scent? Plumerias may have been part of the lei, exuding a combination of jasmine, citrus and gardenia fragrance. Native to tropical America, the Plumeria genus is comprised of 11 species of shrubs and small trees. Branches are widely spaced, with thin, grey bark and milky sap when cut. They can be upright and compact, or open and sprawling. Fleshy leaves have an alternate pattern; shapes vary from round to pointed, glossy or smooth; positioned on the tips of the branches. Flowers are 2-4 inches in diameter and have five rounded, overlapping petals, in pink, red, white, and yellow color palettes. Fragrance may be strongest in the evening, to attract night-flying sphinx moth pollinators.
Plant in slightly acidic, well-drained soil, as Plumeria do not like “wet feet”. Container plantings should be placed in cactus mix. Water deeply and allow plant to dry out some before watering again. Stop watering once plants enter dormancy (winter); resume when new growth appears in spring. Fertilize with high phosphorus (10-30-10) solution every 1-2 weeks Spring through Fall. Too much nitrogen will result in more foliage and decreased blooms.
Propagate by seeds or cutting but know that cuttings are the easiest and most successful. Take 12-18 inch hardwood cuttings when dormant, allow the milky sap to dry 2-3 days, then place deeply in free draining soil mix with 1-1.5 inch tip above the soil line. Keep at approximately 70 degrees F.
Pests include: 1) Plumeria Rust, which affects foliage. Airborne spores spread by splashing rain or irrigation, appear as yellow specks on upper and undersides of leaves. Leaves can curl or otherwise distort. Treat by removing afflicted leaves, pick up dropped leaves, increase airflow around plants, and keep area weed free. 2) Spider mites may be treated with Neem oil.
- Author: Carol Michael
- Editor: Noni Todd
By Carol Michael UCCE Master Food Preserver
What are ways to use some of my jams and jellies during the holidays? David C.-Paso Robles
Sparkling colorful pepper jelly with cream cheese and crackers has been a favorite holiday appetizer. It is traditionally made with sweet green and hot peppers. By following a similar procedure, you can make Red Pepper or Golden Pepper Jelly. Get the recipe here: https://nchfp.uga.edu/publications/usda/GUIDE07_HomeCan_rev0715.pdf
This traditional Pepper Jelly from So Easy to Preserve, by Cooperative Extension, The University of Georgia makes 5 half pint jars.
4-5 hot peppers, cored and cut in pieces
4 sweet green peppers, cored and cut in pieces
1 cup white vinegar (5% acidity)
5 cups sugar
1 pouch liquid pectin; green food coloring (optional)
Sterilize canning jars. (Sterilize jars by placing right side up on rack of boiling water canner. Fill with hot water to 1” above jar tops. Boil 10 minutes at altitudes less than 1000ft. Add one minute for each additional 1,000ft. of elevation.)
Wear rubber gloves when working with hotpeppers. Put half the peppers and half the vinegar in a blender, cover, and process until peppers are finely liquified. Repeat with remaining peppers and vinegar. Combine liquefied peppers and vinegar with sugar in large saucepot & boil slowly for 10 minutes. Remove from heat. Add liquid pectin, return to heat and boil hard for 1 minute. Skim and add few drops of green food coloring, if desired. Pour jelly immediately into hot canning jars, leaving ¼ inch headspace. Wipe jar rims and adjust lids. Process 5 minutes in a boiling water bath at altitudes less than 1,000ft. For high altitude canning adjustments: https://www.freshpreserving.com/adjust-high-altitude-canning.html
It is easy to make for gifting and a handy ingredient in other dishes. Try one of these as a creative recipe twist:
Spicy PB & J sandwich: Substitute pepper jelly for a fruit version.
Stir- Fry: Sauté chicken slices in vegetable oil, add fresh or frozen stir-fry veggies, season with teriyaki sauce and red pepper flakes, finish by swirling in pepper jelly until melted.
Glazed Salmon: Mix bourbon liquor, melted butter and pepper jelly until smooth. Spread over salmon and cook until done.
Sweet & Sour Pork: Cube pork into ½” pieces, brown in a skillet. Meanwhile, mix small amount pineapple juice, apple cider vinegar, lemon juice and pepper jelly until smooth. Add to browned pork, stir, simmer, and serve.
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- Author: Becky Zelinski
- Editor: Noni Todd
Becky's Garden Gives!
By Becky Zelinksi UCCE Master Gardener
I made a recent connection with Paso Cares, an organization that feeds the homeless here in Paso. I have about a 1-acre vegetable garden. I expanded it this year because I had leftover seedlings from last year. I can't ever throw a plant away so I decided to just plant them out in an empty pasture area.
I added a couple of drip lines, added a little bit of soil amendments (not much) and plopped the plants in the ground. Both the original and new vegetable garden areas were going great guns. I always give away and share my produce but I still had more to spare. I contacted Paso Cares to see if they would like the produce. They said they'd never done it before so we figured out a plan.
I gave them more than 50 lbs of produce including corn, melons, cucumbers and squash. They serve dinner each night. The meals are prepared by local chefs and/or businesses who donate their time. They were so excited to have the produce and I'm so excited that I am able to help this organization fulfill their worthy cause. I plan to continue to give produce to them as long as my garden is producing.
I'll be planting fall and winter vegetables soon so hopefully I can continue doing this for a while. My garden has always been my fun, happy, peaceful, plentiful place. It's a lot of hard work but a labor of love. I love sharing it and everything that it gives with others. Now it's given me a way to give back to my community.
The worker at Paso Cares said that because of Covid, they have so many more families coming to eat dinner just so they can save some grocery money to use for other things. So right now, they're not just helping homeless people but people financially suffering from Covid.
This year, gardening has also kept me safe, sane and busy. The perfect respite in this crazy year. All-in-all, I produced more than 1,000 seedlings. I've sold some, donated some and gave many away to friends and other Master Gardeners. I'm an avid food preserver, too, so when I'm not in the garden, I've been in the kitchen cooking and canning. People are always amazed by my garden and what it gives. Every day it amazes me too.
For more information about Paso Cares, visit their website: https://www.pasocares.org/
- Author: Alissa Bright
- Editor: Noni Todd
By Alissa Bright UCCE Master Gardener
Planting Area: Indoors in any zone
Size: 12” tall when mature
Bloom Season: Indoors in any season
Exposure: Full to partial sunlight
Pruning needs: No pruning required
Water Needs: Fill your vase with water up to the basal root. Roots of the bulbs should be in water, but not the bulbs themselves. Keep an eye on your vase/container to avoid drowning your bulbs.
Snapshot: Spring doesn't get the fun of freshly bloomed flowers all to herself. Even in the dead of Winter, anyone in any climate can conjure a bit of Spring by “forcing” paperwhite bulbs indoors in a vase. (In gardener-speak, to "force" is to coax a plant to bloom out of season.) Sweet-smelling paperwhites, the bulb cousin of daffodils, do not require a cold period to grow.
Let your kitchen windowsill serve as your Winter greenhouse. All you need is 3-5+ paperwhite bulbs (the more, the merrier), a glass vase, a handful of gravelly pebbles to nestle your bulbs in (root-down, tips up), and water. The pebbles elevate your bulbs, allowing just the tail-like basal roots to sit in water. The transparency of the glass allows easy vigilance of the water level. The bulbs awaken once nestled near a water source, and shoots soon begin to grow from the tips. Tiny, star-shaped flowers will appear in 2 to 4 weeks. Move to indirect light once flowers appear to prolong the blooming period, and enjoy the fragrance for 1-2 weeks before the blooms wither.
Unfortunately, when forced indoors, paperwhite bulbs are single-use only, and can be tossed into your green waste once they are spent.