Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Instagram: Photos We Dig

Ten fabulous photos from Yelverton Protea Farm - Established and hand planted by the Thorpe family in 1988. Centrally located between the south-west capes in the Margaret River Wine Region of Western Australia, Yelverton farms over two hundred acres of undulating fields nurtured by the Island Brook creek.

Saturday, March 25, 2017

UCCE Master Garden’s Spring Seminar: Growing Together

With the spring equinox just days away, and April right around the corner, we decided to embrace the renewal and return to nature that the season brings with it; it feels particularly sweet after the cold, wet winter. So, stroll along with us as we joined our friends from UCCD Master Gardener Program of San Diego during their Spring Seminar. This year’s theme: Growing Together – Gardening for a Better Tomorrow. It was a fun-filled day to experience what’s new in gardening, get tips from the experts and explore the Garden Marketplace.

One of the least-known treasure troves of information in San Diego County is that over 300 Master Gardeners provide home gardening and pest control information throughout the county, FREE to the public. Master Gardeners are volunteers trained and supervised by the University of California Cooperative Extension (UCCE). The mission of the UCCE is to conduct research on new pests and issues affecting the county, and to provide research based information to the public. The county of San Diego provides support for the local UCCE office which is known as the Farm and Home Advisor Department. Inherent in the title "Master Gardener" lies the challenge to continue learning and to help other gardeners grow. It's a challenge that everyone who has graduated from the Master Gardener program is committed to meeting.

Sunday, March 19, 2017

What’s Blooming: Leucadendron

The rumors are true, it’s ‘Leucadendron Season’. Often one of the first hints of spring in our fields, leucadendron serve as a welcoming committee for warmer and longer days. These barometers of the season begin to emerge as winter winds down, blooming from the cold days of February all the way through May. Though often known as "conebush" due to their colorful nuts, leucadendron are considered the foliage side of the protea family. Most leucadendron are indigenous to South Africa, though some varieties have been found in Australia as well. Around 80 known species exist and all share the same emphasis: the beauty of their foliage. The colorful petals of the leucadendron are called bracts (modified leaves), and the true flower is the cone nestled among their bracts.

Leucadendron includes evergreen shrubs and small trees which have green, often waxy, leaves which are arranged in spirals on the stem. They are dioeceous plants. That is, the male and female plant parts are produced in separate flowers on separate plant species of all species in this genus. Leucadendron thrive in freely-draining soil. They require sunlight most of the day and can be propagated by cuttings or seed.

With so many fabulous varieties to choose from, it's hard to play favorites with leucadendron, but we've gathered a few outstanding varieties for you here.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Advocating for America’s Flower-Farming Families

The voices being heard in Washington D.C. this month weren’t solely those of a new administration, they were those of America's Flower Farmers too. Their conversation wasn’t about who won or lost the election, it was about preserving our country’s Flower-Farming Families. Farmers from Alaska to Florida, California to Virginia spent two days conveying an important message to their elected officials - “Origin Matters”. Whether it is to support ‘local’ jobs and the economy, retain generations of flower farming knowledge, share improved sustainability efforts or to simply ensure that they can compete fairly with the daily flow of imported flowers.

This delegation has assembled as a national group (this being the largest yet) in D.C. for the last five years. They gather to share their stories, experiences and pass on some key messages with lawmakers on Capitol Hill. New farmers, small farms, young farmers, big farms and seasoned farmers all working together, advocating for the future of America's Flowers-Farming Families and leaving a powerful impression with members of Congress and with the new administration. The meetings were a success on all measures and the benefits of American Grown Flowers – The highlight.

Friday, March 10, 2017

Farm Tour: The San Diego Horticultural Society

Heeding the call of the San Diego Horticultural Society, we opened our farm gate to this enthusiastic group of horticulturists, designers, and passionate gardeners. With 2,143 plant species, San Diego County has more species of plants than any county in the contiguous United States. The geography of the county ranging from salt marshes, lagoons, coastal sage scrub, grasslands, chaparral, oak woodlands, stream sides, mixed conifer forests, freshwater marshes and meadows, to desert makes gardening here fascinating and complex. The San Diego Horticultural Society is dedicated to educating residents about gardening in this rich horticulture environment through their publications, seminars, and tours.

Given the abundance of South African and Australian flowers and foliage being grown here in San Diego County, having this group of 75 tour the farm and experience our day to day activities seemed like a natural fit. With the perfect mix of Proteaceae and Australian wildflowers, we knew it would be the just the place for them to capture some garden inspiration. Come along with us, as we venture around the farm.