Banquet Piece, Pieter Claez

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Chilean Bellota, are the nuts edible?

There are a lot of red flags here:

  1. Nuts rain down during the "nut-raining season", but are not scooped up by squirrels or park visitors. They are swept up and thrown out by the city gardeners.
  2. There is hardly anything written about this tree which could be that I haven't figured out what its current name is yet - Latin name-wise. The tree label says it is Cryptocarya miersii.
  3. A common name for the tree is "Chilean Soap Tree". :OP

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

A Quince to Perfume a Room

From Wikimedia
Two different people have told me about a quince that can perfume a whole room. I have never noticed any fragrance from any of the garden variety quinces that have come home with me.

So I posted a question on the California Rare Fruit Growers forum. It seems that the quince is Pseudocydonia sinensis, also known as Chinese Quince, Karin, Mugua, Mogwa.

I checked the PlantList to see what is currently the accepted name. "Chaenomeles sinensis (Dum.Cours.) Koehne is an accepted name...". So I googled both.

The bark is quite lovely. Why don't more people plant this just for the peely bark?

Where to buy it? Annie's has it on their "wishlist". J.L. Hudson Seeds has seeds.

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Fig Mysteries

Painting by Mrs. Henry W. Kruckerberg, 1902?
from The Smyra Fig at Home and Abroad
Henry Kruckerberg published stuff like
the Proceedings of the California Association of Nurserymen.
Here he is next to George C. Roeding in 1911.
Perhaps Mrs. Kruckerberg turns up
in some of these CAN photos as well.
Original painting is in the Roeding Archives.

John Rock, George Roeding, Gustav Eisen, James Shinn: These are names that are part of our local fig stories.

Quotes are intriguing: "Rock (according to Eisen) was the “owner of the largest assortment of fig varieties collected in one place."

Where did those figs go?

Other local mysteries are "Who was first to solve the mystery of caprification of the Smyrna fig?" If you listen to the descendants of the Shinn and Roeding families, this still hasn't been answered. Apparently there is a hand-written unpublished 75-page document written by George Roeding that will answer this question (BR).

When Gustav Eisen mentions the people who he has worked with, why does he leave out George C. Roeding? We know they worked together closely on the mystery of caprification. And he's mentioned many times in his book, This Fig. But no thanks? What's the scoop on that? The Roeding family says that Eisen might have been the first orchard manager for Fancher Creek. (BR)

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Plants of old Mission San Jose

From Library of Congress

What plants were present when E.L. Beard first gardened at Mission San José?

From David Streatfield's article "'Paradise' on the Frontier", he says "Knowledge of the plants that Spanish missionaries and the Mexican civilians introduced into California is still scanty. Little archaeological exploration has been carried out on any of the sites and the principal source of information is, therefore, documentary. Unfortunately, little documentation remains in the Mission records and heavy reliance has to be placed on what visitors such as Captain George Vancouver, F. W. Beechey, Sir George Simpson, and Edwin Bryant recorded in their diaries.

From these sources, it is evident that they grew date palms, olives, pepper trees, the native willow and wild cherry, hollyhocks, oleanders, carnations, nasturtiums, fouro'clocks, sweet peas, portulaca, French marigolds, calla and madonna lillies, Matilja poppies, Nicotiana glauca, jonquils, wallflowers, violets, Arundo donax, date, Mexican fan palms and the native palm, Washingtonia filifera."