June 8th, 10 am: visit to large home garden of Gary Michelson

Let’s begin with Wow….
Right at the curb are a couple of Genoa fig trees, a loquat tree, and some of the tallest Fuchsias you have ever seen.  As we walk around to the backyard, you will see a wall covered in a variety of ferns, moss and stag horns and more Fuchsias.  Then there are three exotically shaped metal sculptures covered in Thunbergia on our way to the biggest pistachio tree you have ever seen.  (It weighed more than 8000 pounds when it was moved to its present location.)  Looking up toward the rear of the property is a mountain more than 140 feet high.  The mountain face is terraced with multiple levels of man-made rock formations and waterfalls that might compete with anything in Arizona.  It is beautiful.

Among the spectacular collection of fruit trees we will see, while wandering the many trails, are: 11 varieties of tangerines, 12 varieties of figs, 12 varieties of bananas, including Hawaii’s famous apple banana.  There are two varieties of wampi, 3 varieties of natal plums, and 8 varieties of tropical guavas, including a giant Viet Nam variety.  Gary has a whole collection of low-chill cherries including Cherry of the Rio Grande, Surinam cherry, and Minnie Royal and Royal Lee.  He also has miewa, nagami and fukushu kumquats, kei apples, Pakistani and Persian mulberries, and an entire wall of passion fruit.  There are jaboticabas, plums, apricots and peaches, dragon fruit, concord grapes, atemoyas, all kinds of citrus and a wide variety of berries.  Among the fruit trees are more then 1000 clivias and agapanthus, and there are several koi ponds at the bases of the multiple waterfalls.  Gary also keeps bees.   This is a field trip you do not want to miss!  This is a huge and remarkably diverse garden.  Again, the word for it is ….Wow!

Visitors to Gary’s garden will have to look from below or climb rather steep stairs.  This is not a climb for anyone uncomfortable with heights!  It will be necessary for members to carpool, if possible, due to extremely limited parking in the area.

Call Hal Golden for carpooling needs and offers.  Contact any officer for address.

 Please remember to follow garden etiquette while visiting Gary’s garden.

1. Please do not pick any fruit, even off the ground.  If Gary has ripe fruit that he wants to share, he will offer some to you.  If there is ripe fruit left on the tree or on the ground, it was left for you to SEE, not to pick.  If fruit “falls” while you are standing near, you should alert the gardener but under no circumstances should you pick it up.

2. Please do not break or cut any wood.  Do not collect any seedpods, etc. 

3. Watch where you step.  Young plants and watering systems are often delicate.

4. Please do not enter the home.  There will be a tour of the garden only.  Use the restroom before leaving your home and bring your own water and tissues, should you need them. If you plan to take notes, bring your own pen and paper.

Mind Your Garden Manners   General rules borrowed from the August 1974 CRFG Newsletter

1.  Never wear high heels when you visit a garden.

2.  Avoid pulling blossoms or touching plants.   Your host may have spent years of patient work planning,hybridizing, and grafting.  You don’t want to destroy his work.

3.  Permission to visit the garden does not include a ramble through the house.

4.  Do not ask for seeds, slips, or plants, especially if there is a group.

5.  Do not leave a trail of peanut hulls, gum, candy wrappers or other litter.

6.  Do not smoke.

7.  If there are paths, stay on them to avoid trampling plants, basins, and plots. Close gates you found shut and do not break overhanging branches.

8.  Take your own notebook, pencil, and tissues so you need not bother your host for them.

9.  Ask permission before taking pictures and don’t delay the pilgrimage with your photography.  Consider your host’s time.

10.  Never take a dog.

11.  Be prepared with an umbrella if it looks like rain.

12.  Remember, you are there as a guest.


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