Sunday ramblings

We just got the latest issue of Garden Design Magazine and in the “shopping” section an article titled “Urban Outfitter” talks about San Francisco’s newest nursery, Flora Grubb. The article says the opening “raises the bar for garden centers everywhere”.

We talked about this nursery back in June and again in July. In the article the author Donna Dorian calls Flora, “California’s horticultural fashionista”. The nursery “announces the new age of the urban nursery-and raises the bar for garden centers everywhere.”

This is a bit much. It’s a beautiful facility, bright, airy, and new. The plant selection consists mainly of succulents, acacias, agaves, and other succulent type plants. Most of these won’t grow outside the frost free climate of The Bay Area. So to call Flora California’s “fashionista” is a bit over the top. Maybe "San Francisco's fashionista" would be a better title. Of course this is what folks living in San Francisco would think as anywhere outside" The City" most likely doesn’t count. Hey I lived there, I know.

Recent issue of Wine Spectator has a great article on “The Wide World of Olives”. There are so many types available now, along with oodles of different types of olive oil. We had Gold Hill Olive Oil Co. at our recent Creekside Festival. What an eye opener for me. The flavors of all the different artesian olive oil are so different in a good way, than plain old olive oil. Tasting olive oil you dip a small piece of bread in a bowl of oil and eat.

I remember when people couldn’t pull olives out of their yards fast enough. Twenty years ago all fat was bad and olives have fat. Plus the olives dropping on patios stained the concrete. The nursery industry answered by creating fruitless olives that had the beauty of the tree, but no fruit. Then about 10 years ago people started to realize that the fat in olives is a good fat, plus Americans started to see small batches of artesian oils turning up and liked these new flavors. My how things can change in a few short years, you can now buy full size fruiting olive trees and have them trucked to your villa.

Our county, El Dorado has over 50 wineries located inside its borders. We have about 12 within 15 miles of here with three within 6 miles of the nursery. While Napa and Sonoma get the lion’s share of interest it’s the other wine regions in California where the action is.

Here you have small operations where the wine maker is often the person pouring the wine. We had Mari Wells from David Girard Vineyards at the nursery for our Creekside Festival. The winery is planting more Rhone varietals which perform well here in the foothills. Originally most of the wineries here planted the common grapes that you would see in Napa, Cabernet, Merlot, Chardonnay, etc. While our wineries still have lots of these varietals planted our winemakers have finally started planting varieties that do well here, rather than what does well in Napa and Sonoma. Now this region will start to really shine as we express the “terroir”of the region.

I wonder if Eliz at Garden Rant has ever had an El Dorado appellation wine. She has a new section called “Drink This” where she plans on “visiting wineries near and far and interviewing growers and winemakers (New York State and Southern Ontario both have well-established viticultural regions).” She continues, “The category won’t be limited to wine, though; it will include any agriculturally produced liquid that one can ingest without serious harm.” I say as long as no "serious" harm is done, lets get pouring!