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These wreaths have California flair

Wreath Masters: 'Great British Bake Off' meets California native floral design

Wreath on red door
This wreath by Fran Steinhardt is one of the entries
from Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens.
(Photos courtesy CNPS)

Need fun inspiration for a wreath with a distinctly California flourish? Check out the “Wreath Masters” competition, hosted by the California Native Plant Society.

CNPS challenged botanical gardens, nurseries, society members and other partners throughout the state to create holiday wreaths made with California native plants. The competition culminates in a live event where celebrity judges — Maurice Harris of Bloom and Plume, Katie Chirgotis of Eothen Floral Studios and Chico-based garden writer Jennifer Jewell — will determine the winners in six categories, including best in show.

“We’re imagining a wild mash-up of 'Great British Bake Off' meets California native floral design, aiming to inspire Californians to consider the seasonal beauty, ecological value and horticultural merit of these amazing plants,” said David Bryant, CNPS campaigns and engagement manager and organizer of the event.

“Holiday wreaths are such a fun way to showcase California native plants — not just our conifers like pine and cedar, but Toyon berries, manzanita branches, and even plants like our succulents,” CNPS Senior Communications Director Liv O’Keeffe said. “With more than 6,000 types of native plants, California has more plants than any other state in the U.S. That certainly gives us a lot of potential inspiration!”

According to its organizers, the competition draws attention to the vibrant California native plant community. Among the rules: All wreath submissions must feature plants ethically gathered from home and private gardens. Wild foraging is prohibited.

Square twig wreath on brown door
Su Kraus at Moosa Creek Nursery, a
wholesale native plant nursery near
Escondido, fashioned this simple wreath entry.
Submissions are now available for viewing on the competition’s webpage:

The live “Wreath Masters” competition is set for 6 p.m. Friday, Dec. 18. Judges will pick:

Most “I want to hang this on my door”

Most avant-garden

Most whimsical

Most naturalistic

Kids category (under 18)

Best in show

To witness the judging (which should be fun), register in advance on the Wreath Masters webpage.

You’ll also find tips on how to create your own totally California wreath to celebrate the holidays.


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Dig In: Garden checklist for week of Jan. 29

Bundle up and get work done!

* Prune, prune, prune. Now is the time to cut back most deciduous trees and shrubs. The exceptions are spring-flowering shrubs such as lilacs.

* Now is the time to prune fruit trees, except apricot and cherry trees. Clean up leaves and debris around the trees to prevent the spread of disease.

* Prune roses, even if they’re still trying to bloom or sprouting new growth. Strip off any remaining leaves, so the bush will be able to put out new growth in early spring.

* Prune Christmas camellias (Camellia sasanqua), the early-flowering varieties, after their bloom. They don’t need much, but selective pruning can promote bushiness, upright growth and more bloom next winter. Feed with an acid-type fertilizer. But don’t feed your Japonica camellias until after they finish blooming next month. Feeding while camellias are in bloom may cause them to drop unopened buds.

* Clean up leaves and debris around your newly pruned roses and shrubs. Put down fresh mulch or bark to keep roots cozy.

* Apply horticultural oil to fruit trees to control scale, mites and aphids. Oils need 24 hours of dry weather after application to be effective.

* This is also the time to spray a copper-based oil to peach and nectarine trees to fight leaf curl. Avoid spraying on windy days.

* Divide daylilies, Shasta daisies and other perennials.

* Cut back and divide chrysanthemums.

* Plant bare-root roses, trees and shrubs.

* Transplant pansies, violas, calendulas, English daisies, snapdragons and fairy primroses.

* In the vegetable garden, plant fava beans, head lettuce, mustard, onion sets, radicchio and radishes.

* Plant bare-root asparagus and root divisions of rhubarb.

* In the bulb department, plant callas, anemones, ranunculus and gladiolus for bloom from late spring into summer.

* Plant blooming azaleas, camellias and rhododendrons. If you’re shopping for these beautiful landscape plants, you can now find them in full flower at local nurseries.

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