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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 Sept. 25

This week's warm break will revive summer crops such as peppers and tomatoes that may still be trying to produce fruit. Pumpkins and winter squash will add weight rapidly.

Be on the lookout for powdery mildew and other fungal diseases that may be enjoying this combination of warm air and moist soil.

* Late September is ideal for sowing a new lawn or re-seeding bare spots.

* Compost annuals and vegetable crops that have finished producing.

* Cultivate and add compost to the soil to replenish its nutrients for fall and winter vegetables and flowers.

* Plant for fall now. The warm soil will get cool-season veggies and flowers off to a fast start.

* Plant onions, lettuce, peas, radishes, turnips, beets, carrots, bok choy, spinach and potatoes directly into the vegetable beds.

* Transplant lettuce, cabbage, broccoli, kale, Brussels sprouts and cauliflower.

* Sow seeds of California poppies, clarkia and African daisies.

* Transplant cool-weather annuals such as pansies, violas, fairy primroses, calendulas, stocks and snapdragons.

* Divide and replant bulbs, rhizomes and perennials.

* Dig up and divide daylilies as they complete their bloom cycle.

* Divide and transplant peonies that have become overcrowded. Replant with "eyes" about an inch below the soil surface.

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