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  • Writer's pictureConejo Valley Botanic Garden

Activities for 14 November 2023

Updated: Nov 16, 2023

Tuesday was unusual in that we didn’t do any actual work in the garden, but, instead, provided a tour of the garden to Emma Volk, Production Horticulture Advisor for Ventura and Santa Barbara Counties. Emma is new to this position and, as our Master Gardener advisor (taking over from Dr. Jim Downer who recently retired), is familiarizing herself with all the Master Gardener sites in Ventura and Santa Barbara counties of which CVBG is one. Emma should prove to be a valuable resource for us going forward.

John Allday, Monica Barton, Daryl Stutley, Nancy Taylor Walker, Janet Wall and I showed Emma the various themed gardens/collections, and as we walked, explained how we approach our work on any given Tuesday. Below, Monica captured John, Emma, Daryl, me, Janet and Nancy at the top of the hill.

Emma’s has an interest is in propagation so we spent some time in the shade house to give her a feel for the scope of that operation. Below, Nancy recorded Monica, me, Emma and Janet looking at the succulents and cactuses which should soon be planted in the Desert Garden in collaboration with the Conejo Cactus and Succulent Society team.

After the tour, Monica, Daryl, Nancy, Janet and I left the garden and took a continuing education tour of the local dragon fruit farm just down the road in Thousand Oaks.

We were given a tour of the plants (below) which included information on their cultivation, characteristics and use. They are all in large pots placed on a sheet of weed cloth, and each is provided with a 5 foot trellis with an open area at the top though which the plants are trained. Fertilizer used includes horse and/or chicken manure from local farms, and 3 inches of mulch is provided for each plant. All the plants are watered by hand.

At the end of the tour we were treated to a sampling of dragon fruit chunks and dragon fruit lemonade. The former was sweet and delicious; the latter was tart and refreshing.


At our garden, there is a dragon fruit “vine” on the back fence (opposite the entrance) of the shade house, and I believe there are some on or near the arbor in the Rare Fruit Orchard. To produce fruit, they need 6-8 hours of full sun. Not sure if any of ours receive that. Also, for small-scale cultivation like backyard gardens, hand pollination using a small brush is often necessary. The ideal time to pollinate flowers is between 8 to 9 PM when they are just starting to fully open.


Enjoy the garden! KMM

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