Southern California Coastal & Inland Valleys

September, 2003
Regional Report

Favorite or New Plant

Fall-Foliage Landscape Trees
This is the perfect time of year to plant a tree to beautify your yard. The roots will get well established before they go dormant, ready for the spring surge of both foliage and root growth.

Decide what you want from a tree -- where it will be planted and for what purpose. If you want summer shade for the house, a deciduous tree planted on the south side would be appropriate. If you prefer a pleasant window view, a grouping of silver birches might be nice.

Fall colors come alive with many trees, including beech, birch, coral tree, gingko, liquidambar, magnolia, maidenhair, Japanese and other maples, crape myrtle, persimmon, Chinese pistache, sour gum, Chinese tallow, tulip tree (named for its tulip-shaped leaves), and zelkova.

Once you've made a preliminary choice, consider the mature size of the tree. Does the area allow the tree sufficient space when it's mature? Have you planned for the different needs of the shaded and moist soil underneath its widespread limbs? When all these considerations seem to fit, purchase it and plant it.

Avoid planting trees that are prone to wind damage. These include acacia, ash, cypress, elm, eucalyptus, liquidambar, California pepper, and pine.

Recipes

The Last Summer Salads
These combinations of whatever's on the vines can be altered to taste — or to include what's abundant! Cooked vegetables also can be added, and including beans and corn will provide a complete protein meal! It's a great way to congratulate yourself on your harvests, whether first or last of the season.

Ingredients
1 large clove garlic
1/2 teaspoon seasoned salt (I prefer Lawry's)
2 tablespoon oil
1 tablespoon red-wine vinegar or mirin (Japanese rice wine) or balsamic vinegar
2 large tomatoes, cut into bite size pieces
1 cucumber, cut into bite size pieces
1 green or red sweet pepper (I prefer pimiento), cut into bite size pieces
1/4 cup parsley, coarsely chopped (you can tell I love the stuff)
1/4 cup cilantro, coarsely chopped (optional—some folks hate the taste; I love it)
1/8 cup fresh basil, coarsely chopped or torn

Preparation
Mash garlic and salt in a salad bowl (the salt helps release the flavor). Add oil and vinegar. Whisk to combine. Add vegetables. Gently toss to coat. Let sit 15 minutes to 1 hour to meld flavors, turning several times to recoat with dressing. Enjoy!

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