Regional Gardening Reports :: National Gardening Association

Southern California Coastal & Inland Valleys

June, 2001
Regional Report

Shows & Events

National Cactus and Succulent Show
The Huntington Botanic Gardens in San Marino will be hosting the National Cactus and Succulent Show and sale on June 30 and July 1 from 10:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. The show will be held at Friends Hall. More than one thousand award-winning plants will be on view, including graceful, prickly, dainty, bizarre, and common cactus and succulents from around the world. There will be cacti and succulents for sale, many propagated from the Huntington's collections. To get inspired, visit the 12-acre Desert Garden, with its 10,000 species and decades-old specimens.

For more information, contact the Huntington Botanical Gardens, 1151 Oxford Road, San Marino, (626) 405-2100.


Strawberry-Rhubarb Brown Crisp
I just learned on the "Victory Garden" television show that the reason strawberry and rhubarb have been so frequently paired, as in strawberry-rhubarb pie, is because a red variety of rhubarb was once distinguished from a green one by calling it "strawberry." It had nothing to do with joining the two fruits together for cooking.

In Southern California, with our mild winters, rhubarb and strawberry harvests overlap for only a few magical weeks. I relish preparing the simple dessert of fresh crushed strawberries spooned together with rhubarb that's been sprinkled with sugar and steamed just till the strands fall apart. For a more sophisticated recipe, try this one.


1 1/2 pounds rhubarb, cut in slices (diagonal is prettier)

1 1/2 cups halved or quartered strawberries

1 tablespoon finely grated orange zest

2/3 cup sugar

2 tablespoons dark rum or water

3 1/2 tablespoons quick-cooking tapioca

1/2 teaspoon allspice


Place all ingredients in a large mixing bowl and toss them together until well mixed. Let rest for 20 minutes so the tapioca softens.

Topping Ingredients:

1 cup light brown sugar, packed

1 cup flour

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/8 teaspoon salt

2/3 cup pecans

1 stick plus 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened, cut into tablespoon-size pieces


Place an oven rack in the center of the oven and heat the oven to 350oF. Place the brown sugar, flour, cinnamon, salt, and pecans in a food processor and pulse on/off to combine (or mix with a spatula). Scatter butter over the mixture and pulse or mix again until the mixture starts to clump.

Mound the fruit mixture in a 9-inch, deep-dish pie plate. Scatter the topping evenly over the fruit and gently pat in place. Place on a baking sheet in the oven to catch overflow juices. Bake until the top is well browned and juices bubble, about 50 to 60 minutes. Let rest till just warm, then serve.

Serves 6 to 8.


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