March 2008

Here’s the Star-News story on the review of charter schools in Altadena.

I’ve got a letter to add to this which I’ll post later.

What is it with these people, the latest being “Margaret B. Jones” and her fake autubiography, and the publishers who fall for them? Having been working on my own memoir for a while, it’s crazymaking when this crap pops up. Vroman’s just cancelled her stop there, and for good reason. Here’s the LA Times link,0,3476910.story

So the Star-News’s Larry Wilson commented that the old Wamu building was a local savings and loan years ago. Anyone else know the history of the building? I moved here more than 12 years ago. Then I was with Great Western and I believe that’s what it was then, but can’t be sure. Who can chime in here?

I’m off to Death Valley this weekend with a stop to see the Owens Valley telescopes, so not a lot of time to blog until my return. I’ll have more local history from Michele Zack’s talk at Nuccio’s when I return! And lots of pictures of the desert wildflowers.

Dozens of nurseries and growers once inhabited the hills of Altadena. And if it wasn’t for Pasadena fighting to have the 210 freeway go thru their town, our last remaining nursery would have disappeared long ago. Thankfully, Nuccio’s famed camellia and azalea nursery on Chaney Trail does still remain, and today hosted the Altadena Heritage Society’s Breakfast of tea, coffee and treats, featuring Julius “The Nuch” Nuccio and friend and Altadena historian Michelle Zack.  

In their beautiful location since 1946, “The Nuch” told a gathering of more than 50 flora and history buffs how his family came to start the nursery in 1935.  It was all because his father and nephew gave their gardening obsessed mother a camelia. “She got them interested in plants. She didn’t care if there were dirty dishes in the sink, she’d be out in the garden,” he joked. Their initial nursery was kept in their grandparent’s yard during the war, cared for by the women of the family. Once that was over, grandfather said it was time he got his house back. “When we first got this property we thought we’d go broke,” said Nuccio. “I hated it. Worked here since I was 12. Tried another job for a month, but came right back.”

Wisely, his dad and uncle saw the trends in the nursery business and decided to specialize. They carry more than 500 varieties of both flowers, just a drop in the bucket of the thousands of varieties exist. Their two most famous are the Nuccio’s Bella Rosa and Pink Pearl. They still hand water and fertilize each plant because watering systems killed too many of them.

The soil secrets of both plants: Camellias take 1/3 soil, 1/3 peat and 1/3 pearlite. Azaleas take 2/3 peat and 1/3 pearlite. When the plants are blooming, they’re dormant. That’s when to move them if you need to. Prune right after blooming is complete.  

Nuccio’s has never advertised — yet last summer The Nuch said it was their best summer ever. That’s what growing a business is all about.

 More to come on this. Here are a few pix of the day…


Michele Zack


Don’t miss a chance to talk with the Nuccios about how your camelias and azaleas are doing. It’s a joy to have such a resource in our own backyard.

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