Serving the Fullerton Community Since 1922

The Hornet

The Hornet

Serving the Fullerton Community Since 1922

The Hornet

Veggies here, Veggies there, Veggies eVerywhere

Locals were treated to the first ever Veggiepalooza! sale at the Fullerton Arboretum.

Veggiepalooza! is an expansion from the annual Monster Tomato and Pepper sale, which featured over 250 varieties of tomato plants and 190 varieties of pepper plants.


“This year we added different vegetables, herbs and companion plants,” explains Michelle Coker, plant sales coordinator for the arboretum.

Gardeners from beginners to the experienced, enjoyed a beautiful weekend. They walked around, shopped for plants and learned more about the practice of gardening.


Many couples and children with their parents or grandparents were among those who attended the event.


Rodelio Rutger makes the trip from Anaheim every year to take his daughter, Madison to the arboretum.

“I’m teaching her how to grow our own [vegetables] at home,” Rutger said.

Even those who did not expect to spend the day at the arboretum had a great time picking out plants from the 36,000 grown for the event.

“My wife brought me but I’m the one with the green thumb,” said Eddie Holland from Long Beach.

Attendees were able to ask questions and seek advice from many of the Master Gardeners whom were knowledgeable and willing to teach their best practices and make suggestions.


Master Gardener, Geri Cibellis from Villa Park, held gardening demonstrations. A crowd gathered to listen to Cibellis as she described the various types of tomatoes and tips as to which ones would be good for sauces or in a particular dish.

She also explained companion planting and how it helps with pollination and pest control.

“If you see a large fly that hovers above your tomato plant don’t kill it,” Cibellis said when she clarified that not all insects were bad for the plants.


Cibellis has been volunteering at the arboretum for 15 years. Her love for gardening began at an early age when her grandmother introduced her to it.

The majority of the arboretum workers are volunteers who give their time. They consider this something fun and not work as Cibellis mentioned.

“We cannot do this without volunteer help,” states Greg Pongetti, the nursery manager at the Fullerton Arboretum.

He explains the importance of having the volunteers help plant the seeds in the trays and transplanting them.


Pongetti has been in his current position for two years and his passion for gardening still shines clearly through his actions and on his face.

He walked around and happily answered all questions including what his favorite veggie is.

“Butternut squash, but I really like the herbs, marjoram is one of my favorites,” Pongetti said.

He also suggested putting the two together to make delicious soup.

Pongetti stated that any plants leftover from the sale can still be purchased at the Potting Shed in the arboretum.

Arboretum hours and information can be found at

The Fullerton Arboretum’s next event is Green Scene which will be on Saturday and Sunday, April 12-13 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

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