Saturday, April 26, 2008

Fountain Update

Everything's growing well in the fountain and the Lotus 'Amazon Sunset' has begun blooming.

In the back, the Triteleia 'Queen Fabiola' bulbs have sent up their long slender leaves. And the Epilobium is still behaving itself.
Algae grows below, but not at lethal levels.
There were tons of frog egg masses...
...but now they're mostly tadpoles. There also are a few dragonfly nymphs, so they had better watch their backs.
The banana slugs have returned for the growing season. I've noticed significant damage on some of the lily seedlings, especially the Lilium rubescens for some reason. I've moved most of the liy pots onto overturned pots in the fountain. Since I live in Eureka, I can't check on them as much as I'd like.

It's not pretty, but what could be better than a moat?

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Bear Valley

From Philadelphia, my father and I flew into Sacramento to spend a couple days with my brother and his family in Woodland. There, we also met up with my mom, and one of my sisters visiting from Idaho. We decided to go for a drive through Bear Valley in Colusa County. You can read a blurp about Bear Valley from the American Land Conservancy here. I tried to do a little roadside botanizing, but as patient as my family is, I had to make it quick.

Purple was in good supply. There were brodiaeas (they were everywhere, I don't know why I don't have a picture), lupines, vetches, and even a few penstemons and delphiniums.

I really like this dandelion relative, but I don't know the name. (My botany skills are limited the further east I go.)

Here's some Castilleja with purple Vicia and somekind of yellow boragenaceous plant.

There were a few corrals at the beginning of the road that were filled with tidytips (Layia platyglossa).

Birds-eye gillia was sparse but beautiful.

Some Zigadenus. I told my family that this was death camas, the plant that was sometimes mistaken for camas, the edible bulb of native american and pioneer fame.

There was a sward of them.

Here's a poor picture of a lone yellow Calochortus, for any Calochortus aficianados out there (mmw).

And last on the tour, is a personal favorite: cream cups (Platystemon californicus).

Alas, from this time forth, every California wildflower is bittersweet.

I'm not dead

But I am jumping off a cliff into the depths of Philadelphia to “hunker down” in the dark wood paneled halls to master my understanding of landscape. The campus is gothic and the program (and city) seems the type that will burn any weakness out of me. I will be white-hot when I finally emerge.

Already I'm planning my summer escapes back to California--maybe Santa Barbara or San Francisco--to fortify my horticulture and to reconnect with its plants and land.

I'm glad I have this summer to transition from one extreme (living alone at Big Lagoon) to the crowds and screaming subways. It's nuts.