Meadow update

The butterflies were sunning themselves in my front yard today and the bumble bees were buzzing. Spring felt like it had sprung and it wasn't any coincidence that I could be found busy doing spring maintenance tasks like mowing the lawn (even with our scant <2" of rain it needed it after weeks without a cut), weeding, prepping the fire pit, planting, etc. The potted plants were organized: Lemon grass was organized into the trash, our acorns (retrieved from a hike out of Azuza) had sprouted and we have three new oak trees (don't know where I'll use them). I found a likely spot for the Stachys bullata "Rocky Point" purchased last fall that was showing signs of new growth. Along with it in the pot came a volunteer penstemon, now part of my potted collection as well. Two for one isn't bad.

The start of spring always comes with a thaw, metaphorically here in coastal California, and thus it was that I found myself in conversation with the neighbor who has given me the silent treatment for at least five years now. It started with her (hopeful?) question about whether I was moving given the recent work I've done on the house. We then discussed the front yard meadow. She thought it was all weeds. I gently corrected and pointed out the goldfields that had started to bloom as early as a week or two ago. I promised flowers all summer. I hope I'm not wrong. She pointed out that I might have over planted and I agreed that I probably had put too much seed down. I had already thinned some of the most abundant plants but later I pulled another several handfuls. You can hardly see where I've done so.

Here's the current incarnation of the front yard meadow. You can see the goldfields in the foreground - they've shown preference for the street-side facing slopes of the swale, most likely because there's more sun. There's very abundant soft-wooded plants with spade shaped leaves and red veins that I'm calling clarkia until I learn differently, an abundant underpinning of yarrow, some poppies, and even a little red fescue that I think I've identified growing up, hair-like, between the others. There's plenty of turf grasses (weeds) as well. If you make a 2' high hummock out of your old lawn you have to expect that sort of stuff to pop up, despite your best efforts to draw out the bad actors with water in the fall. They have an innate sense of spring and will bide their time until they can creep in under cover of the other plant. The good news is that the natives are definitely the dominant species here and seem to have out competed all but the earliest of turf grass sprouts.


  1. I have some CA golden poppy seeds to share, if you like.

  2. Thanks, but my guess is that I'll have plenty of plants. Even if I just keep the few that I have identified, there will be plenty of seeds for next year.