With a view of the ocean

On a cliff within a short stone's throw of the ocean this garden vignette can be seen by all who hike by.  Click on the image for the full panorama effect.  It's not my taste, but I applaud the whimsey.


Two local wildflowers

Out on a hike* the other day I found two local wildflowers of note. The first one I believe is Mariposa Lily (Calochortus catalinae), shown below with a few pollinators on its leaves.  I only saw the one plant, though I did look for others along the trail.
Mariposa Lily (Calochortus catalinae)  ?


Garden eclecticism

I stumbled across this front yard garden the other day and I have to admit that my first instinct was to mock it in my Don't Do This series, but I quickly decided that I liked the highly personal and eclectic garden. It's nothing I would do, but I admire the person who did it. So here's a salute to garden eclecticism.


The landmark that shouldn't

I'm all in favor of removing palm trees. They tend to be cute at first, but then their negative qualities take over as they mature: invasive, no shade, few ecological services. So when I see someone cutting down a palm, I'm usually all in favor. But please finish the job!
Ah!  Home Sweet Home...with a 5' stump in the front yard.

Garden blooms

Photos taken 3/25, mostly.  The unidentified exotic that I've written about frequently has started to fade at one end of the planter.

The other end of the planter has one that hasn't quite reached its peak.



California Roadkill Observation System update

The title may make you smile or wince, but I think they are doing good things.

 Received in email:

Friends and Colleagues:

As spring leaps upon us, wildlife will begin moving around more and roadkill observers will have more work to do. The short update attached to this message briefly describes some of our progress and next steps. We are contributing to driver safety and wildlife conservation by looking for roadkill “hotspots” where mitigation could occur. We increased our database by 50% when we received some roadkill data from Caltrans and we are trying to get tens of thousands  more observations from Caltrans Districts that collect these data. We remain the largest such system in the US, but not the world (that spot is held by Sweden). We continue to share data with graduate students and others concerned about specific species, or specific geographies. We thank you for your thousands of observations and welcome your continued or renewed participation in CROS.

Fraser Shilling

Fraser Shilling, Ph.D.
Co-Director, Road Ecology Center
Information Center for the Environment
Department of Environmental Science and Policy
University of California, Davis 95616

From the glossy brochure:

CROS is a group of people and an online system for recording dead wildlife found on roads (http://wildlifecrossing.net/california). Since summer 2009, CROS observers have helped identify places on roads and highways where risk to drivers and animals may be greater from collisions. They have discovered a wide range of species affected by collisions with vehicles. They have also contributed to the largest wildlife observation system in the state. CROS developers and observers are volunteers who are interested in where wildlife occurs and gathering information important for conservation. The volunteer crowd includes professional and amateur scientists, as well as natural historians.

More blooms, native and otherwise

The unknown exotic by the door is doing well. Meanwhile, out in the rest of the garden spring is happening!  Click on through to see what the native wildflowers are doing...


I smell organophosphates - it must be spring!

At the local Costco the other day I was able to smell the distinctive arrival of spring by the combined smell of fertilizer and herbicide, conveniently and cheaply sold in economy-sized packaging.  The formula for success is clearly fertilize, water, and spray.


Flowers by the door

Juli says that certain flowers make her happy.  There's definitely an element of that, especially when the flowers are right outside the door.  I'm enjoying this exotic bulb near my back door.  Here's a time history so far:


More spring

Here's that exotic that I showed the other day.  I've been so neglectful of it in previous years and look at what I missed out on.  It has such a delicate appearance for such a durable plant.  Thanks, Carol.  If someone thinks they know the name of it, I wouldn't mind knowing too. 

Rain 0.8"; season total 6.56"

06 Feb 2013 0.8"

The rain came on like they said it would. Rainfall overnight was heaviest, waking me up in a panic once with the sound of what I thought was a burst pipe.

Here's the clouds at sunrise:

My BBQ is featured at lower left. I really like that Weber kettle.

- Posted at great expense from my iPhone


The march of spring continues

I have three lupines growing from the tens of seed that I scattered in my yard.  This is probably arroyo lupine
(Lupinus succulentus), which grows locally. They were blooming all around the hill last week and while I was gone last weekend the ones in my yard finally caught up, but I wasn't home during a time with enough light to photograph them until this morning.

They really look magnificent.

Juli spotted some all on her own the other day and called me excitedly.  Of course she now wants some for the San Pedro annex too ;-). I was pleased to read that given water they will sprout at any time of the year.


First poppy

At the San Pedro annex the poppies have been blooming for a while, but here at home this is the first. It's a holdover from last year that I cut back repeatedly during its blooming season to promote continued regrowth and rebloom.

- Posted at great expense from my iPhone


Spring is upon us!

Winter seems to be over. Southern California can still get remarkable rain through March, but the plants aren't waiting around for it. Here's a (non-native) bulb that my neighbor Carol gave to me years ago. I've mistreated it ever since, appreciating only the brief splash of strappy green leaves. This year with my focus on native bulbs it got some spill over attention and look at what showed up! We'll be keeping tabs on those blooms.
Unknown bulb from Carol Causey