Off In The Weeds
The local coastal sage and chaparral is all greened up. We took a walk. California in a brief lush springtime:
A lovely Mimulus, right by the trail:
Black sage, Salvia mellifera, with new flowers just opening. The common name describes the old seed heads, which turn black as they dry. The flowers are a pale blue--the light was too bright and the delicate color is washed out here:
Marah macrocarpus is having a banner year probably due to the heavy rain of December. It's everywhere around here, and luxuriant. A neighbor's chain link fence is completely engulfed.
The carpus is indeed macro:
Native invaders are having a good year too. Pampas grass, milk thistle, Fennel, and what from a distance I hoped was California Golden Poppy turned out to be freeway daisies, perhaps a Dimorphotheca or Osteospermum hybrid.
A rare sight for Southern California, actual water. Unfortunately fan palms were taking advantage of it:
Silybum marianum, "blessed milk thistle". Quite dramatic and ornamental variegation, but the park ranger was alarmed to see it. A baddie for the native coastal sage scrub, apparently:
Pampas, O evil one:
Fennel, Foeniculum vulgare, which can be aggressively invasive in this area. Last year's flowers dried brown:
A mass of Eucalyptus saplings. The park ranger said they were slowly removing them all and restoring the native coastal sage scrub. They have a long way to go.
Lovely, but possibly another exotic invader, perhaps Rubus armeniacus?
More heartening to see were some native shrubs that looked to be thriving. This grand old Toyon, Heteromeles arbutifolia, looked like a beautifully laced-out specimen tree, though this is its natural shape after decades of growth.
And a Lemonadeberry, Rhus integrifolia, holding up well even though surrounded by Eucs:
A happy Brittlebush (Encelia farinosa) seedling. Nice to see native seedlings.
Even the poison oak looked great--from afar, very afar:
What a good walk that was! Get out and have a look before it gets too hot. There are more than just weeds. It's beautiful out there.