From the monthly archives:

April 2009

Nodding Needle Grass

by Lorraine on April 12, 2009

A reader caught my typo on this native grass…I was  just really tired when I was posting and I’m glad that she saw my mistake.   I love native grasses and I don’t know too much about them, other than there is a huge variety to choose from and one of my favorites is Deer Grass, Muhlenbergia rigens.  

They are a spectacular plant and can grow as high a 5 feet and 6 feet wide.   My garden has four of them, and one in particular has done very well.   I have seen them in the Los Padres Wilderness/Sespe area  and typically I’ve seen them near stream beds They usually can be found grouped together in an area and they are very beautiful.   I guess I should provide a picture of one here in the blog but believe it or not, I haven’t taken any photos of them.

I spent yesterday in the Sespe, helping with a re-route of a trail.  It was a very physically demanding day, cutting brush and creating the tread for a new section of trail and this included moving rocks, too.   The day was perfect and there were many types of flowers and plants blooming and I was constantly distracted by the beauty of the day and checking out the rocks and plants along the trail and in the area.

I’ve taken a number of pictures and in the next few days I will post them, along with their names (if I know them).  It was the perfect day to be outside with a great group of people who all love nature.

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California & Poppies

by Lorraine on April 10, 2009

I have taken a number of photos of the garden recently and it’s difficult to decide which ones I will use today but I decided to include three of them to start.   One is an overview of the entire garden, another along the walkway and the third one will be some plants that are mixed in with each other.

I’ve noticed that in the year and a half since I completed my garden, it seems to be really growing quickly as it has adapted to the soil and other environmental conditions.   It’s almost to the point, that it’s beginning to look a little messy and I will probably have to tame it somewhat or it will become overgrown.

Along the walkway there are Seaside Daisies, some Sage/Salvia, Coyote Mint and the lovely plant with long stems and orange flowers, is a type of Mallow.   I don’t recall which one, as there are many but it’s one of my favorite plants and I love the color of its flowers.   The low growing bush next to it that has purple flowers, is a Margarita BPO penstemon.  I have a number of them in the garden and they have been one of the most successful plants that I chose to use.

In this same area, there is a native grass, Nessella cernua-Nodding Needle Grass.   It is rather tall, with wispy stems that sway gently in the breeze.   I love how it looks and it makes me visualize how a large open meadow might look if it was covered in this grass.  Like waves on the ocean.

You can see it in this picture on the left side of the path.   On the opposite side of the wall, Bees Bliss Salvia is spreading out quite a bit.   It has had beautiful soft lavender flowers on it for the last several weeks and the bees have been very busy collecting pollen from the flowers but now it’s beginning to spread over the sidewalk, so I guess I’ll be forced to cut it back.


Over the Top in Blooms

by Lorraine on April 8, 2009

I said in a previous post that due to the lack of rain this winter, we are seeing a very low bloom in the local wildflowers.   But, I guess that’s not entirely true, as my friend, Heidi who works for the U.S. Forest Service, sent me these photos taken at Figueroa Mt. in Santa Barbara county, north of Los Angeles.

CA Poppies-Eschscholzia californica

The blue flowers in the foreground are, Lupines but I’m not sure what variety as there are so many of them in the species.   Flowers are blooming a bit later than normal but at least we do have some in the area and even along the freeways, you can see Lupine and Poppies.

What a view!

This last picture of a Lupine is lovely!   I’m so envious of Heidi getting an opportunity to see these flowers and wishing that I had been there, too!

Lupine-Lupinus albifrons


A Georgous Day in the Garden

by Lorraine on April 5, 2009

So much in going in my native plant garden, that I should have plenty of things to write about.   Now that Spring is here, most of the plants are blooming like crazy, especially the Poppies!   As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, they want to take over the garden and as much as I love their orange colors and wavy stems, I can’t let that happen.

They are very aggressive and as you can see in the photo, the little botantical buggers are even growing in a seam along the sidewalk.   When they are done, it’s going to be a huge job to remove them and as I discovered last year, the can’t be pulled up.

The Garden in April w/ Poppies

I have noticed that some of them are getting mildew, so it’s just a matter of time when the Poppies are “pooped”.

There are too many plants to mention in this post right now that are blooming.   But I will be adding more pictures and tell you what’s going on in the garden on a more regular basis.

The Hummingbirds are back, lots of bees and plenty of lizards, too.   And the warmer weather of course means to be aware of Rattlesnakes as they come out of hibernation.


Keeping Up!

by Lorraine on April 4, 2009

Okay, okay… tomorrow I’m finally going to write about how the garden is looking in April.   There are many, many plants blooming, the Hummingbirds have returned as well as many other birds and there are quite a few lizards sunning themselves on the rocks and doing their push ups and in general, the garden is a very active place for nature these days.

I’ve taken some new pictures and I’ll begin to post them on this site along with my usual droll comments.   The cats are anxious to be outside now that Spring has arrived but I’m always conscious of them possibly catching birds or lizards.   Especially Chico who seems to be quite the expert in grabbing the little reptiles,  which I don’t like at all.

I think that the same couple of Mockingbirds have made a nest in the back yard in the same  bush that they used last year.   Right near my bedroom window.   They drove us “nuts” last Spring as they never shut up………   So I guess I have that to look forward to once again.