From the monthly archives:

March 2010

Spring’s Arrival in California

by Lorraine on March 27, 2010

The sun is warm, the skies are blue and oddly, we are experiencing Santa Ana winds that typically are an event that happens in the fall months in California and hearld our brush fire season.  But certainly not in the springtime.

I am in my garden, writing this on my new lap top and listening to it blow though the trees with a “sigh”, gently swirling around me as I write and with it’s song, that of the birds too.

With the warmer weather we have already experienced our first rattlesnake of the season, who happened to be dozing underneath a trash barrel and as my neighbor went to pull it in from the street…there was the reptilian surprise.   Needless to say, I am paying more attention to where I put my hands as I poke around in my garden, as a snake bite would certainly ruin any one’s day including mine.

The garden is flush with new bloosoms and fragrance.   Just about everything in it is blooming or just starting to.  I can’t begin to give a list here, as it would be too long but some of the plants that are now blooming are Woolly Blue Curls/Trichostema lanatum, Blue-eyed Grass/sisyrinchium bellum, Penstemons,  including the spectabilis, all the Salvias, India mallow and also Apricot Mallow.  

Some of the bulbs are just getting ready to display their flowers and the Iris’ are hinting at putting on a show, too.  I have two Ceanothus otherwise know as  Far Horizon and they have been blooming for the last several weeks along with the Howard McMinn manzanita.  And not to be left out, the Monkey flowers/Mimulus and Coyote Mint/Mondarella villosa are blooming as well.

In the next few weeks, the garden’s display will only become better, just in time for the Republican Womens’ Club Garden tour which I am on this year.   My garden is the first native plant landscape that they have featured in their tour and I know that the members will have many questions about it, since they are unfamiliar with this type of landscaping.

There are some wildflowers blooming and of course, one of them is the California Poppy and some Baby Blue Eyes.   In the last month and a half I had a problem with a gopher  and this dope managed to eat quite a few of the roots of the poppies, killing a number of them.  So my poppies this year are a little less impressive but still make a glorous fluttery glow with their delicate orange flowers.

Spring has arrived, summer is around the corner and beauty and nature thrive in my garden.

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Camillas, gophers, Lizards & Springtime

by Lorraine on March 16, 2010

Within the last few weeks springtime has arrived in Simi Valley, California.   The arrival brought a plethora of gophers that have been a big  pain in my neck.  Along with them has been an enormous amount of weeds which of course had to be expected due to all the rain we have had this winter and has kept me busy pulling them out before they get too large.

The rain was much needed, which was good unless you happened to live an the areas that burned during the brush fires.   For those unfortunate to live in those areas, they had to endure mudslides and property damage but nothing that dramatic happened here.

It’s just that the gophers have been a big problem for me for the first time and they have  made me think differently about my love for animals because of their relentless assault on my CA Poppies.  I have finally decided to get past any sensitive feelings that I may have about them and now I am putting out traps to catch them.   I would much prefer that one of the cats would take care of this matter for me, especially since all four of them are such “freeloaders”, but they aren’t interested in working for their tuna.

Least I forget (How could I?) there are many birds that have recently arrived into my garden and the neighborhood.   The only ones that seem to be missing in missing this year are the Mockingbirds who typically annoy everyone that is trying to get a good night’s sleep.  I have heard a few very early in the m0rning but unlike previous years, there aren’t mobs of them to irritate us and drive a person crazy with their relentless midnight singing and partying.

Then there are the lizards or “lizzies” as I like to call them.   I love the little reptiles and I enjoy watching them sunning on the rocks in my garden and doing their lizard pushups.  They are such an essential part of a native plant garden as they keep the bugs down and bring in a sense of nature into the garden that is priceless.  Plus I think they are very cute to look at and observe their activities in the garden.

Today has been a perfect day.   The air is pleasantly warm, the skies have been brilliantly clear and all seems good in the world.   I have spent some time in the backyard, doing some weeding and setting gopher traps, which I hate to do.   But as this point,I’mn done trying to be reasonable about it.   I just want them gone.

The garden is very green and almost every plant is blooming.  The Blue-Eyed Grass/Sisyrinchium bellum is just one of many plants that are blooming at this time.  They are considerably larger and I have noticed a number of little  stems  that are coming up next to the original plants and I am assuming that these will develop into new ones and I’m very happy about it, as it will fill in the section nicely.

Some of the Monkey Flowers have started to bloom too and they are also a favorite of the Hummingbirds.   Already these little speedsteers have been darting about the garden and chasing off anything or anyone that they precieve as competition.   And that includes me  too, except I don’t budge.

I still have some non-native plants on my property that were planted many years ago and of these there are three Camilla bushes.   I give them a good soak during the hot summer months but other than that, I don’t do much of anything.   But each spring they produce a very large abundance of lovely flowers.   I have one each of white, pink and candy stripe and the branches are covered in blossoms.

In fact, there are so many flowers that I can’t pick them quick enough before they fall to the ground.   I selected  some for my neighbor the other day and today, I picked some for me as well  and I placed them in several arrangements in the house.   Along with some  Silver Bush Lupine that I picked in the canyon behind my house, it feels like spring and it certainly smells like it too.

Silver Bush Lupine/Grape Soda

 This bush is in the canyon behind my house along with several others.   I picked a bouquet for my house and they smell wonderful!

A bucket of Lupinus albifrons

And then a lovely arrangement for my house.   What a beautiful color and fragrance.

So the perfect day has been one of Camillas, lizards. Hummingbirds, blooming wildflowers, sunny & warm skies and contentedness.   Yeah and even the gophers too…they are here for a purpose but I don’t know what it is.

All that is missing is the arrival of rattlensakes comiong out of hibernation.   And this has been a perfect day for them, too.   They are undoubtedly stirring, feeling the arrival of spring.