Afternoon at the California Botanical Garden

Unlike The Huntington where you can find plants from all over the world, this garden focuses on plants native to California.

Near the entrance.

Not sure you can see here, but the mountain top has a tiny bit of snow left even though in the 80s in the garden.

Many of the plants are labeled. This one was not.

This is the sycamore mentioned in the previous photo.
These large trees are everywhere. I did not see a label.
Channel Islands Bush Poppies. I have not made it to Channel Islands National Park yet.
In this photo the snow on the mountain is evident. Much of this garden is forested and cool.
California Iris
Poppies and Firecracker Penstemon.
Wild Iris blooming everywhere.
A small Coastal Redwood forest. Redwood trees grow better if more than one so they can join roots and communicate. I have one in my yard and no space to plant another to keep it company.
One of the mountains often referred to as sisters.
At my house all the squirrels are brown. Here I saw both grey and brown.
California Buckeye. The flowers emit an intense heavenly perfume.
The flowers. If I had space in my yard, I would plant one.
Wild strawberries.
The edge of a sculpture garden with some interesting sculptures.
Poppies and Iris.
More Iris .
Many flowers, many colors growing together.

First Flowers on the Rim of Wonder

Spring comes several weeks later in the country compared to town.  The recent rains caused a sudden rush of beauty for wild flowers and iris which grow here almost as readily as the wild, native plants.  They seem to appreciate this high, semi-arid country.


These iris thrive in spite of native, caliche soil, no extra water, nothing.  About 1 1/2 years ago, I simply planted them without soil amendment or fertilizer.  These are rebloomers.  They will bloom again in autumn.


These I planted along side the barn.  Once again no soil amendment, nothing extra.  However, they receive extra water from rain running off the barn roof.

Notice, the tallest one.  I did not even know I had one that color until it bloomed.


Here it is up close.  Now for the wild flowers I found just strolling around after letting my horse out to graze.


After looking through a couple of native plant books, I gave up on identifying this one.  If someone who reads this knows, please tell me what it is.  I have also heard there is an app for my iPAD that identifies plants.  I have yet to find it.


This grows by the retaining wall near the barn.  Although the flowers look like guara, the rest of the plant does not.  What is it?


Chocolate flowers were in full bloom a few days ago.  Here is one still blooming with a few scrambled eggs (yes, the common name for the smaller flowers) here and there.


These carpet large portions of the pasture.  Guessing they are some type of wild onion but not certain.


The blackfoot daisies are just beginning to bloom.  They will cheer up the landscape all summer and into the fall.

As more flowers bloom, I will add photos of flowers living here on the rim of wonder.





Photos from a late spring evening

After completing the horse chores, I decided to take a walk and photograph the new green.  This time two weeks ago, everything except the juniper trees was brown and dry.  Some of the native bushes had not even shown their usual spring leaves.  Many plants in arid and semi-arid environments lie dormant until the rains come.  Five inches in five days transformed the landscape here.  And it brought out hordes of mosquitoes, but that’s another story.


A wildflower, sundrops, a type of primrose, grows in even dry hard soil as you can see here.


A few sundrops had even come out before the rain, but many more are visible now.


Hard to believe the sudden greenness.  What a difference water makes.


Three species of juniper grow where I live.  Some people have told me these trees are hundreds of years old.



Looking across the canyon from my house I see various cavelike places such as the one here.  Great places for the foxes, coyotes, and bobcats to live.


Blackfoot daisies, tough, drought tolerant, enduring, a favorite because they grow everywhere and anywhere all summer.  When they appear among flowers and bushes I have actually planted, I just leave them there.  They provide a kind of perky joy.


Green everywhere and they predict thunderstorms for the next several days.  At 100 degrees today, the green would not last long without more rain.


These little red spots appeared in clusters here and there everywhere as I strolled around.  I think they are the beginnings of a plant but I have no idea what.


Both lavender and catmint do well here.  In the background last year thyme spread everywhere, but for the first time in several years, it died out over the winter.


Mexican bird of paradise, also called desert bird of paradise, is one of my favorites.  This is just the beginning of a truly spectacular bloom.


In the background Greek oregano grows.  Along my rock retaining wall Mediterranean plants seem to grow well.


Blackfoot daisies growing in native grass.  All this was brown except for the daisies two weeks ago.


Most of the flowers which do well here or are wild seem to be purple or yellow.  Salvia does well, but it is barely in bloom.


A type of dalea, this very drought tolerant shrub grows everywhere wild around my place.  If there is no rain, it does nothing and looks dead.


This is another plant that looked dead two weeks ago and then suddenly a couple of day ago came out in full bloom.  I have looked through two wildflower books and still remain uncertain as to the name of this plant.  If some reader out there knows, please email me the name or comment on this post.

Living here on the rim of wonder gives me great joy.

Friends and Flowers



On my way home from work today, I stopped by a friend’s house to get some Black Eyed Susans.  She and her husband run a bed and breakfast with a spectacular garden in the back.  Iris of every color are blooming, yellow, lavender and white, peach, every shade of purple, and one a combination of colors I have never seen before.  The lavender and white combined in one flower I gave her in the fall of 2012.  They rebloom and spread rather rapidly.  Because of that and the fact that I cannot bear to throw any away, I have them by the barn and here and there.  Some do better than others–a lot of the soil here is either clay or caliche or a combination, not very conducive to anything but the toughest.  She has a rose bush taller than I am which means it must be about 5’6″ or 7″.  Another deep red rose was already blooming.  She gives me flowers and I wait and see how they do or if the deer or bunnies will eat them.

Today’s weather brought perfection, a rare treat of just the right temperature, sunshine, and no wind.  When I arrived, her husband was napping in the garden in a lawn chaise.  He got up, we all walked around the garden, looked in the koi pond, and commented what flowers seemed to flourish more readily than others.  Many flowers which do well in town either die out here in the country only twelve miles away or fail to thrive.  They just sit there and do nothing.  She and I have shared flowers for years, flowers and conversation and wine.  We all decided to sit town and share some wine and cheeses and crackers and visit.  They travel widely and always have tales to tell.  He is from Jordan so we discuss world events.  Part of today’s conversation centered on Boko Haram and the differences between Shia and Sunni.  He is Sunni and I used to be married to a Shiite.  Often we discuss extremism and how it harms everyone, regardless of religion.  None of us understand the hatred some people seem to feel toward others who are different from them either my race or religion or ethnicity or gender.

As soon as I returned home and changed into gardening clothes, I fed Rosie, and planted the Black Eyed Susans with a big dose of water and root stimulator.  Who knows if they will make it.  I will wait and see.  If they do, they will contrast nicely with the purple of the catmint and the white, tiny, native Blackfoot Daisies growing wild among the other plants in my little garden.  What more can a person wish for than spending time with good friends among the flowers.  And a little wine never hurts.