Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Green Season

A friend of mine says that here in Southern California there are only two seasons, green and brown. If that's the case, then we are definitely entering our green season as evidenced by our latest Canyon Walk in Lunada Canyon. It has been several months since I was able to accompany the others on our monthly walk and I was delighted to find the canyon recovering so well from the goats, the blight, and the very dry fall. All we needed was a little rain.

The signs of early spring included the "pussies" coming out on the Arroyo Willows, Salix lasiolepis, that grow in the bottom of the upper canyon where it is wettest.

This is a California Sagebrush, Artemisia californica, that had been decimated by the goats. It's making a nice comeback although goats are not very neat pruners. This plant has the most wonderful smell. If you gently brush the leaves and then sniff your fingers, you'll be rewarded with a truly unique California frangrance.

Here is our brave little Bladderpod, Isomera arborea, plant. There are many Bladderpods in the canyon, but this is the one that was most devastated by the blight. To find it blooming so early in the year was a welcome surprise. The beetles seemed to be delighted as well.

I was also very excited to find the lupines coming back. There were several Arroyo Lupines, Lupinus succulentus, just getting started in the area that had been mowed, but my favorite is the Longleaf Bush Lupine, Lupinus longifolius, that is half buried in some sage plants. It had lots of new growth and several budd stalks coming up. You can see one of them on the right side of the photo.

I'm looking forward to the burst of blooms we will find on our next couple of walks.

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