August 1, 2008

Wildflowers in August? In Redding!?

Posted in blogging, photography tagged , , , at 7:28 pm by czygyny

Recently, I took the dogs down to East Stillwater Creek, which flows by my property. Thanks to beavers, there is still plenty of water in spots, with bullfrogs and dragonflies, herons and ducks enjoying the last haven of water. This is the time of year when the air is heavy with the resinous smells of plants that are tough as nails and that bloom during the driest and hottest time of year. Here are some that I found on my walk.

When the north state is powdery dry and withered, it may come as a surprise to local folks that wildflowers do indeed bloom in August. The oak trees may be hardened off to a blue-green, the manzanita parches away and the grasses are as golden as straw, but here and there you will find splashes of wild color. This Madia elegans grows where most of the late summer flowers are to be found, in dry gravel washes alongside waning creekbeds.

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This next lovely flower has the unfortunate common name of ‘Clammyweed’ due to its sticky plant parts, the Polanisia dodecandra  has an unpleasant odor when brushed. It grows in my garden so well I have to pull out several throughout the season. It resembles cleome, to which it is related.

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These next plants are Hemizonia, the species I am not quite sure of, but these hardy plants have a strong, resinous odor I find appealing.

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This buckwheat, Eriogonum vimineum is a delicate flower that you need to get up close and personal to see its beauty.

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A personal favorite native shrub is the Buttonwillow, Cephalanthus occidentalis. You find this shrubby plant only by areas with water close to the surface, right along side creek beds. It has a spicy fragrance that eludes definition. I use this in my water gardening.

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Now, I dare say that anyone that has been out walking down a country road has seen this lovely sky blue flower, chickory or Cichorium intybus, a relative of the Endive.

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This stunning flower is about 4″ across and sits atop a lanky, sticky plant. It is Blazing Stars, otherwise known as Mentzelia laevicaulis. I also call it Velcro-leaf, for the fact that it will so determinly cling to my clothing that the entire leaf will behave as if it was glued on.

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Not all that is colorful is in bloom. This noxious, but lovely plant is Poison Oak, the bane of kids and dog owners everywhere. It frequently turns red during this time of year as it approaches dormancy.

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This willow has the most interesting green/silver bi-color effect. I believe this is Salix lasiolepis, or Arroyo willow, but I may be mistaken. It makes pussy-willow catkins early in the spring. The beavers find this tree delicious, I find it fascinating.

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Even in death, beauty can be seen. This is the Seepspring Monkeyflower seed pods, looking like tiny paper lanterns. This common yellow wet-land flower, Mimulus guttatus, can be found along side creeks or even ditches alongside roads.

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There is something serene and quieting to a dry-grass display like this. Hare’s tail grass, American brooklime and Mimulus all come together to compose a lovely everlasting bouquet.

The California poppies may be gone and the lupines just a memory, but the determined wildflowers of our area continue on despite the arid weather, all you need do is look.

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4 Comments »

  1. donigreenberg said,

    Beautiful! xod

  2. Chris Nagy said,

    You haven’t lost your talent as a photograher! These are great pictures. Keep up the good work.

  3. czygyny said,

    Thanks, ladies. I haven’t been out with my camera very much lately. I feel bogged down with many cares. Walking up and down my creek makes me feel good and glad to find a bit of color even during this time of dry.

  4. LitaV said,

    I just love your eye catching work, I check your page everyday! Keep Walking! (& Snapping of course!) LOL


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