California Buckwheat

Angeles National Forest, Grizzly Flat, June 25, 2017

Angeles National Forest, Grizzly Flat, June 25, 2017

This weekend my husband and I were supposed to be in Joshua Tree, but with the soaring temperatures, we opted to remain local.  This morning we took a very short hike up Grizzly Flat Trailhead.  It was 92 degrees by 9 am, but we managed to get in a quick trek up the slope and I snapped just a few photos along the way.  There were swallowtails circling down and back up the summit, but they were too far away to get an image.  I did manage to catch a Bernardino Blue, as there were many on the California Buckwheat and also what I believe is a female Lupine Blue who appeared to be ovipositing.

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Welcoming Summer, Descanso Gardens, June 24, 2017

Welcoming Summer, Descanso Gardens, June 24, 2017

We've now reached the peak of the solar year.  The wheel is turning and the days, although warmed by the power of the sun will gradually become shorter as it begins to wane.  For those in tune with nature, we hear her whispering her promise to return to darker days.  But there is plenty to celebrate at this time.  The natural world is full of activity.  Butterflies and bees grace our blooming gardens and the earth changes her colors to shades of golden yellow, bright orange and soft, sable brown.  Summer is in full swing and there is much time to be spent outdoors enjoying the warmth of the sun by day and gazing at the endless stars in the night sky.

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Wild Flower Hill at the Theodore Payne Foundation for Wild Flowers & Native Plants, June 10, 2017

Wild Flower Hill at the Theodore Payne Foundation for Wild Flowers & Native Plants, June 10, 2017

Woke up to a very cloudy morning with some slight drizzle.  I’d already planned on going back to the Theodore Payne Foundation for Wild Flowers and Native Plants to pick up a few more items for my butterfly garden and also take another trek up Wild Flower Hill.  Along the nature trail all the plants are tagged with their names, so it’s a It’s a great way to learn about them.  After a short hike up the hill, I spent some time in the nursery contemplating what additions to add to my garden.  I came home with a few selections:  red fairy duster, aster chilensis 'point saint george' and verbena lilacina.  I’m sure the butterflies are going to enjoy them!  Here are some images from my short hike today.
 

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Wild Flower Hill & the Theodore Payne Foundation for Wild Flowers & Native Plants, June 3, 2017

Wild Flower Hill & the Theodore Payne Foundation for Wild Flowers & Native Plants, June 3, 2017

This past weekend I visited the Theodore Payne Foundation for Wild Flowers and Native Plants.  It’s a nonprofit organization dedicated to the preservation and use of California native flora. The Foundation preserves the lifetime work of Theodore Payne who was a horticulturist and conservationist.  He is considered to be the founding father of the native plant movement in California.   
 
At my home I have a garden dedicated to butterflies, bees and hummingbirds.  One of the biggest complaints I’ve had since starting my garden is that it can be difficult to find native plants at the local garden center.  Nowadays plants are bred to be showy.  They look lovely with their double flower heads and sound charming with their fancy names, but these varieties have been cultivated by breeders and you would never find them growing naturally in nature.  Tampering with a native plant can comprise the benefit it has for wildlife.  For example, a flower that has been cultivated with a double flower head will make it difficult or perhaps even impossible for a butterfly or bee to get to the nectar or pollen.  The Foundation was the answer to my problem!  The retail nursery at the Foundation has the largest selection of California native plants in the region. What a better way to sustain my butterflies, bees and hummingbirds then with the beautiful native California flora!  
 
After perusing the nursery and purchasing some great additions for my garden.  I made my way up Wild Flower Hill.  You can gain access to this ¾ mile nature trail from the nursery.  The trail takes you on a journey through the common plants we have here in our area, and it is also home to an abundance of wildlife and birds.  Here are some of the images from my trek.  
 

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The California Natives Garden, Descanso Gardens, June 3, 2017

The California Natives Garden, Descanso Gardens, June 3, 2017

Spring and Summer are my favorite time of year to explore the California Native section of Descanso Gardens.  This garden was designed by Theodore Payne, an English horticulturist, landscape designer and botanist.  The California Natives Garden hosts the majestic Matilija poppies as well as sticky monkey flowers, sacred datura, California poppies, woolly blue curls, California buckwheat, and Cleveland sage just to name a few.  There is always something new to learn and discover here.

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