After a wonderful three days of sitting and learning in San Diego at the California Native Plant Society State Conference on Jan. 12-14, I was ready for some face-time with native plants yesterday.
So . . . off to Santiago Oaks Regional Park, my favorite place to wander–it’s an easy 15-minute drive through Orange to a whole other world of native plants and creatures. Although it’s been grazed and burned and invaded by non-native annuals and slashed through with trails, it remains a place of beauty and biodiversity . . . here’s a few images from my wanders:
After three days in shoes, this is how I spell relief.
I saw six deer, in two groups a couple miles apart. Here's one.
Mule deer mean mountain lions might be near; I always feel safe in my backward-looking cap (since mountain lions only go for fleeing prey, right?)
Just a few newly blooming wild flowers: this is the only wild hyacinth I saw in over two hours (Dichelostemma capitatum)
I also found one spot along the Bumble Bee trail where a few red paintbrush were growing and glowing (Castilleja affinis)
It's called "twiggy wreath" 'cause the flowers come right out of . . . twigs
Flowers on twigs = twiggy wreath plant. Stephanomeria virgata is the scientific name; "virgata" means "wand-like"
Raindrops on the trail–nothing smells better!
Mule deer does and fawns at Santiago Oaks.
The CNPS conference was an excellent learning experience, full of interesting sessions about all-things-native-plants–and so many knowledgeable and friendly experts in so many different areas. It’s going to take me a while to go through my pages of conference-session notes and process it all–and make a few poems out of the experience, I hope.
The conference really made me realize (as if I needed reminding!) what a wonderful ecological treasure our Southern California wildlands are. The challenge remains: make sure everyone in SoCal gets a chance to experience them, learn to love them, work to preserve them.
Step one (according to Rick Halseyof the Chaparral Institute): NEVER use the word “brush” when referring to our local flora. Start with “chaparral” . . . learn what that means, and the appreciation will follow.