Monday, March 30, 2009

Hunting for Wildflowers: Russian Ridge

Country Mouse has clearly been very busy with her propagation projects and with posting (and posting) about them. But my reputation is already ruined, so Mr. Mouse and I decided to go for a stroll and hunt for wildflowers. The evening before, we fortified ourselves with a tasty dinner of gnocci with broccoli and morels from the front garden (discussed here and here, yes there are 2 posts). Then we had Sunday brunch with a friend, and she accompanied us for the hunt.
Russian Ridge is part of the Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District, and I remembered sunny hikes through owls clover and lupine. Tut when we got there it was quite chilly, windy, and mostly green. Still, we were ready for the hunt. I found another jacket in the car, and off we went. And after a rather short time, the first sign of success:

This is clearly a mallow, but I'm not sure which one. But we weren't quite so keen on having all the right answers, we mostly wanted to enjoy the flowers.

Shortly afterwards, we noticed the first little Viola pedunculata ssp. tenuifolia, also known as Jonny jump-up. They were easy to miss because the meadows were dotted with Ranunculus Californicus, or California buttercup. But one of my affliction is an exaggerated sense of color, so I easily picked out the slightly more orange Jonny jump up, and suddenly we all saw them everywhere.
To get out of the wind, we turned and ambled into a small oak woodland, where we saw many Cynoglossum grande or houndstounge. Many thanks to Mr. Mouse, who took all the photos (I especially like this one). Many thanks also to Mr. Country Mouse Sr., that is Country Mouse's dad, who is letting us test drive his camera.


When we came out of the woods, we were on the southwest slope of the hill. Here, it was not so windy and we found more wildflowers.

A stunning small lupine which I believe to be Lupinus bicolor. In a little while, there will be fields of this lupine in the serpentine regions -- if the weather cooperates. But right now, they are special and precious indeed.

And finally the most stunning poppy, just a day after the first poppy opened in my own back garden.
Somewhat chilled on the outside but warmed on the inside by all the beauty we had seen, we climed back into the car and took the trip back to town, hoping we could return in a few weeks to enjoy a little more of the wonderful but short wildflower season.

6 comments:

queerbychoice said...

I went wildflower hunting yesterday myself! But I saw almost exclusively annuals, whereas it's overwhelmingly the perennials that interest me most.

That mallow looks an awful lot like a Sidalcea. And I envy you the sight of the Cynoglossums, because I've never yet seen one and I've been thinking that I'd really like to grow some in my garden. It would be nice to be able to see one in person first. Well, and it would also be nice if I could find anyplace that sells it.

Daffodil Planter said...

Ah, my native watershed. Did you see any of the Painted Lady butterflies that migrated through last weekend? Perhaps the wind up on the ridge deterred them.

Country Mouse said...

Great photos - lovely blue misty distances, and popping colorful flowers! pretty good camera, eh?

Pam/Digging said...

The bicolor lupine looks so much like our native lupine, the Texas bluebonnet, that I'm not sure I could tell the difference.

lostlandscape said...

Thanks for the tour. It's definitely wildflower season down my way too. We share a few plants--poppies, mallows--but you've got some nice more northern species as well. Sounds like a great walk!

Randy Emmitt said...

I always enjoy seeing new wildflowers! The only one of these I'd seen before was the lupine. Thanks for this post.