Garden Plants from the Wilds of Wilder Ranch State Park

I enjoy seeing the plants in my garden out in their native wild habitat. More and more I'm aiming to create a garden from native plants that grow (or could grow) wild right here. Hence all my seed collecting of late! But in my "entrance garden" and around the house I allow more latitude for aesthetic gardening. That's my aim anyway. I have lofty ideals. Then I get out to the nursery and forget about theory.

Anyway from local CNPS sales and nurseries , I have purchased Erigeron glaucus, Seaside Daisy (above) and Dudleya caespitosa, Sand lettuce (below, I think-- could have been D. farinosa but it looks more like caespitosa). It was fun to see them at Wilder Ranch State Park on a short coastal hike yesterday, and some other interesting things. One day I'll get a great picture of brown pelicans - they coast lazily along the updrafts in the late afternoon, hundreds probably, heading north, for dinner I guess. But not this time.

Below is Eriophyllum Staechadifolium (say that fast three times!) -- lizard tail. I don't have this in my garden as I'm not so fond of the yellow, but out here against sky and sea it's great:

Too bad I couldn't get pictures of the cliff swallows, they were just too quick, but on the cliffs of Fern Grotto Beach there is a colony of nests we visit every year to enjoy seeing the birds swoop in and out. The top right nest has a bird peeking out, the little white bit. Use your imagination!

Here's a picture from April 2008 showing more bird activity:

Below is a distant view of Fern Grotto Beach, also from 2008, the grotto being the dark blob. Sea is off to the left.

Here's a picture from the beach looking out to sea. Mr Wood Rat in the distance, also from April 2008. The cliff swallow nests are on the cliff up to the right of this picture.

It's just a wonderful place. And finally, to give you the whole perspective, here are some of the ferns of fern grotto beach - I think they are Lady Fern - Athyrium filix femina, but I'm not exactly sure.

Just in closing - I got a half-decent picture of Agelaius phoeniceus - AKA red-winged blackbird. They are very common on the coastal bluffs of Wilder Ranch State Park. I love their unmusical call. I guess these are all over America so any US reader would be familiar with these. But we don't get them in the UK, and I just love their splash-of-crimson epaulets:


Wow, those cliff nests are amazing! I love the redwing blackbird, too. By the way, I know this is way north of you, but have you ever visited the Mendocino Coast Botanical Garden? What did you think?
Country Mouse said…
Hm No - I haven't been on a trip up the coast for a long time - Thanks for the tip though. I'll be sure to drag Mr Wood Rat along next time we're up that way. As long as he can run there he'll be happy. He's an active rat who doesn't like to linger long over things botanical!
Michelle said…
What a wonderful spot and great photos! I'm going to have to get up your way and take a hike there.
Barbara E said…
I agree with you on moving towards using more local natives - those that may have been here before us - in my garden. The hard thing in the LA area, especially since I don't live near open space, is knowing what it was like. Also the hydrology is so changed that we probably can't go back. Still I am heading for more buckwheat, black sage, sagebrush, and other coastal sage scrub plants. Love you seashore pictures!