Saturday, June 6, 2009

Wildflowers of Los Padres National Forest

My wonderful trip to Tassajara last month left me with fond memories and a rather large set of photos. This is the final batch before I'll return to the garden.

The photo on the left, taken by Mr. Mouse, shows a Delphinium (Larkspur). There are a number of native larkspur in California, and I'm not sure which one I saw. It was a large delphinium, usually deep blue with the occasional albino. And there were fields and fields of it, along the road and further out along the hiking trails.


Quite breathtaking, and so soon gone.


Near the Tassajara compost buildings was a very nice batch of Penstemon centhrantifolius (Scarlet Bugler). This perennial is actually fairly easy to grow in the garden. It blooms for quite a while and is beloved by hummingbirds. I had two that were starting to get big but bound for the shade of my growning plum tree, so I tried to transplant them. Alas, easy to grow, hard to transplant. I'm thinking of planting a few in the front in the fall to make up for the loss. Of course I was especially thrilled to see them at Tassajara.

In the shadier areas were Collinsia heterophylla (Chinese houses), which are annuals that adapt well to garden conditions and even in the Country Mouse garden up in the hills. It's easy to see how they got their name; the petals evoke pagodas rising up into the sky.


Back in the sun, Castilleja (Indian paintbrush), which was also especially abundant this year. I used to think it's not possible to grow this plant in gardens, but a post at the Dry Stone Gardens blog tells of a nursery that sells them. The nursery grows Castilleja together with its host plant. You just plunk them both in the ground, and enjoy them both.


A blooming succulent in the rock crevices along the road was also new to me. Another perfect drainange plant, most probably, but so beautiful.

I'm actually growning several California succulents this year, and I'm very happy with the interesting structure, beautiful flowers, and insects and hummingbirds that come visit. But that's for another post.

For now, just one more picture of the wildflowers, reminding me how beautiful it all was. I've been invited to go back to do more bodywork on the residents in September, but it will be strange to walk the dusty road without the joyful colors of the flowers. But I'll know then that the rains won't be far, and another wildflower season will follow.

5 comments:

Tatyana said...

Hi Town mouse! Nice flowers, I love the blue ones especially. I agree with you regarding a penstemon. Mine got big, started to crowd other plants on the sunny bed, and I moved it to the different spot. Well, it is not doing good. Grows, but very few flowers.

Barbara E said...

I love the Dudleya too. I grow them in containers. Mine are blooming now also. Beautiful post. Thanks.

ryan said...

Nice photos. Impressive amounts of paintbrush and I like the red flowering dudleya. Mine all bloom yellow. Thanks for the link love. The Watershed Nursery should get more attention than it does.

lostlandscape (James) said...

Great plants! I have a couple dudleyas in bloom right now myself. Such great plants.

I've seen paintbrush offered in catalogs with other host plants as well. (2 plants for the price of 1!) I wonder if planting the seed around one of these plants in the garden would get them going. Worth a try, I love an experiment...

Gail said...

I love the wildflowers...the penstemon is a darling and we have a native Collinsia in our garden. So many plants to learn about! gail