In a post last november, Where are YOU Planted, Country Mouse, I noted that there used to be a farm here. Well, at a recent neighborhood gathering, I asked one of the original inhabitants of the ridge (disregarding of course the original original inhabitants, the Ohlone Indians) about the farm that had been here before the houses were built - its name is painted an old gate at the beginning of our road.
"Oh, there was no farm," quoth he, "That was some scheme of [another of the other people who originally moved up here], something to do with the planning department, I don't remember now, some requirement so we could keep the status of the road as a private road or something. It had to have a gate, so he put a gate there, and he just put that sign on it so it looked real."
So there go all my theories that this is a farm gone back to the wild - I'm very happy of course, to know that this is land that has not been farmed - only clearcut by redwood tree loggers, which is bad enough - but I believe that much of the existing chaparral was originally chaparral and not converted redwood forest area.
It turned out that my informant at the party was also the person who brought all the Monterey Pines to the ridge. (I blogged about that here.) He explained that the forestry service was promoting their use, and giving them out to home owners, in an attempt to reforest areas that had been clearcut back in the late 19th century. He did agree that they hadn't done so well, as it turned out. I guess the forestry service was not so concerned about restoration of native habitats in those days. I wonder what their approach is now?
BTW, I edited yesterday's Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day post to add notes about each of the plants. You might enjoy a look at that. There is a photo of native plant that has just started growing here, all by itself, Ericameria arborescens.