You know you're a restoration gardener when...

you are overjoyed at the appearance of this little guy, warts and all. Lupinus hirsutissimus, also known as stinging annual lupine. Right now he's about six or eight inches across but could grow to three feet or so. Here's what Wikipedia says:
It is native to the coastal mountains of Baja California and California as far north as the San Francisco Bay Area, where it grows on dry mountain slopes, including areas that have recently burned. ... The stem and herbage are coated in long, stiff hairs that sting skin when touched.

He doesn't even get proper lupine spires, just lupine flowers growing up the hairy stem. Here's the wikipedia picture from the article above:

Definitely not something you want in the front of a mixed border!

The reason to be overjoyed is that it appeared in an area where we cleared a lot of chaparral. He's growing under a manzanita, and is a "fire follower" - the first in the succession of plants that follows a fire.

His appearance means the land is alive and well, and responding to the absence of vegetation as if a natural fire had occurred, which of course makes the restoration gardener very happy indeed.


Stinging lupine?! Now I've seen it all, LOL. We have stinging nettle, but it's not as pretty. I love really hirsute foliage!
Christine said…
Oh congratulations! It's working, it's working! It's as if this lupine is cheering on your efforts.
What an unusual lupine! Blooms are lovely!
I'll have to keep an eye out for this in the areas we've cleared. Not sure about a lupine with attitude, but the flowers are a pretty color.
I don't get to use the word hirsute nearly enough.
I don't get to use the word hirsute nearly enough.
Noelle said…
Well, that is a good thing then....even if it does sting and is not as pretty as many other lupines. After the fires it must be welcome sight.
That sounds like great news TM:-)
Anonymous said…
I guess I'm not a restoration gardener! I'm sure I'd pull that if it were on my property. And I suppose if I were a proper restoration gardener, I'd plant my yard with nothing but vernal pool species, but I like having trees and shrubs and perennials. At least I try to choose the locally native ones.
Brad said…
Congratulations. I've read alot that says, just by clearing out invasive species alot of our natives come back. Here's hoping this isn't the only one on your cleared slope.
Country Mouse said…
On the shady slope I've seen something I can't recognize, slender with slender three-pronged leaves. I hope I can find it back again. Restorations aren't for everyone but when you have such a botanically rich parcel of land to steward it seems the only way to go. Why would I impose my inadequate idea of beauty on a place that expresses so amazingly all by itself! All the bee plant that appeared after clearing was another wondrous event!

I'm more at home with removing obstacles than with creation when it comes to gardening I guess, at this point in my life anyway.

Thanks for dropping in and leaving comments, all - I'll keep tabs on the little lupine and look for more instances of it! I may also let it sting me when it gets bigger (hopefully it will get bigger) and see how stingy it is!