Those who might have wondered why the blog has been so quiet off late already know the first half of the story - Ms. Country Mouse's visit to England. The second part is the trip Mr. Mouse and I took to Ashland for some Shakespeare and some time with friends. And here's my trip report about our hike in the Siskiyou mountains - above, the forest of the Siskiyous is actually in the foreground, while Mount Shasta, much further away but also much higher, peaks (literally) out in the background.
The mountains are in northern California and southern Oregon, so it was no surprise that we saw a mix of familiar plants and plants we'd never seen before. Like, what is this?
A bulb, no doubt, but clearly nothing I've ever seen before (this plant lived near a swampy area in full sun).
In the forest, in part shade, another mystery. Sort of looked like a rose, but...
naah, the leaves are all wrong, and the petal arrangement as well.
But as we wandered on, along a shaded but open path, more familiar looking plants appeared.
This looks like a ceanothus. Not one that's native here, but a ceanothus nonetheless. And here...
Yes, that's a Delphinium (larkspur), with a beautiful swallowtail butterfly stopping by for a drink. And this....
Yes, it's a Lewisia, though interestingly I don't think it's Siskiyou Lewisia. Go figure. Right next to it is a close relative of Nemophila (Baby blue eyes), hanging in there in the bright sun. I found it interesting that all the plants up there were about six weeks behind ours, and we were all thrilled that so much was in bloom.
Just look at this hill.
Covered with Wyethia (mule's ears). Here a closer crop.
I was also thrilled to find a tiny relative of mariposa lily, close to the ground and only 3/4 inch across, but quite abundant.
And, fairly high up, a close relative of Eriogonum umbellatum polyanthum "Shasta Sulfur" - or maybe even "Shasta Sulfur" itself.
But I'm leaving the best for last. I didn't even notice what I was rushing past on the way into the forest, but as we walked back, getting close to the car, I saw this.
Could it be? Yes, a native peony! It's actually fairly rare, but I think this is Paeonia brownii, which grows in yellow pine forest. I turned one of the flowers over very carefully to make a photo, then we walked back elated and excited, and ready for the best piece of pie on the west coast! (I had blueberry)