|Pseudognaphalium ramosissimum - Pink everlasting|
When I got back from a trip to the U.K. I was shocked at the change in the garden. I left it full of blooming clarkia and sage. I watered before I left. Half an hour of sprinkling takes a long time when you have only two sprinkler heads going at a time, on the end of hoses, but it doesn't take the sun long to suck up that moisture.
Yes, it's been a hot dry summer, and of course we are in the midst of an intense period of drought. Even the coyote brush looks stressed.
But for the past month we have been blessed with a thick blanket of night fog that lingers into the morning. (Where blessing, like Mother Nature, is just a kindly metaphor for me.) It relieves us, temporarily, of our fear of wildfire.
Fog-moistened berries are balls of juice and seed, relished by many of our birds: elderberries, coffee berries, and hairy honeysuckle berries.
I've seen more wrentits lately than ever, cheeping their bouncing-ball accelerating monotone, because they can easily access berries from a low-growing elderberry in the chaparral where they hide out.
|Coffeeberry, Frangula californica|
|Lonicera californica, hairy honeysuckle|
And there are lots of seeds that bring California quail into our garden. The amazing display of Salvia 'Winifred Gilman' has turned from vibrant blue to rich brown. Sparrows forage under these plants for seeds too.
I've been harvesting seeds of our local Clarkia - Clarkia rubicunda. I'm at stage one: clipping armfuls, wheelbarrowfuls, of the thin, dry twigs, each bearing several of the long, narrow seed heads whose curling back ends remind me of Mark Twain riverboat funnels. Birds love clarkia seeds too.
Yet here and there pockets of shade hold moisture long long enough to sustain green growth and flowers on the Clarkia rubicunda.
Below is California aster, now named Symphyotrichum chilense. I'm so happy with this plant - it's the first time I've managed to grow one from local wild seed.
And other plants are happy - especially ferns - this is Polystichum munitum, sword fern, with a "cup and saucer" spiderweb.
Other flowers are just happy as can be with the current dry conditions. You might consider some of these for your Coastal California garden.
|California goldenrod, Solidago californica|
|Madia elegans, common madia.. Quail love madia seeds!|
|close up of Madia elegans blossom|
|Eriogonum grande rubescens.|
Encelia californica - coast sunflower, a Southern California native, stays green despite almost no irrigation
|Encelia california blossom|