Spring Delights on the Black Mountain TrailOw

Owl's Clover (Black Mountain Trail)
Regular readers of this blog know that I like to mix up photos from the gardens with photos of California native plants from hikes - or sometimes from other gardens. After all, the subtitle of the blog is "Adventures with California Native Plants".

So, here a few treasures from a recent hike on the Black Mountain Trail. Mr. Mouse and I usually hike this trail in winter, but spring has been unusually cool, so we decided to go in mid-May and were delighted by the many flowers, ferns, and butterflies. 

Above, some owl's clover that we saw on the ascent from Hidden Villa. There are several ways to start this trail - Hidden Villa is the least exhausting, with many switchbacks. And the wildflower in that chaparral area were still outstanding. 

Fernald's Iris (Black Mountain Trail)
Most of the rest of the trail goes through oak woodland, and I was excited to find the delicate flowers of Fernald's iris. Less showy than the more common Douglas iris - but isn't she beautiful? Ms. Country Mouse lives in an area where this iris is locally native and has banned all Douglas iris from the property. In this post she writes about that project - which benefited both the native habitat and the local CNPS chapter. 

Hairy Honeysuckle (Black Mountain Trail)
We also saw Hairy Honeysuckle in bloom - and it was doing better in the wild than in my garden, but also showed some sign of fungal infection. So, it's not just the garden conditions that do this.

Globe Lily with Western Maidenhair Fern (Black Mountain Trail)
We also enjoyed the many ferns along the trail, and next time, I'll make more photos of them. But I did get a very nice photo of Western Maidenhair fern, with a globe lily in the background. Sure, I had meant to photograph the globe lily, but no matter...

Indian Paintbrush (Black Mountain Trail)
In a more sunny spot we saw a great collection of Indian Paintbrush. I so love this plant - and I'm so impressed that Ms. Country Mouse has managed to grow it on her property!

Pitcher Sage (Black Mountain Trail)
As the trail continues, it gets drier and hotter. We did make it fairly far up, and I was delighted to discover some pitcher sage along the path. It had only just started blooming - the late start was most likely the result of the rather high elevation.

We had had a faint hope of seeing Golden Eardrops, a stunning bloomer that I'd seen in the Los Padres National Forest. But alas, it was not to be. Still, we were very excited about this opportunity to hike this trail so late in the season - and to discover all the treasures that one can find there this time of year.