Category Archives: Flowers

By The Mailbox

On a day which featured a truly ugly and horrible thing along with all of the usual crap, it was a surprise and a small joy to find these next to the mailbox when I got home:

If they’ve ever been there before in the eleven months we’ve lived here, I’ve been blind to them.

Which may in fact be the biggest takeaway. It’s possible that they only bloom for a few minutes a day around sunset, or that they only bloom for a few days every year…

…but I’m going to go with the probability that they’ve been there before, but I was busy getting the mail and ignoring the flowers that were six inches from my feet.

I did not stop to smell them – one thing at a time. (Plus, they’re not roses. I don’t know what they are, but they’re not roses.)

Thinking tonight of those who are having much shittier days that I did.

1 Comment

Filed under Castle Willett, Flowers, Photography

No Longer Charred

You might remember that we had a major brush fire here back in November. It left tens of thousands of acres blackened and charred.

Then came the rains that caused mudslides, flooding, and rock slides as the denuded hillsides had nothing to hold the soil.

But life is cyclic. (Life is also “psychotic,” but we’re going for upbeat and cheerful tonight, so work with me here.) The plants that covered those hillsides have evolved over millennia to have their seeds survive those brushfires – some even require it occasionally. And all of that rain followed by our current bouts of warm weather lead to…

Five months ago, these hills were black and smoking, not a single green or living thing in sight. Our house and the west end of the San Fernando Valley is beyond those hills about four miles. The fire had started up there and then headed straight south, coming down over these ridges, jumping the 101 Freeway into Agoura, then south through Mailbu to be stopped only by the Pacific Ocean.

You can see the trees that may or may not ever recover. These must have a chance because the crews have already cut down hundreds of them that were totally gone. But while the trees may take years to come back and recover, the grasses and weeds come back much faster. Everything out here is now covered in yellow mustard flowers and purple sage.

It’s hard to see in the shadow and backlighting, but those darker areas are all purple sage, much like the ones I’ve shown you in our front yard. It’s gorgeous.

Of course, we’re still on that aforementioned cycle – all of this growth will turn brown in July, and by November…

Leave a comment

Filed under Flowers, Los Angeles, Photography

Spring Returns – Day Fifteen

For the third Sunday in a row it was nice and warm and sunny today. Two weekends ago that warmth and wonderful weather inspired me to go out and shoot pictures of the back yard as it woke up to the warmer temps and  bloomed and budded. Last week it was the front yard. Today I was out listening to crows (and wondering if they’re actually ravens), investigating a big soggy spot in the back yard (broken irrigation pipe?), and trying desperately (and completely unsuccessfully) to photograph butterflies.

At the back end of the yard, where it goes down over the hill and you have that great view all the way to Griffith Observatory (which is where we started this sequence of posts two weeks ago), the neighbor’s ice plant has come through the fence and is taking over the steps down the hill.

The good news is that ice plant has the most brilliant, vibrant purple flowers. The bees and hummingbirds approve.

And with that I think I’ll let spring get on with its work on its own. All of the flowering plants shown over the past two weeks continue to fill out, and the other fruit trees that didn’t have spectacular flowers are now exploding with leaves. The lemon tree (which is green year around) has a handful of lemons ready to be picked and used in the kitchen. The succulents over by the BBQ have gone thermonuclear, while Lazarus hangs on still.

Tonight we had our first dinner out on the porch, which was lovely, if a bit breezy. The outdoor table is just a few feet away from where the new bird nest is, so for much of the meal we were being scolded by the house finches. They don’t understand that we’re mostly harmless. The mockingbirds were zooming from side to side across the yard, making sure that we knew that it’s THEIR yard, not ours. I love their songs, even in the middle of the night, but if they’re going to have that attitude they need to start paying some of the rent.

And now, back to our regularly scheduled nonsense and falderal!

 

2 Comments

Filed under Castle Willett, Flowers, Photography

Spring Returns – Day Fourteen

For the second Sunday in a row it was nice and warm and sunny this last weekend. The previous weekend that warmth and wonderful weather inspired me to go out and shoot pictures of the back yard as it woke up to the warmer temps and  bloomed and budded. (Read those earlier posts by clicking something at random in that box o’er on the right that says “Recent Post” – after taking the quiz on this one, of course. You were warned last night that there would be a quiz.) This last Sunday, since getting out of the house and walking around in the sun makes my smartass watch happy, I did the front yard. (For the record, wandering around the front yard on your knees with a camera taking pictures of “weeds” and bees will make the neighbors look at you oddly. This is to be encouraged.)

While a lot of what I’ve been posting as signs of spring’s return (bushes, flowers, trees, birds, bees, lizards, weeds) have been “wild,” these are more domestic. Along the far side of the driveway are a dozen or so small rose bushes.

I’ve rarely seen them bloom at all during the eleven months we’ve been here, but at least a few of them seem to be showing up for work now. Not sure if it just took a year for the roses to decide we weren’t monsters, if they’re more seasonal that I thought and we just missed the previous season when we moved in, or if they’re blooming like hell 365 days a year and getting eaten by the stupid rabbits.

Whatever the cause, for now at least four or five of the dozen-plus plants have decided to justify all the water that’s been put on them for the last year. I appreciate it!

I especially like this one, the orange and yellow roses. I’m sure there are homes around that have vast stretches of pristine blooms, carefully cultivated, perfect all year around. This doesn’t describe our house. But I’ll appreciate the little things we have. Too many people take them for granted. I try not to.

1 Comment

Filed under Castle Willett, Flowers, Photography

Spring Returns – Day Twelve

For the second Sunday in a row it was nice and warm and sunny this last weekend. The previous weekend that warmth and wonderful weather inspired me to go out and shoot pictures of the back yard as it budded and bloomed and woke up to the warmer temps. (You can go see those earlier posts by looking in that box over on the right that says “Recent Post” – after reading this one, of course.) This last Sunday, since getting out of the house and walking around in the sun makes my smartass watch happy, I did the front yard. (For the record, wandering around the front yard on your knees with a camera taking pictures of “weeds” and bees will make the neighbors look at you oddly. This is to be encouraged.)

In addition to the teeny-tiny, itsy-bitsy, little yellow flowers scattered across the front yard, there are also the bane of every golf course on the planet, the common dandelion.

I’m not sure what the fuss is – I’ve always thought that they were quite pretty, and I love blowing on them and spreading the seeds into the wind when they start to die.

These had some sort of tiny bugs hiding in the petals. They weren’t ants, but I’m not sure what they were, aside from camera shy.

2 Comments

Filed under Castle Willett, Flowers, Photography

Spring Returns – Day Eleven

For the second Sunday in a row it was nice and warm and sunny this last weekend. The previous weekend that warmth and wonderful weather inspired me to go out and shoot pictures of the back yard as it budded and bloomed and woke up to the warmer temps. (See that box over on the right that says “Recent Post”?) This last Sunday, since getting out of the house and walking around in the sun makes my watch happy, I did the front yard. (For the record, wandering around the front yard on your knees with a camera taking pictures of “weeds” and bees will make the neighbors look at you oddly. This is to be encouraged.)

While most of the front yard is your standard issue American grass (green, soft, not quite the stuff of a Scotts Turf Builder wet dream) there are currently some tiny yellow flowers popping up in this somewhat bare spot. I don’t know if the co-location of the bare-ish spot and the yellow flowers is coincidental or not, but it does occur to me that it might not be.

They’re small.

Yet they draw their own wildlife.

And there was one single bee, hitting them all, one by one.

At the edge of the bare spot is this rough-looking, rogue thing. I don’t know if those hair-like things are hard and sharp like thorns or soft like hair, nor am I going to find out. The only thing worse than having your neighbors watching you in your yard on your knees with a camera taking pictures of weeds is having your neighbors watching you in your yard on your knees with a camera taking pictures of weeds and screaming and crying trying to get thorns out of your finger, while the neighbors wonder to themselves, “Why did he touch that? Is he a bit … slow?”

Another odd little weed. It will get killed by the gardeners tomorrow, but I have to wonder what it is. I don’t wonder enough to go out there in the middle of the night tonight and dig it up and re-pot it to see what it wants to be when it grows up – but I wonder.

It looks like a tiny, baby, miniature sage bush. With all of the others in the yard, maybe it is.

Leave a comment

Filed under Castle Willett, Flowers, Photography

Spring Returns – Day Ten

For the second Sunday in a row it was nice and warm and sunny. Last week that inspired me to go out and shoot pictures of the back yard budding and blooming and waking up to the warmer temps. (See that box over on the right that says “Recent Post”?) This Sunday, since getting out of the house and walking around in the sun makes my watch happy, I did the front yard. (One must keep one’s watch happy!)

Down by the end of the driveway there’s another type of sage bush. My current best guess from internet image surfing is that it’s a Cleveland sage.

I’m guessing that’s not the Cleveland in Ohio – not a lot of desert plants there the last time I drove through.

As with the Mexican sage by the front door, this one is often covered in bees. It’s a good thing.

Interesting commute. With all of the bees, I wonder where the honey is stored around here.

Does someone actually have a hive in the area? Or is there something hidden in the walls of a neglected shed, just waiting for an accident?

Either way, as long as I don’t have to deal with the stinging and buzzing, I’m glad to have the little guys around.

1 Comment

Filed under Castle Willett, Critters, Flowers, Photography