Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Spring, During Which Yellow Appears on Southern California Hillsides

A few days ago, my neighbor and I were admiring the flower covered hillsides surrounding our community. I commented, "The giant coreopsis are beautiful this year." She looked at me in confusion and said, "Giant coreopsis? Aren't those mustard plants?" "No, I don't think so. Mustard flowers are smaller, and I think the blooms are a lighter yellow," I replied. But then I looked around again and wondered what spring flowers really were blooming.

That little conversation got me thinking about our Coastal Southern California Spring Flowers. There is certainly a preponderence of yellow. For most of the year, giant coreopsis looks like raddegy deformed cactus. It grows in incredibly unlikely spots such as the edges of cliffs and in rocky crevices as well as steep hillsides. Only during the short rainy season does it bloom, sending bright yellow daisy like bouquets reaching toward the blue sky.

A shorter shrub blooms at the same time. I think this native California plant is a marguerite daisy, but I'm not sure. I did spend a bit of time researching in both books and on the web, but I didn't find any photo identification. These bushes are everywhere in the hills and along the country roads and sometimes grow mingled in with the giant coreopsis. On Saturday, The Professor and I stopped at the Chumash Trail head near Mugu Rock on Hwy 1 along the beach so I could photograph these flowers close up. As I was walking through the brush near the trail, a hiker stopped on his way down the path to warn me that he had just seen a very large snake slither into the very section of underbrush I was approaching! After he showed me a photo of the snake he'd taken, we determined that it wasn't a rattlesnake but merely a non poisionous king snake. Nevertheless, I decided that my photos of these daisies by the trail were sufficient.
These giant coreopsis may own the best ocean view real estate in the county!

You can just barely see some little flowers in the bottom left corner of the photo above. Those are wild mustard. In the photo below, you can compare the size of the blooms with the stones, broken abalone shell, and cigarette butt. Even though the mustard flowers are tiny, they bloom profusely at the same time as the 'daisies' and the coreopsis and when all three plants are scattered all over a hillside, it's not easy to tell them apart from a distance.
What I am sure of is that it is Spring in Southern California, the hills are carpeted with yellow flowers, and they are beautiful!

21 comments:

nikkipolani said...

Oh, I'm so enjoying the green hills that are slowly turning golden!

Caroline said...

I don't remember ever seeing as much yellow as there is this year. I love it, although orange poppies are my very favorite.

M.Kate said...

They are all so CANTIK..and most welcome to grow here anytime.

Thom said...

Those are just beautiful. I really like all those shots. Spring is definitely here :)

Dorothy said...

I love yellow flowers in the spring! They are so cheerful and sunshine-y!

ellen b. said...

Gorgeous photos Willow. Love that view of the Pacific with the coreopsis. So glad it wasn't a rattlesnake :0)

twofroghome said...

I've always liked coreopsis. I've heard that that deer don't like to eat them either, which makes them popular here.

Sniffles and Smiles said...

Yellow is such a cheerful color!! And Spring makes my step light! Looks like you are out and about enjoying it as well! Lovely and very interesting post! You are such a keen observer! Love you, Janine XO

Mr Puffy's Knitting Blog: said...

Beautiful photos! I particularly love the view of the ocean with the flowers.

In Topanga there is a lot of wild mustard and I've heard tell from some that it is an invasive non-indigenous nuisance.... but it sure does look pretty!

Thoughts on Life and Millinery. said...

The hillsides spread with wild mustard always meant spring to me growing up. Add some pink wild radish and some bees buzzing and it was just perfectly beautiful to me.

My Bible Study teacher pointed out that mustard is an herb and not a tree...with that bit of information the parable about birds nesting in the tree grown from a mustard seed becomes quite interesting.

Flower said...

What lovely bouquets...arranged and presented so perfectly! Isn't this a great time of year? There is promise in the air!!

HOA Mgr Lady said...

I was just by Pt. Mugu rock this morning and the margerites are gorgoeus. Thanks for reminding me that I need to slow down and look again before they're gone.
Ruth

Pat @ Mille Fiori Favoriti said...

It's quite a pretty sight, Willow!

Native Italians gather and cook and eat the wild mustard greens ..they are quite a delicacy!

Roxie said...

Such wonderful photos!

And I love the sound of "Giant Coryopsis." They sound like some Sci-fi monsters on the attack! "Hugo has been taken down by a giant Coryopsis! Don't look, Doreen!"

Knitting Linguist said...

Yes, they are! Rick and I have long noticed that yellow/orange and purple are the predominant colors on the California hills -- we saw lots of lupine driving up to Mammoth this week, plus a low-lying yellow flower that carpeted the hillsides on the Eastern Sierra. Don't know what they were, but they're beautiful!

Sharon Lynne said...

Thank you for teaching us about God's yellow creations. I enjoyed the pictures (and feel proud to be living where Spring comes early!)

Happy Easter to you...May God be close, and bless your day!

(I also posted about yellow.)

happily retired gal said...

Yup ... we are certainly blessed here in Southern California with a variety of flowering plants ... many of which are a beautiful Yellow ;-)
Hope you had a lovely Easter.
Hugs and blessings,

Tracy said...

That IS giant coreopsis! I didn't know there was such large-flowered varieties... I'm amazed! All the yellow is so fresh to see...lovely! Happy Day, Willow :o) ((HUGS))

Cindy Garber Iverson said...

I love this time of year when the hills come alive. And I LOVE the shot of the coreopsis with the ocean waves in the background! WOW!

Deb said...

I am not a fan of yellow BUT these flowers are all beautiful and would all be welcome in my garden.

Sniffles and Smiles said...

Just stopping by to say "hello!" and to say I hope you had a WONDERFUL Easter!! Love to you~Janine XO