how green was my valley

King Gillette Ranch houses the visitor center and joint headquarters for California State Parks and the National Park Service in the Santa Monica Mountains. It’s named for millionaire businessman King C. Gillette (inventor of the disposable razor blade) who owned the property from 1926 to 1939 and built some of the structures on the 360 acre property. There are easy hiking trails and lots of places to picnic (and sketch).

The hills are green from last month’s rain, though they won’t stay that way for long. A few wildflowers are flourishing—we saw California Buttercups (Ranunculus californicus), Golden Currants (Ribes aureum), and Wild Peonies (Paeonia californica). There is no rain in the forecast, so I think it’s going to be a short spring.

When we settled down to sketch, S told me that the movie How Green Was My Valley (1941) was filmed in the valley ahead, which is, ironically, rarely green; but the movie was filmed in black and white so I guess that didn’t matter. The old water tank we could see on a distant knoll was erected to provide the Welsh rain. Ah, movie magic.

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