I planned to hike Hondo Canyon in Topanga State Park, but the creek was swollen with last night’s rain and I didn’t fancy getting wet. So I explored in the other direction on the Backbone Trail, and was rewarded with my first currant flowers of the season.
The Aloe aborescens is going off like fireworks!
Another birthday card. Quote is from Virginia Woolf’s To The Lighthouse. I have an old paperback that fell apart, so I harvest it for found poetry.
Dudleya is a relatively obscure genus of succulents. Species come in multiple divergent sizes and forms, though most readily hybridise. Ten species are on the California state list of threatened or endangered plants.
Poached plants are often shipped to East Asia, especially South Korea. In Sept 2021, California state law AB 223 was signed, making it illegal to harvest any Dudleya species in CA without a permit or landowner permission, and establishing penalties for individuals convicted of doing so. This was the first CA law specifically drafted to protect plants from poaching.
The anti-bird-strike solution is in place, and working well. We rebuilt the rickety shelf outside the kitchen window so it could support more, and larger, plants. This morning a sparrow landed on the wire fuchsia frame and hopped about for a bit, rather than crashing into the glass. I think we’re all happy!
Coming up: a big batch of pesto.
Like yesterday’s lavender, basil is in the Lamiaceae family—along with mint, rosemary, sage, savory, marjoram, oregano, hyssop, and thyme, and other medicinal herbs such as catnip, salvia, bee balm, wild dagga, and oriental motherwort.
Lamiaceae stems are frequently square in cross section, but this is not found in all members of the family, and is sometimes found in other plant families. It’s a good indicator, but not dispositive. It’s the flower shape that really indicates belonging. Hmm, that’s a good topic for a future nature journal page.
The lavender’s fading, but the bees are still enjoying it.
The English word lavender came into use in the 13th century, and is thought to derive from Old French lavandre, ultimately from Latin lavare from lavo (to wash), most likely because crushed lavender flowers would be added to water for bathing, and washing hair and garments. It belongs to the Lamiaceae (mint) family.
Twenty 7-12 year olds (and their parents) now know the difference between a valley oak and a coast live oak, though hopefully that’s not the only thing they gained from our time together 🌿💚
Most of the cacti in the bathroom bay window survived a month without water just fine. But this one’s looking a little worse for wear.
I think this Golden Orb Weaver is Trichonephila plumipes, sometimes called a Tiger Spider. Its web glows yellow, and the legs are a light orange colour, black at the joints. Big spiders are so impressive! This type is not confined to the tropics, so I hope to see more when travel to the sub-tropics.
There are some 750 different types of pandanus; I have no idea which one I was sketching! I love their aerial prop roots.