Sunday, August 7, 2011

Treks on the Santa Rosa Plateau: Canchalaguas & Scarlet Monkeyflowers!

The summer doldrums are definitely slowing down the pace of my blog postings. It hasn't been horrendously hot here in SoCal, but just enough to keep me from traipsing through the grounds and indiscriminately snapping shots of all the plants & critters within my visual range and with my usual gusto. Marine layer is wafting in tonight so I feel quite Zen, considering my earlier anxiety when a plume of smoke materialized around 5:30pm across the hill from our back patio. Momentarily scary, but our excellent fire crews snuffed it out within the hour. It's happened before, and it will undoubtedly happen again and again. Sigh...

8/6/11 FIRE! Luckily contained within an hour. Wonder what caused it...last one was due to someone mowing dry brush in hot & windy conditions. Common sense out the window...

Onto other adventures. Two weekends ago, we trekked out to the Plateau on a relatively cool morning (low 80s), and happened on some blooming plants along Vista Grande Trail and Waterline Road. The pantheon of floral splendor really dispels the myth that natives are generally dreary and out of commission during our hot & dry summer months here in SoCal.

7/24/11 Canchalagua (Zeltnera venusta). Vista Grande Trail, Santa Rosa Plateau Ecological Reserve. Next to Mariposa Lilies, one of my favorite wildflowers!

     7/24/11 Canchalagua (Zeltnera venusta). Vista Grande Trail. 

7/24/11 Rigid Hedge Nettle (Stachys ajugoides var. rigida). Vista Grande Trail.

7/24/11 Scarlet Monkeyflower (Mimulus cardinalis). Creekside, Vista Grande Trail. Uncommon here - first time I've seen these on the Reserve. 

7/24/11 Creek Monkeyflower (Mimulus guttatus). Cross drainage on Waterline Road. 

7/24/11 Southern Honeysuckle (Lonicera subspicata var. denudata). 

7/24/11 Narrow-leaf Milkweed (Asclepias fascicularis). Vista Grande Trail. 

7/24/11 Fragrant Everlasting (Pseudognaphalium beneolens). This plant definitely has an interesting scent (a love it or hate it kind of aroma). Vista Grande Trail.

7/24/11 Hooker's Evening Primrose (Oenothera elata ssp. hirsutissima). Vista Grande Trail.

7/24/11 Southern Skullcap (Scutellaria bolanderi ssp. austromontana). Cross drainage at Waterline Road.

7/24/11 Showy seedpods of Pomona Locoweed (Astragalus pomonensis). Vista Grande Trail. 

7/24/11 Hollyleaf Redberry (Rhamnus ilicifolia). Vista Grande Trail.

7/24/11 Wild Heliotrope (Heliotropium curassavicum). Cross drainage at Waterline Road. 

7/24/11 Squaw Bush (Rhus trilobata). No blooms or berries, but has nice foliage. Vista Grande Trail. 

7/24/11 Vista Grande Trail.

7/24/11 California Fuchsia (Epilobium canum ssp. canum). Junction of Vista Grande Trail & Waterline Rd.

7/24/11 Ash-Throated Flycatcher (Myiarchus cinerascens). Waterline Road.

7/24/11 Mylitta Crescent (Phyciodes mylitta) on Yellow Star Thistle (an invasive weed, btw). Cross-drainage at Waterline Road. 

7/24/11 Acmon Blue (Plebejus acmon). Vista Grande Trail.

Visitor Center at the Reserve.

California native plant-themed garden around the Visitor Center. Lots of Western Columbine (Aquilegia formosa) in bloom.

White sage (Salvia apiana). 

Fuchsia-Flowered Gooseberry (Ribes speciosum).

Water feature in the new area behind the visitor center.

7/24/11 Western Sycamore next to the new deck behind the visitor center.

Burn area behind the visitor center (from the 9/1/10 'Clinton' fire). Looks like Coyote Bush (Baccharis pilularis) is coming back in force. 

More of the burn area.

And my favorite new display behind the visitor center. 


  1. Love the sign. I'd love one of my own for the front garden even though I don't think there have been sightings in my immediate vicinity. Also love how the visitor's center shows how the plants might be used in the garden. Last time I was out in the local canyons I was surprised how much was still in bloom--nothing like early springtime, but still impressive. Looks like that was your experience too. Stay cool--and unburned!

  2. Beautiful photos, Arleen, of the plants and flowers there at the visitor center.
    We went up to the high country up on the mountain and I have to post on what we saw there. It's still spring up there.

  3. I had the same thought, James - I sure would love a cougar sign like that in my front garden, too! I must say it's been a weird year, weatherwise. Although we had some triple digits last month, I can't really say if and when summer was ever in full throttle. Maybe that's why there's still so much in bloom. We're currently trending on the cool side as it was foggy and 57F this morning, and tonight it's down to 61F. And I'm totally cool with that!

    Sue, Gil, our pooch Hana, and I are heading up to the Eastern Sierras this weekend, and that beautiful photo of Whiskey Fall you posted on FB just confirmed why we love all of the Sierras so much!

  4. Full of gorgeosity.

    Our wildflowers are pretty much spent up here, although there is one, a fire follower, that's in bloom all over Angeles. Very pretty, but quite toxic.

    (The Chinese Garden is not one of my favorites, and that's probably because I don't know enough about it. And it's still growing into itself. The hardscape is quite impressive.)

  5. Beautiful and exoctic (to me) wildflowers. Very enjoyable. As to mountain lions... no thanks. I prefer mine not to be up close and personal. :)

  6. troutbirder, I concur with regard to mountain lions...