Sunday, April 28, 2013

geeking out at the wildflower show

This weekend's "9th Annual Cambria Wildflower Show" features hundreds of local celebrities— aka clippings of fresh wildflowers collected from the Monterey County line to the Morro Bay Estuary, and the Coastal bluffs to the ridge of the Santa Lucia Mountains. I tried to capture some of my favorites here, but, as in all nature, these beauties are best seen in real life.

Plant family name in all caps followed by genus and species, citation (shorthand for name of person who named plant), and common name of plant.

FABACEAE, Pickeringia montana Nut. var. montana — Chaparral Pea

FABACEAE, Lupinus succulentus Koch — Succulent Annual Lupine

ASTERACEAE, Carduus pycnocephalus — Italian Thistle

BORAGINACEAE, Borago officinalis L. — Common Borage

ASTERACEAE, Uropappus lindleyi (D.C.) Nutt — Silver Puffs

ASTERACEAE, Silybum marianum (L.) Gaertner — Milk Thistle

ASTERACEAE, Layia platyglossa (Fisch. & May.) — Tidy-Tips

ASTERACEAE, Helenium puberulum D.C. — Sneezeweed

ASTERACEAE, Gazania longiscapa DC. — Treasure Flower

SCROPHULARIACEAE, Castilleja affinis H. & A. ssp. affinis — Indian Paint Brush

ROSACEAE, Rosa gymnocarpa Nutt. — Wood Rose

ROSACEAE, Fragaria vesca L. — Wood Strawberry

RANUNCULACEAE, Ranunculus californicus Benth — California Buttercups

RANUNCULACEAE, Aquilegia formosa Fisch. — Crimson Columbine

PORTULACACEAE, Calandrinia ciliata (Ruiz, Lopez & Pavon) DC. — Red Maids

POLYGONACEAE, Rumex acetosella L. — Sheep Sorrel

PLUMBAGINACEAE, Limonium sinuatum (L.) Miller — Statice/Thrift

PAPAVERACEAE, Eschscholzia californica — Dune Poppy

ONAGRACEAE, Epilobium ciliatum ssp. watsonii (Barb.) Hoch & Raven — San Francisco Willow Herb

MYRTACEAE, Eucalyptus globulus Labill — Blue Gum

MALVACEAE, Lavatera cretica L. — Cretan Mallow
Introduced: Europe ...

GERANIACEAE, Pelargonium grossularioides (L.) Ait. — Smelly Geranium

GENTIANACEAE, Centaunum davyi (Jeps.) Abrams — Davy's Centaury

GARRYACEAE, Garrya flavescens Wats — Ashy Silk-Tassel

IRIDACEAE, IRis douglasiana Herb. — Douglas Iris

TROPAEOLACEAE, Tropaeolum majus L. — Nasturtium

TAMARICACEAE, Tamarix parviflora DC. — Small Flowered Tamasisk

STERCULIACEAE, Fremontondendron californicum (Torrey) Cov. ssp. obispoense (Eastw.) Munz — Flannel Bush

ASTERACEAE, Cirsium occidentale var. compacta Hoover — Compact Cobweb Thistle

ASTERACEAE, Centaurea cyanus L — Bachelor's Button/Cornflower

DRYOPTERIDACEAE, Polystichum minitum (Kaulf.) Presl — Giant Sword Fern

EQUISETACEAE, Equisetum telmateia Ehrh. ssp braunii (Milde) R. L. Hauke — Giant Horsetail

Sunday, April 14, 2013

smartly happy

A walk in the woods on a fresh spring morning, waking my daughter with a tight squeeze, a really cool song on the i-pod, and the high school drama production packed full of emotion-triggering performances — just a few random samplings of joys I've experienced of late. How is it that I often race through life failing to notice the magnificence of moments like these?

Newtown. Boston. So horrible — and vivid reminders that my time on earth is all too fragile and temporary. Who cares if I don't make deadline at the office? I'm currently blessed with a beautiful, magnificent (am I overusing that word?) daughter with whom I have the pleasure of watching American Idol two nights a week! How cool is that? Says God.

Some people seem quite adept at ruining our God-given paradise, but they are troubled and largely outnumbered by those who honestly seek good over evil. Truth is, life is most awesome— including the hard times, because they most efficiently put life lessons into our thick skulls! I have emerged my little trip to hell and back with the invaluable blessings of 1) being able to say "I've been there" to someone in a similar circumstance, and 2) recognizing the simple joys in life when they come my way. Nature walks are most important in affirming No. 2.

Wisdom and beauty are wonderful things.