Wildflowers in March

When Kaj and I began our hike towards the Diamond Mine Vineyard, the landscape looked just like it had looked all winter. The green grass was a lush backdrop for the leafless deciduous oaks with their garlands of gray lichen, and the evergreen oaks were still holding on to last year’s weary attire of prickly dark green leaves.

Suddenly, spring greeted us in the shape of a buckeye bush where the swelling buds had unfolded layers of tender green leaves. Now, like magic, we saw hints of spring that had been hiding in plain view, mixed in with the general picture of winter.

The buck brush and the mountain mahogany had fresh new flowers:

… while the manzanita blooms and the California holly berries were at the end of their season.

The redbud had fresh pink flowers but still held on to seed pods from last year; and the bay leaf had decorated the aromatic evergreen leaves with bundles of fluffy yellow flowers.
Poison oak sprouted fresh leaves in abundance. Beware that the sneaky plant can grow as a tall shrub as well as a vine, often hiding among similar greenery. Whether they are green or red, follow the rule “Leaves of three, let them be”
We also discovered the first wave of wildflowers in full bloom – hounds tongue, butter-and-eggs, shooting star, and blue dicks, among others.
As it often happens on a hike like this, I discovered a plant I hadn’t noticed before. In the bright March sunshine, I spotted a fresh green vine with clusters of small white flowers – California man-root

It’s always a blessing to hike at the ranch, and even more so when you notice that “spring has sprung” – or at least is just about to do so.



Else Ahlmann

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