Carmel by the Sea

The Carmel coastline is rocky with a few sandy beaches.

On one side of a narrow street that follows the curves of the coast are homes.  The lot sizes are small because the land is so costly.  Behind the houses lining the street are other houses built up higher behind them to get an ocean view.

The tiny front yards are designed to give the most bang for their space.

Parking is along the street, so it’s necessary to walk a long way to get to certain destinations.

Closer to the town, a Stanford University marine trial station is on the beach side on a large lot.  Near there was this humongous Bottle Brush bush.

The “brushes” don’t look exactly the same as the ones sold in Texas.  Stunning, aren’t they?

Another bush along this same stretch of land is this stunner.  It was planted several places in town, so it may or may not be a native.

A long swatch of this is probably a native.  This is further from the edge of the shopping areas and seemed to be growing wild.

A chain link fence serves as a barrier to the beach.

On the Stanford University property, we could see sea lions resting on a small sandy beach.

Ice Plant is evidently a good soil erosion prevention plant.  Very few flowers were open, so it must not be their blooming season, or we just missed it.

Then came a walking path along the sea with a low rock fence.

This most unusual looking house sits on a less developed area of the inland side of the road.  What is that patchwork roof made of?  Crazy.

Lovers point is our destination.

Lots of these striking plants all over this area of California.

The water was choppy but paddle boarders, canoers, and surfers enjoyed the 4th of July in the water.  Just hoped they were experienced and knew how to miss the rocks.

The actual point of Lover’s Point has a large pile of rocks.

There are restrooms, a children’s play area, and a restaurant.  Love these hybrid daises.

The underside of the petals are a light purple.

Some of the chubbiest squirrels I’ve ever seen.  Don’t know what the tourists are feeding them.  Lots of different languages could be hear.

The roots of small native plants were tucked under the rocks.  Extremely hardy to endure the environment and the foot traffic.

Since I’ve seen lots of rock piles in Texas, not sure what the draw was.  But here we were.

Couldn’t get acclimated to the cold weather.  But enjoyed the sights.

“Either you decide to stay in the shallow end of the pool or you go out in the ocean.”  Christopher Reeve

Not Another Freeze, Please

Since our last cold spell, several plants have bloomed or re-bloomed from earlier freezes.  The temperatures have been in the mid to high 80’s recently.  Meteorologists have predicted mid 30’s tonight on May 1.  That would be the lowest temperature ever recorded in this area in May.  Since trees are fully leafed out, surely they would lose their leaves again.

The early morning temperatures started in the 50’s today and are steadily going down.  I really doubt that it will drop to freezing.  But stranger things have happened.

bottlebrush2The Bottle Brush (Callistemon) is looking good.

bottlebrushThe leaves on this bush are hard and very sharp.  If your bare arms hit against them, you get a poke or prick. These hard leathery leaves are probably the reason they do so well here.  They retain their water, like the leaves of native bushes.

spiderwort3Spider Worts (Tradescantia x andersonia) are flourishing.  These are reliable perennials.  Mine had a difficult start because jackrabbits kept eating the tender shots down to the ground.  I finally caged the plants so they couldn’t reach them.

oxeyeOx Eye Daisies (Leucanthemum vulgare) are opening up, but don’t have much height, yet.  This is considered a weed, and I’ve read that it’s illegal to sell the seeds in the state of Washington.  But around here, it’s a pass-along plant, which is how I got mine.

foxglove2The native False Foxglove (Penstemon cobaea) have really filled out and spread in one year.

foxglove3When I dug up those little scrawny plants out of the hard caliche beside the road, I never dreamed that they would be such a pretty sight in my yard.

osoeasyroseThe Oso Easy Paprika rose bushes are covered with blooms.  They have proved to be a really good investment.  But I never see them for sale anymore.

yellowroseKnockout Roses are blooming with their small flowers.  But a bush full of the flowers is stunning.

Now, what will changing weather do to all the plants?  It’s definitely out of our hands.

“Reading about nature is fine, but if a person walks in the woods and listens carefully, he can learn more than what is in books, for they speak with the voice of God.”  George Washington Carver

Pops of Color

The warm weather continues with some record-breaking highs.  Still no rain.  Both of these circumstances are cause for concern around here.  And yet, some flowers in the yard are still hanging on.

This Bottle Brush Bush (Callistemon) was planted in the spring.  When it blooms, it is covered with bright red blooms.   But there are long periods in between these flowering times.  I’m not sure if that is characteristic or due to weather conditions here.

Today the blooms are not as full and colorful as they were earlier in the year.

The flowers really do look just like a brush used to clean narrow necked bottles.  It needs full sun, which is perfect for my yard.

Early in autumn, the first noticeable change in the Chinese Pitasche  (Pistacia chinensis) tree is the appearance of orangish red berries.

Then the leaves turn this golden color.

Finally,  the leaves sport a bright orange hue before they turn brown and drop off.

The golden leaves of this small elm have defied the wind and remained on the branches.

A Chinapin Oak (Quercus muehlenbergii) in our yard is covered with orange and yellow leaves.  The color is seen on the branch in the left of the picture.  In the distance the burnt orange tree is a sumac.The blooms on this False Foxglove (Agalinis) surprised me the other day.  In the spring I transplanted it from a bar ditch on our county road.  Late spring is the normal blooming time for this wildflower.  I guess this warm weather and water from the sprinkler system has confused it.  But I’m so glad it survived the move.

Most of the leaves and blooms on this Morning Glory Tree (I. arborescens) bit the dust after the first freeze.  Just one branch bravely blooms on.

A Spanish Oak looks like it’s on fire in the late afternoon sun.

This is the third autumn for this Possum Haw, and the first time there have been berries.  I was beginning to worry that it was a male plant and wouldn’t produce berries.  They are smaller than I expected but a nice sight.

I wish I knew what kind of tree this is.  This one grows beside a county road near a dry creek bed.  I love the yellow berry clusters.

Update – a couple of readers tell me that this is a Chinaberry Tree.

The berries actually look like dry pods. It’s a smallish tree.  When you look up, it has great composition with a clear blue sky behind it and bunches of pale yellow berries at the ends of the branches.

“The whole world, as we experience it visually, comes to us through the mystic realm of color.”  Hans Hoffman