Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Keeping Ahead of the Weed Eaters and Herbicides

Did you know there are trout in the "ditch" than runs in front of Safeway?  The weed eaters attacked the side of the creek these past few days, so that means less shade and warming water.  The trout may retreat to Spanish Creek, or hang on a while longer.  One of my favorite weed photography sites is now off my schedule.  But, there's hope.  There are just too many roadsides and the weeds are smarter than humans.  They'll be back.  The California Poppy, Eschscholzia californica, is abundantly blooming  these days, and, in case they get mowed, their portraits are on some of the road signs.  The Ox-eye Daisy, also known as the Shasta Daisy ( a case of local pride - it's actually a native of Europe), Chrysanthemum leucanthemum, is blooming on the roadsides and in the open fields, and is attracting a variety of butterflies and beetles.  The Star Tulip, Calochortus nudus, is one of many species of Mariposa Lilies found in the Sierra.  I photographed these in Boyle Ravine.  The Yellow Salsify, Tragopogon dubius, is starting to bloom here and there and it attracts aphids (usually only on the stems) and the species of ants that "herd" them like little cows so they can feed of the "juices" they emit without disturbing the beauty of the flowers.  Finally, two of the many colors of Bachelors Buttons, Centaurea cyanus, another European native that is well-naturalized here, have been growing on the roadsides, succumbing to the weed eaters and herbicides, and bouncing back, just like their close cousins, the Star Thistle.  I photographed these along the highway in East Quincy, just in a nick of time.  Besides growing wild, they are widely cultivated and make for great multicolored displays that are long-lasting.  My next post will be about a recent excursion to Snake Lake and my experience with the Annular Eclipse Sunday night.  Somehow, the two events are connected in my devious mind.


  1. Wanted to let you know that I found some gorgeous snow plants the other day at the Meadow Camp in Meadow Valley. There don't seem to be many this year and in fact, this is the only spot I've seen them. If you turn left into the dirt road right across from the park and tennis court in Meadow Valley you'll get to Meadow Camp where the picnic tables are. The snow plants are by the creek at the left-most camp site, and are beautiful right now. I got some good photos, but have tried to paint this plant for years without success because when the sun hits it, it looks like stained glass, and pigments just can't capture that color.

  2. Please excuse my enthusiasm, but I can't help it. It's such beautiful country when things are in bloom.
    Just wanted to mention that Europe used to be a wonderland of wildflowers, until weed killers, weed eaters and artificial fertilizers came along. Most of the flowers are now gone because of them. It's still beautiful and green, but not as filled with color as I remember it. Seems the same is happening here.

    I even remember when I first came to Quincy that the courthouse lawn in the fall was simply raked with leaves piled up, and the kids and dogs would be jumping around in them. Now I think they use those horrible leaf blowers and the kids and dogs are out of luck. We are becoming much too "civilized".