...an unpaid sabbatical. Just call it a break. I've fallen well short of my original goals for this blog and am too busy to continue at this time. Thanks for the comments and feedback people have given me by email and other means. I will continue to find solace in nature walks, with or without camera and notebook, but I will take at least a two-month break from posting here.
I have been teaching since 1965 and have recently joined the English Department as an Associate Faculty member at Feather River College. Recently taught Nature Literature in America and am currently teaching Interpersonal Communication and Basic Reading and Writing.
I had never heard of this plant until a year ago when Jay Wright and I each spotted it in some front yards in our neighborhood. It took a little doing to identify it, being a cultivar that doesn't appear in our wildflower field guides. We could have asked the owners, I suppose, since they probably bought it in a nursery. At any rate, finally ID'd it as Nigella damascena. It is known by many common names such as...
Love in a Mist, Devil in the Bush, Ragged Lady, and just plain Nigella. There are many cultivated varieties which have their own popular names. Just like with humans, there's this ambivalence - love, devil, hmmm. Which is it?
The most amazing discovery for me was to find it's in the buttercup family, Ranunculaceae.
The variety of flower shapes and colors in that family is remarkable. The local example that's now blooming in the woods around Quincy is the Red Larkspur, Delphinium nudicaule. Soon to follow will be the Crimson Columbine, then the Monkshood, among others.