04 September 2008


Oh, hello, is it September already? I have more important things to worry about these days than the garden, much less the internets. Miraculously, I appear only to have killed a monkeyflower this summer (so far). Even the Darlingtonia is alive, though maybe not kicking.

In this photograph I managed to capture Agavaceae, Asphodelaceae, Haemodoraceae, Iridaceae, Plantaginaceae (formerly Schrophulariaceae), Polygonaceae, Proteaceae, Ranunculaceae, Rosaceae, Rutaceae, and Themidaceae. Plus some weedy Poaceae. Probably no one else is schizophrenic enough to cram all that into a such a small area.

But that was not the point. Earlier this summer I thought about writing something about Polygonaceae, in the form of Eriogonum grande var. rubescens, the little balls the color of cheap nail polish pictured in the middle ground, and esp. E. latifolium, which I seem not to have photographed. The latter is the color of dirty laundry from afar, but close up reveals subtle whites, grays and roses wonderfully arrayed. The point of these plants isn't the flowers anyway, but beneficial insects who love it, and especially the felty leaves, which shame the hideous "lambs' ears" (Stachys something or other) so beloved of landscapers. I spent at least a few minutes coveting a yard comprised solely of Agaves and Eriogonums, in my first ever minimalist fantasy.

That wasn't the real point either, it was that on my now extremely infrequent trips out back, Skippy the resident Anna's hummingbird is invariably to be found enjoying the orange-trumpeted plant in the foreground, which used to be called Zauschneria californica, but is now Epilobium canum ssp. canum (cv. Catalina pictured). Tonight Skippy was unamused, and really shamefully inhospitable when a Rufous hummingbird stopped by, and some rather spectacular aerial combat unfolded before my eyes and occasionally a few feet from my head. Of course the camera was inside, but Skippy was still there when I came back later. You win zero dollars if you can find him in this picture (go to Flickr for the original size). And don't even try to find all those plant families, half of them appear only as straw.

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