Saturday, January 16, 2010

Pink Saturday - A shy blossom

Pink Saturday - Beverly at the blog "How Sweet the Sound" hosts Pink Saturday. Let the color pink inspire you!

This is Paeonia californica, the native peony of southern California and the Santa Monica Mountains.

If you're familiar with garden peonies, their large and showy blooms like giant crinolines, this flower is shy and understated in comparison. It naturally nods downward, so even to take the photo above, I had to hold its face up to the camera.

But looking at the shape of its burgeoning marble-shaped bud, the thick texture of its leaves, the golden boss of stamens that cluster around the center, you can see right away that it is related to its more showy relatives.

This plant grows in Red Rock Canyon Park, where we enjoy hiking. I've found other plants along trails that wind up through the canyons of iron oxide rich rocks of the Sespe Formation, rocks that some locals call "Malibu mauve" for its dusty rose color. Perhaps the pinky-purple rocks create the perfect habitat for this shy plant.

Red Rock Canyon Park

Of course, pinkness depends on your definition. This flower is sort of a ruddy brown russet color. And there's more pinkness to this plant than just the flower - it's leaves and stems are tinged with a kind of carmine flush.

The new shoots as they burst from the soil are brilliant magenta.

See how pretty, yet subtle this shy blossom is? There's an elegance here you find in native plants, that's absent in overblown and over hybridized flowers.

I've been meaning to collect seeds of this native peony to try to grow it on my west-facing hill. This year, I promise I'll do it.


Gilly said...

That is a beautiful flower, and stunning photographs! And I love those pink rocks - are they really that colour? Must look unbelievable if the setting sun shines on them!

Jacalyn @ said...

Gorgeous pics! Thanks for sharing!

Happy Pink Saturday,

dana said...

If you are not a professional writer, you should be! Your description of the native peony of S. CA was remarkable! I LOVE your reference of of the large blooms looking like "giant crinolines"! That was just one of the many terms I enjoyed!

Yes, I hope you do gather some of the seeds to start those shy bloomers in your yard!

Have a great Pink Sat. L, Dana

Mumsy said...

This is a beautiful color of peony that I would love to grow in my garden too.

Gorgeous photos! Thanks G.

Sue (Someone's Mom) said...

I really miss flowers in the winter. We have the showy ones in our yard...I love this sweet little flower!


Cathy said...

Very interesting flower. I've never seen anything like it.

It almost looks like a Lady's Slipper a little bit.

Thank you for sharing.


Blondie's Journal said...

What a beautiful peony!! I thought it was the top of a hollyhock!! :-)


Mary said...

It's so nice to see flowers at this time of year. Thanks. I hope you have a wonderful Pink Saturday.

♥Mimi♥ said...

♫Happy Pink Saturday♫

Gloomy and gray over in my neck of the woods today so all of the pinks shared this Saturday are so special and cheerful. They remind me that there are more colors than just white, gray and black.Your pinks are wonderful! My goodness - so special☺

I hope your weekend is filled with sunshine surrounded by the laugher of those you love.

Please pray for the people of Haiti. May God bless each and every soul.

Mermaids of the Lake said...

I love peonies. Your photos are beautiful. Makes me kinda long for Spring and that won't happen around her for a while! Happy Pink Saturday.

Mermaid Debbie

Anonymous said...

I would love to go hiking in Red Rock Canyon Park.

Anonymous said...

It looks so small unlike the usual peonies I see on other blogs. I like how you described it, a shy one :-) But it is still as pretty.

Happy Pink saturday!


cactus petunia said...

I'm so jealous! Spring is a looong way off up here.

Betty (picture circa 1951) said...

Beautiful photographs. I enjoyed my visit. Happy Pink!