Thursday, March 11, 2010

Yellow for spring

Acacia dealbata, or silver wattle

Every morning this March it's fun to go outside with the dog and see how spring is coming along.

Yellow is the color for spring. Among the first signs of spring here in our Santa Monica Mountains are the bright yellow flowers of oxalis pes-caprae, the buttercup oxalis. This ubiquitous weed is a non-native invasive plant, a thug in the garden. Yet its bright yellow flowers are a cheerful sign of spring - as long as they're in someone else's yard!

Oxalis in my neighbor's front yard

The acacia trees - another non-native weed, only much bigger - are in bloom. There are so many in Topanga that when you look out from the viewpoint at the end of the street towards Fernwood, you can see bright splashes of them ranging up the hills among the cottages.

Brassica rapa, the common field mustard

One hillside by my house is covered with tall, wiry stems of mustard - another weed, or course, but pretty in its own right.

Out on the trails and in the parks, the showiest wild flowers of spring are still to come. In Red Rock Canyon Park, the common Fiddleneck, or Amsinckia menziesii var. intermedia, curls out its flowerstalk as each tiny blossom opens. These grow in grassy uplands.

Elswhere, near the stream and shaded by huge rocks, the stream monkeyflower, mimulus guttatus, blooms. It's much smaller and more delicate than its shrubby cousin, the sticky monkeyflower, that will bloom in a few more weeks.

Back home in the garden, the cycle of bloom for narcissus continues. The jonquils of January are gone, the poet's narcissus of February are too, but here's a tiny cyclamineus narcissus, modestly bowing its delicate snout.

Later the front walk will be graced by pale yellow Aquilegia chrysantha, the golden columbine native to the southwest. Last year they contrasted beautifully with the douglas iris beneath the old oaks. They're drought-tolerant, too, and self-seed.

And here are common primroses, blooming in terra cotta pots along the garden wall. I planted a dwarf nandina, whose new foliage colors tawny scarlet, as the focus of the pot, and the golden primroses around its feet. Though you can find primroses in an assortment of colors in most hardware stores, I find the yellow and white ones have the strongest scent.

It's spring! Even Jack likes the flowers!


Sue (Someone's Mom) said...

So husband told me at lunch that he saw a few shoots of green in our yard! My day will come:)

Anonymous said...

Beautiful photos, thanks for sharing.


Is yellow your favorite?
It suits you.

Tristan Robin Blakeman said...

beautiful - especially that close up!

ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© said...

Your dog looks so happy, g!

Cloudia said...

Oh Yeah!

And what a sweet pup.

Aloha from Hawaii my Friend!

Comfort Spiral

Life with Kaishon said...

So pretty : ) I love spring. Welcome!