Monday, March 27, 2023

Looking for Wildflowers


California Buttercup - Ranunculus californicus

After all the rain we have had so far (we are still not done), California is going to have an abundance of wildflowers, just a little bit later than usual because it also has been colder than the years before. Today I had a low energy morning due to not having slept well last night, and finally I decided to drive out to Crane Creek and see whether there are already any wildflowers. This beautiful park is only a 25 minute drive from my house and one of my favorite places to go when I need a mood booster.

There weren't that many wildflowers yet, but what I love about this park is the many big native trees you can find here. There was water in the creeks and the sound of low bubbling water was my companion the entire time.

Then I discovered the first California poppies, Eschscholzia californica - my all time favorites. We have many native flowers and plants, but nothing comes close to the happiness of these orange flowers. No wonder it's our state flower.

More trees, mainly native oaks, some of them dying or decaying. No matter what shape they're in, they are true stunners.

And more water - the last time I was here, we didn't have that much water in the creeks. After all these dry years it was wonderful to see all this moisture.

The California Buckeye, Aesculus californica, has already completely leafed out and on some of the trees I could see the beginning of the bloom "candles" - just a few short weeks and they will be in their full glory.

Another beautiful native oak. Aren't these trees amazing?

The "fairy hair" that you can see in many of these old trees is often mistaken for Spanish Moss (Tillandsia usneoides). Spanish Moss does NOT grow in California; it requires a humid climate and can only be found in the Carribean and the Southern US. What we see here is Lace Lichen (Ramalina menziesii). It is so common that it has been designated the California State Lichen.

Close to this beautiful oak I found California Saxifrage (Saxifrage californica), a shy little flower that seems to prefer shadier locations.

Another beautiful view - I take this trail every time I'm here because I love this so much.

The last tree before the parking lot (and the first, if you're just starting out).

For my drink that I need in order to qualify for Bleubeard and Elizbeth's T Tuesday I have another one of the German beers from our Advent calendar. "Erlkönig" is a beer from Bavaria; however, "Erlkönig" is also a poem by the great German poet and playwright Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, a poem I have known since I was a child when I still wasn't aware how incredibly sad it is. Sad and very beautiful.

Here is a pretty good translation of the poem (Franz Schubert wrote the music to it):

The Erlking

Who rides so late through the night and wind?
It is the father with his child.
He has the boy in his arms;
he holds him safely, he keeps him warm.
‘My son, why do you hide your face in fear?’
‘Father, can you not see the Erlking?
The Erlking with his crown and tail?’
‘My son, it is a streak of mist.’
‘Sweet child, come with me.
I’ll play wonderful games with you.
Many a pretty flower grows on the shore;
my mother has many a golden robe.’
‘Father, father, do you not hear
what the Erlking softly promises me?’
‘Calm, be calm, my child:
the wind is rustling in the withered leaves.’
‘Won’t you come with me, my fine lad?
My daughters shall wait upon you;
my daughters lead the nightly dance,
and will rock you, and dance, and sing you to sleep.’
‘Father, father, can you not see
Erlking’s daughters there in the darkness?’
‘My son, my son, I can see clearly:
it is the old grey willows gleaming.’
‘I love you, your fair form allures me,
and if you don’t come willingly, I’ll use force.’
‘Father, father, now he’s seizing me!
The Erlking has hurt me!’
The father shudders, he rides swiftly,
he holds the moaning child in his arms;
with one last effort he reaches home;
the child lay dead in his arms.
Translation by Richard Wigmore
First published by Gollancz and reprinted in the Hyperion Schubert Song Edition



Elephant's Child said...

It looks and sounds like a totally delightful (and restorative) outing.

DVArtist said...

Wow these are spectacular photos. You did find some wild flowers. Have a very nice evening.

kathyinozarks said...

What a beautiful area near you. I love those trees-lots of character and shapes. We should start seeing some spring flowers on the red buds soon-we have had rain and finally warming up a bit too.
Happy T Kathy

My name is Erika. said...

That is a beautiful place to walk Carola. You were very lucky to see a California poppy. It is a really beautiful flower.And those oaks really are interesting. Our oaks grow tall, and I have many around my yard. But these are definitely more interesting to look at, especially without all their leaves. Thanks for sharing these photos and taking us with you on your walk. Have a lovely T day. hugs-Erika

Mae Travels said...

I love the Schubert setting of the Goethe poem, especially as performed by Jesse Norman. After reading your post, I just listened to the Youtube version and it’s amazing. Your photos are beatuiful!

best… mae at

Sharon Madson said...

That is a sad poem. These are beautiful trail photos. I would love to walk it with you. Happy t day.

Bleubeard and Elizabeth said...

Your buttercups are beautiful and so are the California poppies. But the gnarled oak trees are what really caught my eye. I've never seen any tree like them before. What a stunning walk you took with us. Just fun and enjoyable photos, too.

Such a sad poem. I was shocked by the ending. Glad you shared it. Not sure it says much for the beer, though. Thanks forsharing your walk, that stream, the wildflowers, the twisted trees, the sad poem, and your beer with us for T this Tuesday, dear Carola.

Valerie-Jael said...

I loved that poem, my auntie used to read it to me, and it always gave me the shivers! Your tree photos are wonderful, great to see these gnarled, old trees in the lovely landscape. And the orange poppies are breathtaking! Hope you enjoyed your beer - prost! Hugs, Valerie

nwilliams6 said...

Oh my gosh, that poem, is so sad. So interesting too. INteresting looking beer too.

Beautiful pictures - seriously, you live in a very beautiful place. I get to go to Oxnard CA in April for work - I am really looking forward to it. I hope to see some of the beauty of your state.

Lovely post, Carola. Your photography is always a delight. Happy T-day and hugz

David M. Gascoigne, said...

Thanks for the translation of the deeply moving Goethe poem, Carola. I am very familiar with Schubert's music, but had not previously seen the full text of the poem. What an incredibly beautiful spot to visit; it lifts my spirits just looking at the pictures, so I can only imagine the impact of an actual visit, with the wind in your face, the odours of spring, the sound of birds. Do you know Schubert's "Trout Quintet?". Can you imagine what he could have done with a place like this as his inspiration? Hugs - David

Iris Flavia said...

Mohn... meine Lieblingsblume :-)
Interessante Bäume. Wir hatten wieder Schnee. Und ich nur meine leichte Jacke. Argh!
Erlkönig... da kannte ich mal einen "Spaß-Reim" von, aber er fällt mir leider nicht mehr ein...

CJ Kennedy said...

Such a nice area to walk. The poppies are beautiful and a welcome sight here as it's cold and rainy today. A very sad poem especially in light of the latest news. Happy T Day

jinxxxygirl said...

Those trees and flowers are amazing Carola! Makes me miss California! Here in TX the Live Oak tress can be amazing! They really took a hit a few years ago with that deep freeze here in TX.. Sad to see such huge , old trees dead... But many survived too.. Now we just need some good rain to give the survivors a better chance.. The wildflowers here in TX are blooming too.. If we had gotten some rain the last few weeks they would have been better but still nice.. Happy T day! Hugs! deb

Amila said...

These photos are beautiful and lovely wildflowers. I like the appearance of the bare trees. All the photos show the beauty of nature.
Happy T-Day!

Gretchen Joanna said...

I don't think I've ever seen buttercups in that park. Your pictures are wonderful! Thanks so much.

Divers and Sundry said...

Your landscapes are striking, and it's fun to find such pops of spring color. Happy belated T Tuesday

Lisca said...

What a beautiful park. I love all those old oaks.
I never realized either what a sad story Der Erlkönig was. He was Death personified.
I love Jessye Norman. I saw her perform several times and I have several of her CDs. My favorite is Mahler's 2nd, with Das Lied von der Erde on the other side. Beautiful.
Happy T-Day,

Barb said...

Carola - it's so green there! I tried to grow CA Poppies by throwing out seed one fall but only a couple sprouted and never reseeded. I do love to see them. Those oaks have such personality! Enjoy your spring and all the growing/blooming things.

Jeanie said...

As always, your photos are absolutely breathtaking. I especially love your California poppies. They are so very cheerful. Those blue skies are pretty nice, too!

Barwitzki said...

Danke für die wunderbaren Fotos von deinem Spaziergang im Nationalpark.
Herrlich... ja, du musst das oft gehen, diesen schönen Weg! Es sieht sehr nach Entspannung aus... die wunderschönen Bäume, Wildblumen, Hügellandschaft.
Und es ist so schön, welche Freude dir dein köstliches Bier bereitet, ein richtiges Themenbier... diesmal Goethe "Der Erlkönig", Epoche: Sturm und Drang... wir haben diese Ballade bestimmt alle in Deutschland in der Schule gelernt, aber erst viel später habe ich die Literatur von Goethe schätzen gelernt. Danke für das Hervorholen. Ich hoffe, du hast noch ein Bier...
und ich werde hier bei uns im Getränkemarkt Ausschau halten nach Themenbier (falls ich etwas finde, melde ich mich).
Liebe Grüsse zu dir. Viola

Lorrie said...

Beautiful wild and green spaces for the wildflowers to flourish. A day out in the countryside is refreshing, especially when one feels a bit depleted. California has had such a long drought and I am glad that the reservoirs are filling. The poppies are a cheery sight and the same kind will soon be dancing beside the roadways here, too.

Lowcarb team member said...

Beautiful photographs.

All the best Jan

Beatrice P. Boyd said...

Those trees are in a word, maybe two, simply amazing!