Found and Found

a. Californica on the west facing slope

In my last post, I discussed that I would be going on an exploration of other areas of the ranch to look for a. californica (heart leafed milkweed). The first day I went out, I found several communities. On the south-facing slope , across from the plants just down the hill from my home, I found three communities. One grouping had 13 individuals. Ten feet SE of that grouping was a community of between four and six individuals, and about 12 feet due west was one individual plant. If I am going to be completely honest, I whooped for joy. What a find! On another adventure, I found one community of two plants separated by approximately 15 feet. This was located on a west facing slope.

My excursions taught me, as well as reading some articles on a. californica, that this plant likes an elevation of between 1000′ and 1200′ – at least in my area. They seem to like rocky outcroppings and the windy side of the slope. This gave me some ideas of where additionally to look on a third outing further back on the ranch.

Heading back from excursion two with Beatrix
On excursion three with Millie

Millie and I set off for the mid part of the ranch. We got distracted by the south facing section of the hill that had a. californica on the west slope. We hiked up about 1000 feet, and did not see any. This put us on a different path than anticipated. We had intended to visit a hill on the east side of Odom Creek. We continued down the east slope of the hill toward our destination. Although we started our adventure at 6:30am when the sky was filled with moist clouds, by 7:30am, the clouds had broken up and the sun was out. The temperature was beginning to get hot. We made it to the base of the hill and decided not to climb it. I did look at the rocky areas for signs of the silvery large leaves, but did not see any. We will need to return and investigate more fully. We also have another hill on the neighbor’s side of the ranch that might be conducive to a. californica tastes. We will explore there too. Millie and I returned home “empty handed” but better for the extraordinarily beautiful, if not rigorous, walk.

The rocky area on the south facing hillside with copious a. californica

Another happy piece of information to convey is that more milkweed from the test plots last year are regrowing. Over the last several days, I have been looking closely at the plots after my husband has weeded. One by one, the narrow leaf milkweed from last year has reemerged. We now have three, possibly four, new growths on the South Plot, and two in the North Plot. One of the regrowing locations has multiple spouts inside and outside the original basket (large photo in the montage). See the montage below for examples of the various growths.

Today, I spent time planting nectar plants. Ron dropped off 10 nectar plants: Hairy Primrose, Romneya Coulteri (a white poppy bush), Carpenteria, yarrow, sulfur buckwheat, coyote mint and yellow asters. I placed several near Site 10 and the old South Plot. The others will be a short distance away from the milkweeds. I want to provide options for the butterflies.

Carpenteria in the foreground and primrose in the background
Asters and the buckwheat between site 10 and the old South Plot staged and ready to be planted.

Everything was planted with the exception of the coyote mint, yarrow and one aster. They are all located close to the romneya coulteri further away from the plots and are not pictured.

Tonight ended with a late season rain storm. Thunder, lightening, the gorgeous smell of tar weed and formerly dry soil are filling the house through the open windows. It is unbelievable. I have already taken down the rain water catchment system – although it would only make a difference for the vessel on the south side of the house since that is the only unit from which water has been used. It is still nice. The troughs and rain barrel will fill again. This allows for even more water to use in irrigating the pants. What a beautiful day.

One thought on “Found and Found”

  1. wished you could capture the sight and smell of the rain in a rural setting (and the sound of thunder!) with just words…we got rain showers this morn- which was quite a surprise…but alas no thunder


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