|Wintersweet aka Chimonanthus in bloom.|
Later, after driving north to the vineyard in Kelseyville, I assembled this ikebana with some pine and pretty dried out roses that had overwintered near the winery.
But I’d mentioned in the title of this post that I’d had my first Citrus lesson, right?
|The candied pieces at the bottom of this image are from a Buddha’s Hand.|
This was a lime that my friend rolled around in his hands to release its oils. The scent was heavenly but we didn’t eat it. I was more than content just to stare at it.
Beforehand, we’d walk through the labyrinth of trees at the nursery with their Bengal cat. I’d never seen one in person before and I have to admit that I was probably a bit more into the cat than I needed to be but I do miss my own herd back home.
This is not the best image, but I had to add it. I found the juxtaposition of an olive tree and a Sequoia to be a bit like the famous surrealist quote taken from the Comte de Lautréamont’s Les Chants de Maldoror: “Beautiful as the chance encounter of a sewing machine and an umbrella on a dissecting table.”
It reminded me to always think over plant associations.
Just as we were about to leave, I snapped an image of this timber bamboo. That stuff really is incredibly beautiful.
Hours later, I made this ikebana for my niece’s 20th birthday. Like myself, she loves dark and mysterious things that are a bit quirky and I knew she’d love this slightly dark olive and pomegranate arrangement.
Ciao from Lake County, California…
So as I drive home, I will endeavor to keep my eyeballs straight and not to tire myself out with all of this seeing and looking but that’s truly how I memorize plants and I put a lot of energy into it. Today’s Halloween though, and it’s the day I head north again, so wish me luck as I enter back into the sphere of plant life I am familiar with already. I have a lifetime to learn about Californian plants and I will just have to accept that it will take that long to learn them.
|The Rogue River in Southern Oregon.|
Just a few days ago I drove down to California alone, to see my husband and to witness the wine harvest and crush for the first time. It’s the least I could do as his wife and it was my birthday gift to him. I had to be brave to drive I-5 alone and to stay in a yurt right off the highway when virtually few others were doing so. Driving the whole 10 hours in a day—by myself—was just not possible. The two-day drive was amazing!
|Western Redbud, Cercis occidentalis, in a rest stop near Lake Shasta.|
|Arctostaphylos in a rest stop near Mt. Shasta.|
As for botanizing, my main goal during this trip is to more deeply familiarize myself with the native flora in the chaparral of California. I will be doing some coastal exploration too, but most of my activities will be centered around Lake County where my husband is during the growing season.
While stopping in Redding to visit McConnell Arboretum & Botanical Garden I caught some folks fishing for salmon in the Sacramento River. The flyfisherman who’d waded all the way out in the riffles was fun to watch but I was disappointed that he didn’t know how to cast. (Sometime I will have my husband take a picture of me casting. It’s the only fishing skill I retained from my upbringing.)
After Redding I drove south toward Sacramento and San Francisco before heading west on Hwy 20 into Lake County, CA. From the point on, I was far happier with the gorgeous scenery.
When I arrived, he hopped up the ladder and began to punch down the fermenting grapes in the tank. I have to say, it was impressive and the smell was incredible. It was both good and bad at the same time!
I looked at the color of the grapes, took the picture, and then as I was on the ladder I laughed when I noticed the labels on the tank.
When he finished we walked through the olive orchard.
We were both surprised that the pomegranate tree had actually produced this year despite the funny weather.
Then he showed me what the weather had done to some of the grapes. With the heavy rains and low temperatures we’ve had this season all along the West Coast, you’re going to get some rotten grapes. This is what they can look like and you just have to let them go.
And this is what grapes in a vineyard look like when they’re not pruned. This row was going to be grafted with something else but when the time to do so passed because the weather wasn’t right, they just let the grapes go. It’s only one row, but it really shows you how much pruning is necessary to make all the vineyards look so pretty. They really prune to improve the air and sun exposure for the grapes and to ensure that they have consistency in overall quality and quantity. The whole process is really interesting to me.
While we perambulated, we were being watched. I shot this picture and admired Mt Konocti behind the mighty raptor. That’s because at that moment, I had not yet climbed to its top. Tomorrow, I’ll let you know how that went because right now, I’m off to collect some more plant materials just north of here…