Califlowernia

I’ve been a floraphile as long as I can remember. One of my earliest flower memories is from pre-school, of us going out for a walk, and learning names of flowers. The flowers we saw weren’t rarities, but the names are with me still. St. John’s Wort, Queen Anne’s Lace, Soapwort, and day lilies were some of those first flower names I learned.

There was a big patch of daylilies on the right side of the highway just before the Quissett traffic lights, and I still remember the thrill of seeing those hundreds of feet of roadside, massed with orange, their blooming time marking the first days of full summer. That patch of daylilies is still there, still blooming every year, and I still love those flowers.

Flowers welcomed us to California. When we got to our friends’ house, there was a bouquet on the bureau in the room we stayed in.

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The “Welcome to California” bouquet.

There were sweetly fragrant white flowers.

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In the garden beds outside the kitchen windows.

While we were with our friends we went for a walk to the top of Fremont Peak. Up near the top there were some slambam gorgeous wasps enjoying milkweed blossoms.

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The hills were drying out, the magical greens of spring were fast fading, being replaced by golds and browns.

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A few blooms were still around, though.

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In a restaurant garden were cactus flowers.

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And more cactus flowers…

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At a roadside farm stand, red poppy volunteers stood out in a planting of white.

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And snapdragons massed on the flat, fertile land.

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Cannery Row now cans nothing. It does dispense canned “atmosphere”. The old stench of the sardine is replaced by the genteel aroma of roses.

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In Pacific Grove, giant mounds of aloe are punctuated by red pop-up spikes.

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Further north, a rose in a family backyard garden harbors a visitor.

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On the other side of the house blooms a clump of blackeyed susan.

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And at the edge of the walled courtyard garden of the Mission San Carlos Borromeo de Carmelo is a giant bush-type poppy, covered with these gorgeous ruffled blooms.

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A good time was had by all, in Califlowernia.

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