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  • Writer's pictureConejo Valley Botanic Garden

After a rainy and chilly weekend .....

Updated: Apr 4

After a rainy and chilly weekend (what. Am I back on the east coast???), today, Tuesday, was wonderfully sunny and warm after a bit of a chill first thing this morning. Monica Barton, Beverly Kemmerling, Daryl Stutley and Nancy Taylor Walker and I made up the Tuesday Crew. First thing on the agenda was to review the Salvia Garden, an area Monica was due to show to a group of 6-graders later in the morning. 18 students were scheduled for a guided tour of the garden led by board member Carl Zhu who is responsible for most of the student outreach activities of the garden, frequently focusing on the native areas such as the stream environment and the nature trail. This is one of many outreach activities directed toward young people designed to expose them to concepts like sustainability, ecology, water-wise gardening and environmental stewardship.

Today the Tuesday Crew volunteers spent our time at the top of the hill where we again focused on removing as many mustard and star thistle plants that were sending up bloom stalks as possible. Nancy captured Daryl, Beverly and Monica in an image that provides meaning to the phrase: “nose to the grindstone.”

The saving grace was the looseness of the soil due to recent rains. There was little need for tough digging as many of even the largest plants came up with just a good pull. I got one shot of the rest of the group when they came up for a breath! Daryl, Beverly, Monica and Nancy.

You can see just on the horizon snow on the mountain range to our north.

The plants I’m choosing to highlight this week are two that hopefully will be much more showy in the days and weeks to come. Both are at the top of the hill and show dramatic growth due to the rainy winter. Below is the stand of honey bush, Melianthus major, on the south side of the top of the hill above the Rare Fruit Orchard. It is just sending up its first bloom stalks.

The second is one of my favorites because of its unusual appearance; the voodoo lily. I’m not sure of the species, but based on Google Photos, I think it is Dracunculus vulgarus. I’m hoping that the unusually lush vegetative growth will produce equally lush blooms, but that remains to be seen.

It can be found at the top of the hill to the right between purple sage and sage brush plants; hopefully it is thus protected from inadvertent trampling.

Enjoy the garden!    KMM

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