California Dreaming; Native Vistas of the West

I grew up surrounded by the oak grasslands of California’s Central Coast. Childhood memories of ones surroundings are always powerful things, so of course that environment has influenced the garden design that I practice and my life-long love of the plants and landscapes of the West. Led by the California Native Plant Society (CNPS), the third week of April has been designated California Native Plant Week. In honor of the varied beauty of my home state I wanted to share just a tiny sample of the California landscapes that I personally find so inspirational.

Elkhorn Slough

Elkhorn Slough; changing patterns created by the gentle interface of  land and sea.  (photo by Joy Albright-Souza)

Oak Lupine

Coastal Oak Prairie; rolling hills and fields of spring Lupine (photo Joy Albright-Souza)

Santa Margarita

Flower fields at the base of the upper La Panza; centuries of co-existence between cattle and plants. (photo by Joy Albright-Souza)

SLO West 46

Coast Range; a patchwork of grasses, oaks and shrubby chaparral in the Templeton Gap. (photo by Joy Albright-Souza)

poppies and sage

California Prairie; not a tree in sight in the poppy fields of the Antelope Valley. (photo by Joy Albright-Souza)

Trinity River

Rivers Edge; riparian splendor of the Trinity watershed. (photo by Joy Albright-Souza)

Mineral King Meadow

Mountain Meadow; swaths of beauty in the high Sierra Nevada. (photo by Joy Albright-Souza)

This small selection of pictures doesn’t even touch on the open deserts and deep forests, the boulder fields and the coastal cliffs or any of the other unique ecosystems deserving of notice and protection within California. Each community is a particular mix of plants and geology that offers the chance for endless awe and inspiration.

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Categories: Native Plants, Places to See


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