For today’s Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day I’m doing something a little different. My garden looks a lot like it has in recent posts, so I thought I’d take you along on a tour last weekend of Crestridge Ecological Preserve, in San Diego County, a little over half an hour from the coast. The flowers were out in force.
One of the interesting narratives of this place is how a landscape responds to being burned. This preserve and many of the homes around it burned intensely in the big 2003 Cedar Fire. A lot of the homes nearby with their new tile roofs and crisp, new stucco look like they’ve been rebuilt out of the ashes.
Same goes for the plants. The Engelmann oaks that help define the character of the preserve burned. But many are bouncing back. Really, if it weren’t for the burned snags it’d be hard to guess that this area was cinders seven and a half years ago.
The Preserve features a small visitor kiosk designed by James T. Hubbell, the county’s best known proponent of organic architecture. Wood post-and-beam construction with straw-bale infill makes up the walls of the one-room space. Floors are a mix of flagstone and tile mosaics. Very groovy.
Around the kiosk is a native plant garden funded by a grant by the local CNPS chapter. Unlike the landscape around it, this garden receives some irrigation to keep it looking more garden-like. But today the garden extended seamless into the surrounding landscape.
The floral highlight of the trip is the the preserve’s stand of the rare Lakeside ceanothus, Ceanothus cyaneus. It’s vivid, dark color and big floral heads make it what must be one of the most spectacular of the ceanothus species. It’s not particularly garden tolerant, but given perfect drainage and no water once established, it might hang around for a few years and stop traffic passing by your garden.
On this trip we saw this lilac, as well as late-blooming examples of the much more common but less spectacular Ramona lilac, Ceanothus tomentosus, and some intergrades that look like they’re the love children of these two species.
Below is a little gallery of the visit. Hover on any image for a label of the plant. Click to see the entire image.
Check out what’s happening in gardens around the world in the other Garden Bloggers Bloom Day posts hosted by Carol, of May Dreams Gardens. As always, thanks, Carol!