Wildflowers, some native, some not, growing among the weeds in spring 2020

The wildflowers are a mixed bag, but they’re better than weeds

There’s a strip of The Acre that borders chaparral and oak surrounding the pond. Technically, it’s “defensible space” mandated by the fire department, so it’s supposed to be cleared of weeds and growth in the fire season, which is roughly June to October when things are dry and hot.

But during the winter and early spring it doesn’t have to be kept clear, so rather than just letting it be a weed bank, I seeded it each fall with native wildflowers.

My success has been mixed. Ten years in and the weeds still dominate, but the wildflowers are starting to gain a footing. It’s not a pure collection of natives either. Some non-natives have settled in as well. But all-in-all, they’re better than the weeds.

Photo Gallery
Flowers (clockwise from top left):
  • Golden poppies (Eschscholzia californica) — Native: You don’t see them near the coast much, but we’re far enough inland that they still show up and colonize the place for a while.
  • Statice (Limonium sinuatum) — Newcomer: Not technically a newcomer since it escaped a dried flower garden in the 1990s. Lots of them live on in the fringes of he road in flower all year long.
  • California (aka: desert) Bluebells (Phacelia campanularia) — Native: Used to see this one a lot, but not so much anymore. Delicate little plant with blue flowers. Blooms in early spring and dies back by May.
  • Red Poppy (Papaver rhoeas) — Newcomer: From Europe. Seed escaped a poppy garden uphill about 10 years ago and the plants have turned up downslope ever since. Flowers early and dies back by May.

Beyond the annuals, the perennials are just starting to flower as well. Soon the whole place will be alive with the sound of bees and the scent of sage and lavender, and everyone who visits will know why I have no trouble not leaving home.

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Sage Osterfeld
I’m just a guy with nearly an acre of dirt, a nice little mid-century ranch house and a near-perfect climate. But in my mind I’m a landscaper survivalist craftsman chef naturalist with a barbeque the size of a VW and my own cable TV show. I like to write about the stuff I build, grow and see here at Sage's Acre.