California Buckeye- Local Flora – Stay at home stroll – 11

This is a series about the neighborhood flowers and flowering trees that I saw and enjoyed on my walk in the neighborhood during the stay at home months.  Many of the flowers I don’t know much about and depend on Google lens to get a name.  If there are mistakes, apologize for my ignorance.

From a distance, when they are in full bloom it looks like a tree full of orchids.  Mildly scented, during spring the tree suddenly comes to life and is a sight to behold.  As the name suggest, these are California natives but I have not seen these trees in any ones gardens in the area. May be because these trees become brown and barren during the summer months people do not like to plant them in their gardens. I have seen many of these by the creek side and by some hiking trails in the locality. 

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the beautiful damsel

swaying her long braids

entices the mendicant 

till he breaks


A Rose is a rose

 

 

 

Spring Blossom- Local Flora – Stay at home stroll – 4

This is a series about the neighborhood flowers and flowering trees that I saw and enjoyed on my walk in the neighborhood during the stay at home months.  Many of the flowers I don’t know much about and depend on Google lens to get a name.  If there are mistakes, apologize for my ignorance.

The photo below was taken during the very early part of WFH (work from home) advisory as a precaution to avoid contracting COVID-19. Stay at home was still a few days ahead.  Since eighteen sixty four, this was the first rainless February in our area and spring came early.  Just to give some space to my better half who was still getting accustomed to the routine of WFH, I used to take long walks in the morning.  The weather was gorgeous, sunny, dry and cool and outdoor was much more inviting than being confronted by an unhappy spouse forced to be confined in an unoptimized workspace.  During one of those walks, mile and a half from my home, I was suddenly blinded by the sight of these beautiful trees in full bloom. I  had walked by this same street a few days back and I was sure that the trees were barren. I took out my cell phone and took few photos.  Sunlight was blinding and I could barely see my cellphone screen due to the glare.  As I was going through my cell phone gallery today, I saw a couple that I could resurrect with a little bit of post processing.  I am still not happy with the end result because the flowers are not distinct enough.  Google lens show this as Eugenia dysenterica but to me it looked more like Cherry blossom.  Ah well, what’s in a name.  Who am I to question what Keats said; ” A thing of beauty is a joy for ever”.   

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Brightened the season

And dazzled my heart

Your beauty

Worth the wait


A Rose is a rose

 

 

Empress Tree(Paulownia)*- Local Flora – Stay at home stroll – 3

Couple of weeks back, on a weekend, I was taking an after lunch walk with my wife around our neighborhood.  The day was sunny and bright but cool.  Our dog Skooby was with us.  Whenever he goes out with both of us he becomes super excited.  As a result our walks become leisurely because he has to stop everywhere trying to take in all the smells that nature presents.  This particular day I was rewarded for my patience with Skooby.  As we were taking a turn on the road towards our home, my eyes were dazzled with the sight of blooming flowers bathed in sunlight.  It was just one tree among few other non-descript trees near a creek. Behind the creek there was a small meadow with tall grass.  I could hardly see any leaf on the tree.  Whole tree, from top to bottom, was just covered in dazzlingly bright flowers.  Sunlight was quite strong and it was difficult for me to get a photo with enough contrast of the whole tree with my cell phone.  So I had to be satisfied with a zoomed in shot of the flowers.  I had no idea what those flowers were.  My knowledge about flowers are minimal.  So I had to use Google lens to identify what it was called.  Empress tree or one of the members of the paulownia family.  If any of my readers can identify it clearly and update, it will be much appreciated. 

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Dazzling jewels

Bathed in sunlight

Fit to adorn a regina

Empress of the wild


A Rose is a rose

*  The name Empress Tree or Paulownia was found using Google lens.

 

A Walk along Los Alamitos Creek

I did a 8 mile walk along Los Alamitos Creek today.  It had been raining here continuously for last few days. Even as I am writing this post, the house windows are being rattled by gusts of wind. The constant drip drip sound of the rain on the roof is putting me to sleep.

Los Alamitos Creek is about eight miles long, originating in the Santa Cruz Mountains and flowing along the eastern side of Almaden Valley.  The creek joins the Guadalupe River after Almaden Lake. Los Alamitos Creek Trail along the creek is about ten miles long.  The creek becomes a trickle during summer but swells after winter rains.  I wanted to see the creek after the rains and was not disappointed.

As I started from my home, it was cloudy with the sun trying to come out from behind the clouds .28e63dac-bd6b-436e-816f-d5a6c5d0b956 The hills including Mount Umunhum in the west were hazy, covered in rain clouds.  The trail itself is well paved for bicycles, hikers and joggers with small detours that lead from the paved trail to the creek banks in many areas.  I entered the trail after walking about a mile from my home.

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Winter rains had turned the meadows near the creek bed verdant green. Trees, bare naked in winter, against the green meadows and a darkening sky was a sight to behold.c46fbf2c-d2cf-40ff-b804-80e8365237e1_resize

 

The creek becomes a trickle during summer but swells after winter rains.  I wanted to see the creek after the rains and was not disappointed. It was full with gushing waters and looked like a small river.5a7199c0-bb35-46d4-916f-d872776fe193_resize

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As I was about to return, the rains started. It was a slow drizzle at first but became a driving rain by the time I was about a mile from home. Then just as suddenly a huge gust of wind blew the rain away though I could still see the heavy rains on the hills.  I hurried home as fast as I could praying my tired legs would not slip on the wet pavements.  Though I was extremely tired after the long walk, my heart was full and satisfied.

Cactus Flowers and Shade Trees : Tuesday Photo Challenge – Backyard

This week’s Tuesday Photo Challenge prompt from Frank  is  “Backyard“.

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Backyard trees in the morning sun as seen from my breakfast nook.  All the trees are in my backdoor neighbors yard.  Flowers and leaves from the trees make my backyard quite dirty but they provides nice shade in summer afternoon as the sun moves to the western sky.  Therefore I have learnt to tolerate the extra work and coexist.

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Photo above is from my extended backyard. Couple of minutes walk from my house is a creek. Nearly a kilometer long portion of  the creek divides the newer and older areas of the subdivision. The creek runs completely dry in summer.  On our side of the creek, the trail by the side of the creek is shaded by trees and on the other side is a wide trail.  In summer the creek bed is choke full of  dry reeds that give shelter and nesting environments to wild birds and animals, mainly quails, ground squirrels, gophers, moles and hares. Saw these beautiful cactus flowers during morning walk with my dog, Skooby. 

Many had commented that it looks like a human foot.20180905_100702_Richtone(HDR)_3

Note: All photos taken by author on September 5, 2018. Please ask or cite source for reproduction.

Apple and Orange Blossoms : Tuesday Photo Challenge – Future

Frank’s Tuesday Photo Challenge prompt for this week is  “Future“.

I was looking for a suitable photo to post to represent “Future” theme.  Today was Linda’s One Liner Wednesday prompt and suddenly an opportunity presented itself to kill two birds with one stone.  Please don’t get me wrong. I am not for any killing, specially birds.

Weather had been really nice here for last couple of days and I was working in my garden to take care of various plants.  Orange trees and apple tree are in full bloom.  The apple tree is small and comparatively young.  It also did not give us any fruits last year.  As I was coming back from my morning walk with my dog, Skooby, I looked at the blooming apple tree in my front yard.  I hoped that this year it will bear fruits.  My wife had been talking to the gardener for some work to be done for a vegetable garden and she had talked with him regarding some needed care for the apple tree.  As I was looking at the tree and the apple blossoms, the one liner quote suddenly came to my mind that would also work for the photo challenge prompt “Future”.  So here it is and for good measure, I am including my entry for One Liner Wednesday prompt also.

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A present not taken well care of will not bear fruit in future.

©Pranab Sarma, 2018

Orange blooms are from a California navel orange tree in our backyard.  Couple of years back we had so many oranges that few branches broke because they could not bear the weight of the fruits.  Last year there were barely a few on the same tree.  My wife had been caring for that tree during last year and looking at the new blossoms, we are hopeful that it will bear fruits this year.

Let’s see what the “Future” beholds.