June. Farewell to Spring. It’s a simple pink flower that lines hiking trails, landscapes roads and heralds the end of the spring flowering season. Note that I didn’t say it ended wildflower season, because hey! we live in Southern California where we will have flowers blooming all year long in the forests and the deserts and especially in the mountains.
But Spring is glory days for mother nature, when we are overwhelmed by the appearance of old friends, flowers we eagerly anticipate as February morphs into March and as April brings a riot of blooms in May and June.
It starts with Mustard, Wild Cucumber, Wild Radish and Poppies. And soon our hillsides are painted with their color.
The names are not always delectable: Deadly Nightshade, Fleabane, Poison Hemlock. But they brighten the trail.
The hikers’ best friend is a smart phone with a camera that can be whipped out whenever the turn of the trail reveals a lush stand of wildflowers. Of course, phone cameras, despite their convenient portability, come with the disadvantage of a lens that cannot be changed, limiting composition and depth of field. However, I’ve learned that there are other ways to express the joy of hiking and the thrill of discovering beauty on the hillsides: a little app recommended by a friend a few years ago.
The app is called Prizma and at that time, was a free app. (Now they understandably want users to pay a subscription fee.) I still use it whenever I’m away from home to “stylize” my photos and put a bit more expression into them.
So here they are, old acquaintances that pop up every year, this year in especially large and colorful numbers!
I love the names we give flowers, Virgin’s Bower, Chamise, and Canterbury Bells. Fiddleneck (because the yellow flowers curl in a graceful spike), Chinese Houses.
We will have to wait until August for the wild orchids on Mt. Baldy, but here in the lower elevations and on dusty cliffs, we have Mariposa Lilies, as exotic and striking as any tropical flower. They bloom brightly but quickly and only where they are free from the tall grasses that thrive in the cool wet spring. They will be back next year.