Six on Saturday: Under And Over


These are some of the bridges in the neighborhood where I work. There are several others that I did not get pictures of, as well as several more closer to town. Bean Creek happens to flow into Zayante Creek here, and Zayante Creek flows into the San Lorenzo River just a short distance away. Bean Creek flows through the farm a few miles upstream. Zayante Creek flows right past my home.

If you happen to know who Miley Cyrus is, she was photographed in the waterfall where Ferndell Creek flows into Bean Creek, which is literally just a few feet upstream from where Bean Creek flows into Zayante Creek. I do not know who she is, but I can understand why she came here to have her photograph taken.

1. Under the Conference Drive Bridge over Zayante Creek, East Zayante Road, Roaring Camp Road, Roaring Camp Railroad, and an access road to a (Rhody’s) baseball field, one would not guess that this bridge covers so much territory. The two roads below are on opposite sides of Zayante Creek. I posted pictures of this bridge before, but during winter while the box elders were bare. One box elder off to the left fell not too long ago.P90706

2. Over Zayante Creek, just a short distance upstream and around a bend to the east, this small pedestrian bridge is closed until it can be repaired or replaced. Rhody does not seem to mind. Except for the light green box elders off in the distance, the trees to the left are some rather nice specimens of white alder. The foliage to the right is that of California buckeye, which is a weirdly ‘twice deciduous’ species that can defoliate during summer.P90706+

3. Under Roaring Camp Railroad Bridge over Zayante creek, just another short distance upstream from the pedestrian bridge (#2), we can see some more white alders, as well as some coast live oaks in the background. The lighter foliage to the left is likely box elders. This railroad passes under the significantly higher Conference Drive Bridge (#1) just a short distance in the opposite direction. They are almost perpendicular to each other.P90706++

4. Over a nicely landscaped section of Ferndell Creek, this small pedestrian bridge is probably the best place to see most of the rhododendrons when they bloom. Most are off the left, but that unrecognizable shrub to the right is one of the biggest. It is about ten feet above the bridge, and about twelve feet below! The big camellia that was killed by gophers earlier was just to the left at the far end of this bridge, just in front of the redwoods.P90706+++

5. Under another pedestrian bridge just a very short distance downstream from the bridge pictured above (#4), recently planted Boston ivy is beginning to climb the pair of pillars in the background. Now that we know it does well here, we will eventually add more to climb the closer pair of pillars, after the English ivy gets removed. The site from which I removed sedge earlier is just upstream to the left, between the two pedestrian bridges.P90706++++

6. Over Conference Drive, and a short distance up the road form the Conference Drive Bridge (#1), this small pedestrian bridge was built at a time when Conference Drive carried much more traffic. The road was closed to through traffic and bypassed in 1968. I like how the bridge leaps up into the redwoods and back down again on the far end. I need to prune these redwoods for clearance, but try to leave them cozily close to the bridge.P90706+++++

This is the link for Six on Saturday, for anyone else who would like to participate:

Nature For Sale

P90323KGardening is unnatural. Yes; quite unnatural. So is landscaping. It all involves planting exotic plants from all over the World that would not otherwise be here, including many that are too extensively and unnaturally bred and hybridized to survive for long even in the natural ecosystems from which their ancestors were derived.
Unless they grow on their own, even native plants are not natural. Those that are native to the region may not be native to the specific site. Many that are grown in nurseries are unnaturally selected varieties or cultivars. To complicate matters, much of what seems to be natural out in forests and wild lands are invasive naturalized exotics.
The weather above and most of the soil below are natural, but both are commonly enhanced for our gardens. We water our gardens and landscapes as if the weather is insufficient. Soil amendments and fertilizers compensate for what we perceive to be inadequacies of the natural soil. Insects, deer, raccoons and disease are all natural too, but we put quite a bit of effort into excluding them from our gardens.
Bees and other pollinators are all the rage now, even though many are not native or natural here. We provide them with weird and confusing new cultivars of flowers that likely produce nutritionally deficient pollen, and that distract them from naturally native plants that rely on them for pollination. It all gets so confusing!
These potted annuals and flowering perennials at the supermarket are pretty and might provide the illusion of bringing a little bit of nature closer to the home. Yet, there is nothing natural about them. They are all unnaturally bred and hybridized from unnaturally exotic plants, and were provided with synthetic fertilizers and artificial irrigation, while they were grown in synthetic medium, contained withing synthetic pots.

Onion Weed

70412What an unappealing name! That is probably why so many of us know it simply as ‘wild onion’ or ‘allium’. Few of us bother to get sufficiently acquainted with it to know it by the species name of Allium triquetrum, which is actually not much more appealing than ‘onion weed’. It is not really wild, but has naturalized as an invasive exotic, or in other words, ‘weed’. At least it is a pretty weed.

The foliage might not be much to look at as it emerges from formerly dormant bulbs late in winter. Each bulb produces only two or three leaves that get only about half a foot tall, and are only a bit wider and glossier than grassier weeds. Then the three sided flower stalks grow up as much as a foot above the foliage, and bloom with as many as a dozen small and pendulous white flowers.

The half inch long flowers are individually no more interesting than their foliage; but collectively, they briefly brighten unrefined or neglected areas of the garden with wispy soft white drifts of bloom. They can bloom through shallow weeds or groundcover, and tolerate considerable shade. Yet, as resilient as they are, they are not too drought tolerant. Onion weed is edible, but not very flavorful.

Felton Covered Bridge

04Now that I have been watching a few other blogs for three months, I notice that some people write some very interesting or at least entertaining articles about topic that are not directly related to the main topic of their respective blogs. Most are just like old fashioned slide shows (remember those?) with cool pictures from around the neighborhood, travels, home projects, or whatever might be interesting. I have not done this yet; but I happen to have a bit of free time at the moment, so thought that I would post these three pictures of the historic Felton Covered Bridge. Although I am technically from Los Gatos, my home is in the Santa Cruz Mountains between Los Gatos and Felton. I also have history in Felton, since my grandparents and my Pa used to live here.

In an attempt to keep this post relevant to horticulture, I should mention that the trees to the right of the Felton Covered Bridge are a colony of the common box elders that suddenly died this past year. ( )We still do not know what killed them so suddenly. Perhaps later I can post pictures of this same area when it was flooded. I just do not have that file here right now.05This is the southwestern of the four sidelight windows on the Felton Covered Bridge. If crossing from the end in the upper picture, it would be on the left side toward the far end. It is the best window in the house. Rhody to the lower right might be mistaken for a rodent ( ). My parents have a picture from about 1970 of my older sister (from War of the Worlds – ), my younger brother and and I looking out of this window. My brother and I were just tykes at the time, and were to short to see out of the window, so we were standing on the lower rail. Our sister was pointing at something in the distance.06This is the view from that same window. That wet thing below is the San Lorenzo River. The black spots in that wet thing below are ducks. Once the rain starts, the San Lorenzo River really looks more like river than a creek. This last spring, in the San Lorenzo River right below the Bridge, we scattered the ashes of a good friend, Steven Ralls, with whom I went to Oklahoma (to the right in the illustration – ). Most of the vegetation out there is native. The trees straight ahead are common cottonwoods. However, the tree to the left is a weeping willow. No one knows how it got there.

Hey, this was fun. Maybe I will post more pictures on those memes later. I don’t know what a meme is, but I suppose I could figure it out.