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June 22, 2018

Dear Skyliners,

We had good workdays last week.  We continued to follow up on Scattergrass over in Bay Grove land and then we did a complete sweep for Burr Chervil (aka Sock Destroyer or Velcro Plant) in the Yampah bowl area.  Welcome to Marilyn, Lynn, Jennifer, Margot, and Libby.

We'll be out on Sunday and Wednesday this next week.  The hike over the top is great and the slopes are now aglow with Sticky Monkey (more below).  

Please let me know if you can make it.

As to flowers, the volume of bloom at Skyline is the greatest of the year.  Mostly, that's the slopes of Sticky Monkey, but let's start with some of the smaller ones.  Coyote mint (Monardella villosa) is now blooming on the sunny rocky slopes.  From a distance, they might look like a clump of ground hugging thistles, but up close they are lovely; and the leaves are very fragrant.  Here's two in bloom:

(Thanks to Francesca for this photo) 

Next we have California Skullcap (Scutellaria californica).  These are small white snapdragon flowers blooming on stems a foot or less in height.  Here's a shot of some:

These grow in clumps and spread by underground runners.  They are very uncommon in our area, but grow trailside in the Buckeye Grove area south of Steam Trains, and here and there along the north crest of the ridges.  (Thanks to Jessica for this shot.)

 

Now we get to the showy ones - here's a slope just covered with Sticky Monkey (Mimulus aurantiacus).  While much of the East Bay now looks like a crispy, brown cracker, up at Skyline the party is on.  Look at this:

Can you believe it?  Four years ago this slope was dominated by Eucalyptus trees.  Thanks to their removal, we can witness Bringing Back the Natives in full swing; and not only the plants, but Hummingbirds, Bumblebees, and a host of other pollinators are all here for the flowers.   In the background, the Live Oaks are starting to fill out, now that they have more light.  This is all really inspiring.  (Photo thanks to Margaret)  

In pockets along the trail, Farewell to Spring (Clarkia rubicunda) is having a great year, too.  Here's a swath of them:

And here's a closer look:

Pink and orange, what a color combination; bold and brassy - now this is California!!

 

Happy Trails,

 

Glen