Tuesday, July 12, 2011

On the Way to Red Hill

The Russian River

Mr. Glad and I took our friend from college days on a hike at the coast. Up from Shell Beach, near where the Russian River flows into the ocean and sea lions sleep in clusters on the sand, a trail winds toward Red Hill. We didn't make it to the top of anything, and the fog would have obscured our view anyway. But the overcast skies made it easy to photograph flowers.

Before we got to the trailhead we stopped on the bluff north of the river and looked down on the pale shapes of the sea lions, with a bunch of dark birds nearby, cormorants perhaps. 
  The slopes were covered with lovely pink grass, which contrasted nicely with white yarrow, and with yellow and blue flowers, too.

The blooms of this unknown plant remind me of a bouquet of fat and curling pipecleaners. It liked to grow in the poison oak and brambles.

Rattlesnake Grass - Briza maxima


Rattlesnake Grass is darling. Plantations of the stuff hid in the pink grass. It occurred to me to take some home and send it in a box to a grandchild, and as it didn't look endangered I had no qualms about stealing.  Indeed, just now I found that it's not even native to California, and is on the list of invasive plants, though its invasion is termed "limited."

The giant yellow lupine bushes that one often sees near the coast weren't in bloom, but smaller and mostly blue ones 
dotted the sides of the trail. 
Looking down on a lupine

As we trotted along comfortably, the breeze blew warm, though the sun was obscured. Noises from the highway down below were muffled, and the wild rose hid herself among some dead branches.


Left-Handed Housewife said...

What a paradise! I love the name "rattlesnake grass." You could send me a box of it; I promise not to let invade.


Harmony said...

What a beautiful walk. Thank you for taking us with you. Indeed, those overcast skies made for lovely photos of the growing things. (I like "Mr Glad"!)

Harmony said...

P.S. I think your pipecleaner plant is California Phacelia:

Dana said...

While we lived in southern California, I had a "bouquet" of Rattlesnake Grass in a vase on top of my piano - reminded me of home.

On my way to church Sunday, there was a heron standing in the median just south of Cloverdale. I forget how big they are until I see one that close.


Pom Pom said...

What a lovely outing! You took some fantastic photos.

Jeannette said...

Makes me homesick...but I am right now anyway...
The subtle beauty of the land and your eye captures it
well..touches my heart.

Gumbo Lily said...

Great hike! I enjoyed the flowers and grasses. I've never seen rattlesnake grass. The heads look like rattlesnake rattles so I'm wondering if they rattle too?

Dana said...


they have a very soft, grassy-sort of "rattle", best heard when you shake a bunch of them together.


Marfa said...

I would like to hear the rattlesnake grass blowing in the wind...too bad it's not native. There are lots of plants here that I like that are invasive (honeysuckle is one), wish they would let the native plants grow, too, though, because I bet there are some good ones we're missing out on!