Friday, February 21, 2014

plant that blooms so hard you can HEAR it, and a tiny little beauty

 Tiny Beauty

also known as stork's bill because of what their seeds look like which,
incidentally, can feel like STEEL stabbing through your sneakers.

It's a flat little plant, blooming this month, but I never knew
until I stared rudely at it w/a macro
how amazing its architecture is. Stunner.

(seeing individual pollen grains makes me swoon)

Blue anthers? Hot pink stigma? What?!? 

Little honey bee excitedly floating from flower to flower in February.

I'm curious why the bee is sipping where she's sipping.
Where does the lovely nectar come out?
Is it there so that the plant can brush against the bee's tummy
to pick up and deposit pollen?

These are my questions.

Hark, I Hear Spring!

Practically the only other thing blooming right now
(with HUGE thanks to randomtruth for correcting my mis-ID!):

However, this plant blooms in SUCH GREAT abundance, you can HEAR it.

You'll be outside in the garden, kicking around, pretending to work, when:
Hark! What is that low buzzing coming from the ENTIRE property?

That's when you realize there are LEGIONS of bees ALL OVER
these tree/shrubs, and giant bumblebees seem to be setting up territories
to guard their particular patch o' manzanita blooms.

Pretty smart to bloom early when the bees are THIRSTY for fresh nectar
and hardly anything else is blooming, so you get LOTS of attention.

And I didn't see this bug until I uploaded the photos:

And only took one photo of this clump, so that bug WINS!

No idea what it is.
Besides GREAT at being overlooked.
Just like the red stemmed filaree.

I love "discovering" amazing things that have been there all along.
Nature: the more you look, the more you walk around, gobsmacked.

Love it.



  1. The most gorgeous flower photo ever! Brava! And what great pleasure to see growing things. Over here it's so grey and bleak it's hard to imagining new shoots...

    1. aw... you're TOO kind. I'm glad you're enjoying the virtual green. If you could just send us some of your precip, I'd gladly send some of our blooming plants your way. =) xo

  2. there is nothing like a macro lens to blow your mind. thanks for sharing - here in New England it's cold and ain't nothin' bloomin'...

    1. Completely true. It's a whole new world, as they say. =) Now every time I buy a new species of plant I wonder how it will look under that fabu-lens. =)

  3. I am on a mission to learn the manzanitas this year so greatly appreciate those snapshots of whiteleaf manzanita. Suddenly manzanitas are no longer "Oh, just another manzanita" to me but "Wow, look at the x,y or z on that manzanita." You are already getting the hang of getting the right stuff focused in a macro lens - that's tough to do and I am impressed. Maybe looking through the macro lens is kinda like looking through a bee's eyes?

    1. =) I really do feel like I am seeing their world when I peer that closely at flowers. It's something else, entirely.

      That's SUPER cool re: the manzanitas, I'm super impressed. I just love the genus name. I wonder how many there are in California?

    2. I too adore Arctos, and have had the pleasure of seeing a couple dozen species so far. But with 62 species in CA, I do still have a number of them to see. But... I am familiar with A. manz, and I gotta nicely ask - BB, are you sure of your ID? This looks like the infamous local A. viscida ssp. mariposa, Mariposa Manzanita. Is it sticky?

    3. eep! You know, I was searching for manz on my blog after I wrote the above & A. viscida popped up and I thought, as I dashed out the door, "Uh oh..." AND, you would know as you probably live v. near me, so lemme take another look & in all likelihood, correct the error. Plus, I live in Mariposa AND Mariposa county, so...

      =) THANK YOU!! =)

      62 species, wow. That's pretty amazing. Clearly my admiration is NOT an informed one--I just love 'em. As do the bees.

    4. I don't actually live in Mariposa, but visit often. In fact, I'm here right now. Wanna do a hike Sunday or Monday? I sent you a flickr mail.

      Yep, 62 species. But not because they're oh so common, but because there are a whole bunch that have become localized species with tiny ranges, such as only growing on one specific mountain top, or ridgeline. I.e., a surprising percentage of the 62 are rare species, which is one of the things that makes seeing them difficult, and also makes the genus soooo cool. For example, Arctostaphylos imbricata only grows on San Bruno Mountain, just south of SF. The next ridge south - Arcto montaraensis, another rarity. :)

    5. Btw - don't know if you ever pilgrimage to see rare native plants, but if you like the Euro Erodium, you would LOVE the native California Filaree, California macrophylla. Bigger leaves, bigger flowers, and they're white instead of pink.

    6. Oh, I was probably thinking about camera trap codger? Anywho, I'll check flickr mail (which I didn't even realize I had). =)

      Wow--that is SUPER cool re: C. macrophylla--I'll def. have to write that down & figure out where it is. Re: San Bruno, I feel like fate keeps yelling at me GO THERE! 'Cause last spr/sum/fall worked on a project that had a species near it that also occurred at San Bruno, and at a conf. recently talked to a biologist whose been there and she LOVES it. Sounds like an amazing ecological refuge.


Cool people write inside rectangles....