By Colette Inman Bauer
Mother Nature makes it look so easy. Most gardeners work year round to get and keep our yards looking great, or maybe good, or even just acceptable. But Mother Nature, with the help of some seeds, seasonal rain and sunshine, puts us all to shame.
I make this observation after taking a short drive along Shasta Boulevard and up to the east end of Third Avenue where a sign designates the area as the Dye Creek Preserve. This was a short little drive, not more than three miles from home. Everywhere I looked the beauty was mesmerizing. I first noticed the blanket of yellow stretching out toward the foothills. Various shades of yellow - wow. This great expanse of yellow is made up of billions of individual plants stretching as far as the eye can see.
As we got closer to the fields of yellow, I began to look more closely at the plants. There were my childhood favorites, Buttercups mixed in with the Scrambled Eggs. Around the edges of the vernal pools we saw clusters of white, which turned out to be Meadow Foam.
We got down and looked very closely and discovered the tiny violet flowers of the Filaree plant, and standing tall near the fence line were orange Fiddlenecks, bright blue Brodeia and the yellow, white and lavender Wild Turnip. We also were greeted by the bright cheery orange of the phenomenal Californian Golden Poppy. What beauty!.
Now for the reality check. All of these wildflowers last a very short time; depending on the amount of available moisture, the ambient temperature, the strength and direction of the wind as well as soil quality. With the exception of the Poppy, most last no longer than three weeks. As well as being short lived, several varieties are poisonous to cattle and people alike. And do not pick a Brodeia – the sap feels like fire when it contacts your skin. The cute little Filaree, which we knew as Four O’clock when we were kids, turns into a corkscrew sticker and the Wild Turnip tastes hot and bitter (the voice of experience).
Of course, all of these are reasons wild flowers return year after year allowing us to marvel at the amazing spectacle that Mother Nature provides. If you have not already seen this panorama, just take a short ride this time of year in almost any direction in the Northern Sacramento Valley. You will be amazed at the beauty that surrounds us.
You will also be amazed at the variety and quality of plants offered for sale by the Red Bluff Garden Club at our annual Plant Sale. The sale takes place on May 1, and will be located in the parking lot of the First United Methodist Church on David Avenue in Red Bluff. Come and choose some new additions to your landscape.
The Red Bluff Garden Club Inc. is a member of the Cascade District Garden Club, California Garden Clubs, Inc.; Pacific Region Garden Clubs, and National Garden Clubs, Inc.