I was pretty sure we were not going to find anything green or in flower. Oh, how I was I wrong! Days before heading out to the Wilderness, I kept saying to Kristen, "Oh, you're going to hate your life for saying you would go to the field with me. It's going to be SO HOT!" She kept saying that she was used to the heat. Mind you, she is from Seattle and this is her first summer living in Southern California. But she was right.
Kristen has been collecting seeds for the Seeds of Success program. The mission of the Seeds of Success program at Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden is to send interns and a project coordinator into the hottest of hot deserts in California, in the summer, to collect seeds for seed banking. Kristen is like your favorite pair of hiking boots. She adapted fast to the extreme weather of Southern California and she hasn't complained about anything.
We headed out early, hoping to get to the Kiavah Wilderenss before the heat turned on, but the temperature spiked into the high 80s before 8:00 a.m. By the time we reached Sage Canyon (my favorite canyon), it was already 101 at the lower elevations! We drove to the back of the canyon and the temperature dropped a couple of degrees, like two. I wanted to revisit the canyon bottom of Sage Canyon to see if some perennials were blooming. These plants have been teasing me since April. Not quite ready to bloom but would someday. As we geared up and started to hike down I kept thinking how terrible this collecting event was going to be. I was already jaded from my last trip out with Caitlin. We spent so much time on the ground and came out almost empty handed. Two weeks ago the plants were toast. But low and behold, to my surprise, the plants were on fire! Ok, not literally on fire, but blooming on fire. There were some interesting things flowering and the pollinators were going crazy.
|Nice large patch of Heliotropium and Asclepius|
|Beautiful Heliotropium sp. flowers|
|Tall stender and crazy Castilleja sp.|
|Kristen collecting Anemopsis californica, in full bloom|
|Does this look like it is 97 degrees?|
|Patch of Leymus triticoides to the right|
|Show stopper. Poppies!|
|Seven bags of plants, ready and waiting to be pressed|
|Kristin pulling up Marrubium vulgar|
All in all, it was another fabulous trip in the Kiavah Wilderenss, despite the heat, we got in and out and collected like bandits. For our hard earned work we went to Bernardino's restaurant for tacos and cold refreshing beverages (iced tea...mmmm...mmmmm).