Some of my favorite annual wildflowers are the gilias, and the whole genus is pretty much deer-proof. I like globe gilia (Gilia capitata) with its round heads of small blue flowers; these grow wild on Mt. Burdell. I haven’t seen bird’s-eye gilia (Gilia tricolor) in the wild in Marin, but I sure love it in my garden. It does fine in the ground or in containers, and the intricate coloring of the delicate flowers is a true marvel. Even more marvelous is the turquoise pollen!
The days are still warm and we’re all hoping, once again, that this will be an El Niño year with ample rainfall and a good snow pack in the Sierras. The days are noticeably shorter, and the evenings are much cooler. The shorter day length is a cue to many native plants and seeds that the season of growth in California is arriving; now we just need the rains!
For many Californians throughout the state, deer are the largest free-living animals they will commonly encounter; and for anyone with an affinity for the natural world, it’s an impressive thing to realize that these animals are self-sustaining, leading their own lives and needing nothing from us. But they are also are more than just beautiful creatures to admire; they are in many ways symbolic of a more calm, untroubled, and carefree life outside of the human hive of activities.
The Lycaenidae family of butterflies—blues, hairstreaks, coppers, and metalmarks, are usually small and very delicate looking, many of them brilliantly colored and some with very interesting life cycles. The apparent fragility of these tiny creatures earned the family the common name gossamer-winged but the vigor apparent in their life strategies belies this moniker.
Other Larval Host Plants
Painted lady larva will also feed on weedy thistles in the Cirsium and Silybum genera, as well as the dreaded Yellow Star Thistle (Centaurea solstitialis), and related cultivated plants like Artichoke and Cardoon. The larvae also feed on other members of the Aster/Sunflower family such as yarrows and sunflowers.
I’ve always had a fascination with fecundity; a desire to make more of something, especially when an abundance of possibilities is so obvious. Plants offer so many opportunities to be fruitful. Now, with plenty of space at our new nursery, and access to gardens full of ‘mother plants’, I can indulge my every urge to be prolific and productive!