Hillside walk, 05 August 2016
Most native species on the hillside probably have blooming seasons depending temperature and rainfall cycles. The dryness of the current season is highly evident. However, after seeing a large dropoff in blooming species in recent weeks, this week brings the surprise of a modest upsurge in the count. It's still a small count, having increased from 6 to 8, but it seems out of character as there has been no rain. Perhaps the significant factor is the generally lower temperature of the past few weeks, typically in the low 90s or high 80s Fahrenheit, coupled with relative humidity often more than 50%.
Even so, it was a surprise to find flowers of plants that had seemingly long past their flowering period. In all cases the amount of flowers is small, just a remnant, but it is there. Included are the bush monkeyflower (Diplacus longiflorus), telegraph weed (Heterotheca grandiflora), and toyon (Heteromeles arbutifolia).
This is in contrast to other plants that bloom on a cycle that I've been unable to determine. For example, cliff aster (Malacothrix saxatilis var. tenuifolia) flowers come and go. Last week the north hillside had a grand display of this species. This week, when it is cooler, these plants are largely withered and the flowers less vibrant.