Tuesday, June 8, 2010

I love a good campfire.

Yeah, well, it's probably not the most environmentally sound, but I do like campfires. This may have been our last hurrah for a while as our schedules won't allow much camping this year. Too bad we forgot to bring along marshmallows; I don't like s'mores anymore but making tiki torches of flaming white fluff is very satisfying. This trip was extra nice considering we had the entire campground and most of the trails to ourselves during our stay... save for the talkative ranger who was totally charming, and yet, a bit weird to boot. It is after Memorial Day and the local schools are out for the year, so I wondered where everyone was. I would choose to camp here over Yosemite any day.

habitat ~ 06/08/10 ~ Harvey West Park

Harvey West Park
June 8, 2010

While waiting for Andy to finish a spendy "citizenship test" in Santa Cruz as part of his teaching certification program, I walked over to Harvey West Park and started a very hot, uphill trail that leads to Pogonip. It's a lovely area.

It's also an obviously popular gathering spot for numerous homeless. Just passing through the park to get to the trails, I could overhear conversations. There's a definite sense of community and shared understanding among these people who looked like they could use more than a decent shower with soap, a hot meal, and a comfy bed.

The only other time I've been to this park was to greet a friend's husband while he was passing through during an annual AIDS LifeCycle ride. Today's visit certainly felt different to me without the 3000 matching camping tents, several dozen rented moving vans, semi trucks with bathrooms and showers, gourmet catering pavilions to meet the specific desires of vegetarians and vegans, and numerous cycling support stations offering luxurious massages and top-notch medical care for the participants.

I'm utterly fascinated (and a bit sad and perplexed) by the unexpected similarities of needs and stark contrasts between these two "mobile" populations who use Harvey West Park, the local homeless and the local well-to-do who still ask for donations in the name of charity.

forget-me-not ~ 06/08/10 ~ Harvey West

best guess broadleaf forget-me-not
best guess Myosotis latifolia

There are 9 Myosotis records in Calflora with only one species being native. My second best guess would be the woodland forget-me-not (M. sylvatica). Both CalPhotos (linked in the common names) and Jepson were confusing to me (M. latifolia and M. sylvatica). I took my cue from Wikipedia which states the broadleaf forget-me-not can reach half a meter in height and has oval shaped leaves with larger ones at the base. This is native to northwestern Africa.

Himalayan blackberry
Rubus armeniacus


This blackberry seems to have an identity issue; it is also known as R. discolor and R. procerus. I don't understand the need to change scientific names like this. The flowers are very pretty.

lance leaf self heal
Prunella vulgaris var. lanceolata

This flower definitely caught my attention as I don't remember ever noticing it before. (it could be due to my poor memory or due to the fact this place is new for me). I've never heard of self heals until I looked it up. It reminded me a little of a stouter hedge nettle and figured it was in the mint family. The bumble bees seem to love this flower. I'm curious to know how it came by its common name.
English lawn daisy
Bellis perennis

Who hasn't seen these flowers? Or made flower chains while lolling in the grass as kids? I even took a picture of them in Rome. Funny thing is, I've never looked up the species before now.