Friday, October 26, 2012

Visiting Digging Dog

 I always try to make it out to the coast to attend the annual fall sale at Digging Dog Nursery in Albion-it's just as much about an escape to the coast as it is about buying plants. October is typically an ideal time to visit the Mendocino County coast..dry and sunny unlike the often cold, miserable, and foggy weather in summertime.  I lucked out in a big way on the weather  and spent a pleasant  3 days driving around taking photos, walking state park trails , and nursery crawling.

 At Digging Dog, the west facing borders show off the grasses .

 The vegetable garden area is a work in progress , and here the hornbeam pillars punctuate. The evolution of this section of the gardens has been fascinating to observe over the last few years. I wish I had taken more photos year !

 A lone hornbeam pillar across the drainage pond.

Grasses and seedheads are left to create fall interest . This garden (and any garden I have had the opportunity to see that was designed by Gary Ratway) is a splendid example of what beauty autumn provides here in NorCal. See another of Gary's gardens here, and here.

 A little non-gardening diversion, the walking trail at Mendocino headlands.

I took the scenic route adds another hour or two to the drive , but on a sunny October day with no obligations why not ?

Sunday, October 14, 2012

A Stroll Through the Pygmy Forest

 It has been a few years since I took the Pygmy Forest trail at one of our coastal California State Parks, and decided to do so on my long weekend trip; the trailhead was close to my cottage and I had a flexible schedule. 

 When approaching the Mendocino County Coast from the east some of the roads will take you through a belt of transitional forest-here the trees and other vegetation are noticeably smaller, the soil is thin  and grey, and there are no Redwoods. Within this belt is the Pygmy forest, where 100 year old Cypress trees that would soar 3 or 4 stories skyward along the coast highway are hardly recognizable as the same tree.
 The area is considered environmentally sensitive, thus the trail is boardwalk built above ground level.

 This is Pinus contorta bolanderi , the Bolander Pine, which is found only in the Pygmy Forest. They are quite small, most seemed to be in the 5' range, but are mature trees which bear cones.

  With no significant rainfall since May,the lichens and mosses are not at their peak.

 This is Manzanita nummilaria 'Fort Bragg Manzanita' which like the Bolander Pine is restricted to the soils of the Pygmy Forest. It's a very low ground hugging shrub, similar to M. uva-ursi.

  Our native Huckleberry is seen in many different environments; in the acidic soils  of the Pygmy forest they appear to do just fine.

 Spring is the best time to visit here, the native Rhododendrons that are 20 feet tall in other environments are at eye level here , and the mosses and lichens are at their best.