It started as an unconscious activity and has become a conscious game I play whenever I’m in a car. I try to name all the flowers and plants I recognize on the roadsides. I’m not scientific – common names are all I’m looking for. It’s a way to acknowledge all the truly scrappy plants that survive in rigorous conditions: drought, exhaust fumes, road dust, hot direct sun with reflected pavement, punishing rains, and one long fight for resources with the other plants trying to scrabble a living on the roadside too.
Centranthus ruber. Red valerian. Jupiter’s Beard. I consistently try to call this flower verbena. It’s driving me nuts. So perhaps if I repeat it’s different names enough times right now I will remember it next time. Valerian. Red Valerian. See it on the roadside? I love having this in my garden. I also see forsythia and fennel here.
All of these pictures were taken between Sausalito and San Francisco this past weekend. The most stunning of all the flowers I spotted were these larger than human sized lupines.
I would very much like to know what that darker yellow flower is near the top of the picture. My guess is either some kind of toadflax or mimulus. Anyone have a different guess? I wish I could go back to this exact spot, stop the car, and go take a close up picture.
Here is a complete list of all the flowers (and herbs) I spotted on this trip to San Francisco: fennel, picnicking hobos, giant lupines, bottlebrush, California poppies, forsythia, wallflowers, cala lillies, ice plants, trash, red valerian, small pale yellow lupines, small purple lupines, Queen Anne’s lace, and vetch.