In Southern California we have a marine layer that tends to invade the Spring and Summer sunshine during the early part of the day titled May Grey and June Gloom. Although the weather has been generally odd, June Gloom has definitely arrived here in the woodland.
Along with the morning gloomies the showy white flowers of the Matilija (pronounced /məˈtɪlɨhɑː/ mə-til-i-hah) poppy in the garden are finally flowering! Although the bloom time is late compared to the other Matilija poppies in the local woodland, they are non the less quite spectacular. The flowers on these poppies are the largest of the family. A native to California and parts of Mexico they tend to prefer a warm, sunny spot. I planted mine in the mid section of the front slope where there is lots of room for the plant to spread. In the woodlands I’ve spotted clusters of these poppies in bloom in the hillsides on my way to Malibu and along the 405 just under the Getty. Seeing them all in a cluster is quite a show stopping spectacle, which I hope to facilitate here on our front slope amongst a variety of native sages and ceanothus.
California native gardening is similar to holistic bee keeping in that it requires a shift in consciousness from what we have been taught. In both activities one must suspend all preconceived ideas and delve into new territories of thought. Native plants, like the honey bees, require very little to survive. No chemical treatments or special handling is needed, just lots of patience and little to no assistance from humans.
A concept in alignment with native gardening and beekeeping is the slow food movement which comes out of Italy. Slow food ideology combines “ecology, gastronomy, ethics and pleasure.” This concept can also be applied to botanical perfume. A love of the land, ecology and the simple pleasure of the senses combine with a deep reverence for nature.
Photos: Roxana Villa and Eve Neuhart