The Earth Laughed in Flowers – Part 2

Spring is the most glorious season to spend time in nature. It was disappointing to have most of the trails close down at the end of April because of Coronavirus. Now that the nature trails are open again, I can once more express my gratitude for God’s awesome creation and give myself the immunity boost that nature provides.1

Beautiful Trails – Late April Through Mid-May

There was a nice showing of Chinese Houses along the Pentachaeta trail in, Triunfo Canyon Park, late April before the trail closures. The colorful blooms usually last through May.

One tiny Silver Puff stood out among green the grasses.

An abundance of Fiesta flowers covered small areas of the Pentachaeta Trail.

Field of Owls clover

Only a few specimens of Blue Eyed Grass were found but they were delightful.

Hiking down the trail, I discovered an arrangement of Seep Monkey Flowers and Miners Lettuce in a moist stream bed.

The birds of spring were singing joyful songs. I was seeing, smelling and hearing the symphony of nature. I turned my walk into a moving meditation by syncing my breath to the rhythm and tune nature was playing.

Tiny, fairylike Whispering Bells made a delicate ground cover and added a fairytale feeling to my experience.

Further up the trail, there were plenty of Fiddlenecks in groupings but I chose to photograph this single plant, getting lost in its detail.

A golden sprinkling of California Goldfields dotted the landscape like magical fairy dust.

Poppies were spreading out, stretching across the trailhead.

I found an unusual plant that I had never seen before, Bur Clover.

Miners Lettuce is edible and used as salad greens. It’s a good source of vitamin C.

I’m pretty sure this is Nakedstem Sunray, Enceliopsis Nudicaulis. It’s also known as Naked-stemmed Daisy.

There were just some of the beauties along the Pentachaeta trail. I also visited the Wendy trail.

THE SANTA MONICA MOUNTAINS NATIONAL RECREATION AREA, WENDY TRAIL

The Wendy trail in Newbury Park offered some colorful and stately Lupine flowers.

Purple robe made a lovely spring blanket of flowers.

The Wendy trail is a fairly easy one to walk. My Maltese enjoyed themselves.

The colors were so pretty on this variety of Vetch. Possibly Vicia Americana.

Wild Radish

Enhance the Functioning of Your Body’s Immune System

Keep enjoying nature and the sunshine for good immunity. The sun provides Vitamin D which is excellent for the immune system, so is Vitamin C. “Vitamin C is essential to stimulating the formation of antibodies, which help suppress an over-reactive inflammatory response. In layman’s term, vitamin C can help slow down how fast a virus reproduces and spreads.”2 Stay safe and stay healthy.

With a grateful heart, Linda

So we, Your people and sheep of Your pasture, Will give You thanks forever; We will show forth Your praise to all generations. – Psalm 79:13 NKJV

References:

  1. https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/09/150916162120.htm
  2. https://healthycontent.customizednutritionnewsletters.com/CSB/Public/archive.aspx?args=NDM1NDU3NDA%3d&acc=NzU4Mzgz

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Winter Wildflower Wonderland

California winters provide a surprising variety of colorful flowers growing wild in the hills. Hiking the Westlake Vista trail during February, I spotted these dainty pink shooting stars growing among the grasses.

The shooting star is very striking in groupings. It is a member of the primrose family. I’m pretty sure this variety is Primula clevelandi.

Tall and majestic these white bleeding heart or white ear drops (Ehrendorferia ochroleuca), made quite an impression against the backdrop of the mountains.

Heading up the trail, my companion and I stopped to admired the common stork’s bill or pinwheel (Eurodium cicutarium). It has a very pretty flower but it’s considered a weed. It is not an original California native plant.

The top of Westlake Vista trail overlooks the Westlake Reservoir. It was an exceptional beautiful clear morning.

Fringed linanthus – Linanthus dianthiflorus dotted the rocky soil.

California goldfields spread along the craggy flood plain near the reservoir.

One of the many varieties of Cryptantha perhaps Cryptantha clevelandi.

On the way down from the reservoir my friend and I chose a different path.

The flowers of the deerweed (Acmispon glaber) were lovely!

Purple Nightshade (Solanum xanti) wild flowers were abundant. Could also be Bluewitch Nightshade – Solanum umbelliferum. Both are deadly to humans.

The day was glorious! I was grateful to be able to share California’s beauty with my friend, Sandra, visiting from Germany.

We were excited to see so many varieties of winter wildflowers, like these purple owls clover – Castilleja exerta)

A once majestic burned oak, killed by the Woolsely fire.

Poppies, our beautiful state flower. Who knew February would be such a wildflower wonderland in Westlake Village!

With gratitude, Linda

He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end.” – Ecclesiastes 3:11

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Beauty From Ashes – Part 2

NATURES INCREDIBLE COMBACK

The worst fire in the history of the Santa Monica mountains left the landscape bare and black. Southern California lost 83% of cherished parkland and open space in the Woolsey fire. But perfectly timed rains were the ideal scenario for recovery. They revived the burned out wastelands and turned them into green colorful landscapes.

Fire helps seeds to germinate. This was one of the reasons an abundance of purple owls clover graced the Pentachaeta trail this Spring.

Golden fields of wildflowers carpeted the area adjacent to the Oak Forest community where over a dozen dwellings burned in the Woolsey fire.

The California Goldfields made hiking along the Pentachaeta trail magical.

When I returned to the trail later in May, wildflowers were still abounding, even after a couple of weeks of hot days.

The variety of different kinds wildflowers was amazing!

My sister and niece also get excited by nature’s artistry. Together, we witnessed the amazing transformation of the scorched hills.

FAREWELL TO SPRING

These late blooming Clarkia rubicunda are aptly called, Farewell To Spring!

The Pentachaeta trail shares a trailhead with the Westlake Vista trail. That trail also had some lovely late spring wildflowers.

I saw only one lone grouping of wild sunflowers.

Painted Lady butterflies made an impressive showing.

The fire burned over the top of the Westlake Vista trail into Three Springs Park in my neighborhood. Thankfully, the fire was stopped at the perimeter. The burned hills in the park, gave birth to a magnificent field of Phacelia grandiflora.

Tall and spectacular, these large-flowered Phacellia bloomed from May into June in Three Springs Park, Westlake Village.

I am grateful no homes were burned in my neighborhood. I’m also thankful for the rebirth of our open spaces after the horror of the November, California wildfires.

Have a blessed and joy-filled summer. ~ Linda

May the Lord bless you and protect you. May the Lord smile on you and be gracious to you. May the Lord show you His favor and give you His peace.– Numbers 6: 24-27 NLT

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Beauty From Ashes

– A Dance of Colors

Nature has provided a bounty of wildflowers from the burn scar areas of the devastating Woolsey fire. Stunning shades of purple blue dick’s and blue lupine flowers stretched out into the distance on the Cistern trail.

Only a heavenly gardener could have arranged such a lovely arrangement of lilies and lupines.

Amazing plate size Matilija poppies graced the trail trailhead as my friends and I started out on our Cistern to Lookout Trail hike..

Bold magenta lupine wildflowers and interesting rock formations added a degree of magic to an area that was only a few months ago black sticks and ash.

At the junction of Cistern and Lookout trail, vibrant poppies pointed to evidence of a tree charred by the Woolsey fire.

The fields in Agoura Hills were dazzling with color from early March and well into May. The red Indian warrior (or warrior’s plume) wildflowers were gorgeous!

Lookout Trail leads into Malibu Creek State Park, in the distance. It’s nice that this trail provides some shady areas.

Incredible fuchsia color Papaver. The center looks like a flower within a flower.

Pastel wild Catalina mariposa lilies adorned the trails in local Westlake Village and Agoura Hills trails from April into May.

In the midst of the wild lilies and mustard with my furry friends. The hills of Malibu are in the distance.

A stunning perspective of Malibu Creek from above.

My first time seeing these desert pin cushion wildflowers.

April’s fields of lupin blossoms, gave birth to thousands of painted lady butterflies in May.

“Behold, I make all things new.” – Revelation 21:5

My wish for you is that you will be refreshed by nature as I have been. May God bring you into deeper levels of inner renewal. If you are going through difficult circumstances or have experienced loss, I pray the promise of spring’s restoration of the barren, fire scorched hills, will bring you hope,

Blessings, Linda

 

“To all who mourn in Israel, he will give a crown of beauty for ashes, a joyous blessing instead of mourning, festive praise instead of despair. In their righteousness, they will be like great oaks that the Lord has planted for his own glory.” – Isaiah 61:3 NLT

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Abundant Spring

LET GRATITUDE BLOSSOM

Give gratitude your attention. Feel it’s light and energy. There are no limits to the greatness of gratitude.

When you practice gratitude, you create new pathways in your brain. It changes your perception. The more I appreciate, the more goodness comes to me. I am grateful for eyes that see natures beauty. What are you grateful for today?

Local Super Bloom

Spring is a beautiful time to explore natures bounty. I came across these amazing fields of wild poppies while out exploring the hills in my neighborhood.

The poppies were hiding in the trails adjacent to the Westlake Village Community Park. Just beyond the poppies, I discovered an area of delicate blue wildflowers spread out like a carpet. They danced in the breeze.

I was delighted and kept walking. Around the bend I found an additional surprise, large fields of wild Lupine. Butterflies were everywhere, flying in and out of the purple-blue flowers.

I could hardly believe my eyes. These hills were black a couple of months ago, burned down to the dirt by the Woolsey fire. The fire was the reason for so many wonderful wild blossoms.Tall stalks of mustard plants were growing along with the Lupine (lupin).

I’ve cooked wild mustard greens from the local hills with some onions, garlic, olive oil, salt and pepper. Mustard greens are delicious and a powerful superfood! They are full of the antioxidants, vitamin C and glutathione which boosts immunity and prevents cell damage. High in calcium and vitamin K, mustard greens can help avert osteoporosis. They have numerous other health benefits. Pick the tender new growth.

I was excited to bring my daughter and sister back to this spot on the weekend. They were thrilled with the dazzling display. We couldn’t resist posing with nature’s glory.

It was a perfect spring day. I’m so grateful we shared this time together. We found grace in our gratitude of this beautiful place.

“Nature does not, hurry yet everything is accomplished.”

– Lao Tzu

I enjoyed pausing for a moment to soak up the late afternoon sun and listen to the song birds.

As we continued on our hike, I noticed some of the Lupine I had seen on my first visit was plowed down during the week, to make the hiking trail wider, but it was still lovely. Lindsay and I sampled some of the peppery young leaves of the mustard plants as we walked ahead, ready to discover more of God’s artistry and beauty.

My home town, Westlake Village is in the distance. What’s in your community? Check out the AllTrails App for hiking ideas.

The richest person in the world is not the one with the most money but the one with the most gratitude.

Happy Spring! ~ Linda


“On the glorious splendor of your majesty, and on your wondrous works, I will meditate.” – Psalm 145:5 ESV

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Hiking China Flat

It was early evening on a hot day in May when I headed out with my two friends and two dogs to see the last of the wildflowers on the China Flat trail.

china-flat-deb-betsie

The hills were still green from the winter rains. The peach and pink mountains created a lovely backdrop for the green and silver scrub.

China-Flat-shades-of-green-and-pink

The hike started out with a gentile rise that gradually grew steeper. We would be going up to an elevation of 1,081 feet.

china-flat-vista

As we rounded the bend, the mountains gave us some much-needed shade. Mornings or early evenings are good times to hike this trail because it can get very hot.

china-flat-mountain-shade

We were starting to break a sweat from the climb; the shade felt good. My two Maltese were also very happy to cool down.

Maltese-on-the-trail

I wasn’t long before we were greeted by an oasis of yellow wildflowers, natures rock garden!

yellow-wild-flowers

As we traversed higher we began to get a good workout. Hiking is a great way to keep your heart healthy. My friends and I were beginning to see some amazing views of Oak Park.

oak-park

It was about here where one of my dogs put the brakes on and stopped to rest. After a few minutes, I picked him up and continued on.

Linda-China-Flat-hike

We came across some yellow-orange Monkey flowers. I paused to admire their natural beauty.

monkey-flower

Hiking in nature always refreshes my mind. The panorama was stunning up this high, looking over towards Agoura Hills!

Oak-Park-Vista

On the way down this lollipop shaped trail, we saw more wildflowers, like this pretty Wild Lilac.

wild-lilac

The hike up China Flat is 4.1 miles out and back. This trail in Oak Park, California, is a good one for beginners, if you go at a leisurely pace, and it offers lots of natural beauty to entertain your eyes along the way.

wildflowers-Oak-Park

Happy trails, Linda

 

For the Lord is a great God, and a great King above all gods. In his hand are the depths of the earth the heights of the mountains are his also. – Psalm 95: 3-4

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The Power of Flowers

This has been a season of helping others carry their burdens. I have a few family members going through some very stressful and hurtful situations. Some difficulties cannot be avoided or ignored. When you love someone you feel for them and you hurt with them.

Finding Beauty in Unexpected Places

One of the ways I like to restore my spirit is by walking or hiking in nature. The hills above my home in Westlake Village are a close retreat. When I started out on my hike my heart was heavy, unaware of the beautiful treasures I would soon find hidden in the chaparral.

California-wildflowers-golden_

Within minutes, I was dazzled by a burst of color. I had never seen this particular collection of wild flowers. They were much larger than any I had ever come across before, so vibrant and delightful!

California-wildflowers-golden-yellow_

Yellow California Wildflowers – Sticky Monkey Flower

“Earth laughs in flowers.” ~Ralph Waldo Emerson

Wellness Through Flowers 

Nature provides us with a simple way to improve emotional health. Flowers trigger happy emotions, heighten feelings of life satisfaction and increase positive social behavior, according to a study at Rutgers University.” What’s most exciting about this study is that it challenges established scientific beliefs about how people can manage their day-to-day moods in a healthy and natural way,” said Jeannette Haviland-Jones, Ph.D., Professor of Psychology at Rutgers and lead researcher on the study.

The study also found particular benefits for seniors. There was a marked decrease in depression for older adults who received flowers. “Seniors performed higher on everyday memory tasks and experienced enriched personal memories in the presence of flowers.”¹

wildflowers-purple 2

Another group of wildflowers I saw that day was such a lovely orchid purple color, I could hardly believe my eyes. Southern California is in a drought and these beauties sprang up without any man-made cultivation. Incredible! They were perfection.

wildflowers-purple-California

Purple California Wildflowers – Chinese Houses

 

Consider How the Wild Flowers Grow

Does God speak through flowers? I think so.  As I moved in closer to more fully experience their fragrance, Jesus’ words came to my mind.

“Consider how the wild flowers grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you, not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today, and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, how much more will he clothe you—you of little faith! And do not set your heart on what you will eat or drink; do not worry about it. For the pagan world runs after all such things, and your Father knows that you need them. But seek his kingdom, and these things will be given to you as well.” ~­ Luke 12: 27-31

These verses spoke to my heart, refreshed my soul and renewed my mind.

A Sweet Blessing

“Flowers are the sweetest things God ever made, and forgot to put a soul into.” ~ Henry Beecher, Life Thoughts

Mothers are the sweetest beings God ever made and put a soul into.

I was blessed with a visit from my mom from Pennsylvania,. I am very grateful for those rare and precious moments shared with my mom.

Linda-Mom_

May the garden of your heart be filled with flowers.

Many Blessing, Linda

~~~~~~~

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Footnote:

  1. http://aboutflowers.com/health-benefits-a-research/flowers-a-seniors-study.html