Observing Nature – Steelhead Beach Park

IMG_3116adjIt’s amazing what you see when you really take time to look. We went a little astray from the garden this time and wandered along a forest path in Steelhead Beach Park along the Russian River in Sonoma County.

It’s worth a trip for a nice flat walk and just look what you’ll see if you stop and look around along the way!

It’s a breeding ground for the swallowtail butterflies.   They make their cocoons on the pipe vine which is found right at the entrance to the trail just past the parking lot. Since they love the blossoms on the wild radish plant they congregate right where they’re “born” and you can see lots of them all together!

IMG_3113adj IMG_3110adj - CopyLittle curly tendrils attach themselves to one plant and then another and are fun to look for as you walk along:

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Wild roses peek out here and there and bees abound on the blackberry blossoms:

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Lemon balm grows along the path and sweetens the air while poison Hemlock looks lacy and beautiful though deadly…

IMG_6600adj IMG_6609adjEvery time I hike in a place that has a garden like quality I want to go home and make a little “wild” garden patch somewhere in my yard…minus the Hemlock of course! So, while the garden is practically growing itself this summer go take a hike and discover some new wild plants to enjoy! (Just a note: Lemon Balm is beautiful and smells great but it can be invasive so maybe try it in a pot!)

Maybe you’ll come home and plant a Butterfly garden! Along with a shallow water filled saucer they are attracted by zinnias, yarrow, asters, foxglove, sunflowers, lupine, just to name a few. If it’s too late to plant where you live you can always starting drawing up plans for next year…happy gardening!

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