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Author Topic: Robert's adventures in the Northern Sierra Nevada - California  (Read 16394 times)

Robert

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Re: Robert's adventures in the Northern Sierra Nevada - California
« Reply #15 on: September 11, 2014, 03:44:58 PM »
Will send some American plant pictures later Robert but here is an old slide picture of Sedum oreganum , a few Kniphofia and our cat

(Attachment Link)

Steve,

Interesting photograph. I missed the cat!  ;D
Robert Barnard
Sacramento & Placerville, Northern California, U.S.A.
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If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him stepto the music which he hears, however measured or far away.
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Robert

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Re: Robert's adventures in the Northern Sierra Nevada - California
« Reply #16 on: October 09, 2014, 01:32:25 AM »
Today I had time to do some scouting around for plants this coming season. Most seed is long gone and there is not much in the way of flowers, however it is a great time to be out in the bush.



Even though it is fall and everything is still dry and brown it is worth while to check new sites for plants I'm looking for in the coming season. In this case its Viola sheltonii. I would like to find some growing closer to the farm. This site is very promising - and right under my nose (i.e. a place I travel frequently).



I looked around the dry grass to see if I could find the dried remains of this Viola - not likely but I do it anyway.



Finding dried stems of Dichelostemma multiflorum was a good sign. Certain plants like to grow together in the same location. In other locations Dicentha uniflora often grows with V. sheltonii.



Around the rocks grow Goldback Ferns (Pityrogramma triangularis).



And Pellaea - there are 2 species in this area.
Robert Barnard
Sacramento & Placerville, Northern California, U.S.A.
All text and photos Robert Barnard

If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him stepto the music which he hears, however measured or far away.
- Henry David Thoreau

Robert

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Re: Robert's adventures in the Northern Sierra Nevada - California
« Reply #17 on: October 09, 2014, 01:53:11 AM »


Another site was this dry meadow. Along the rocky upper edge will be a good place to look this spring for Viola sheltonii. There are other Viola species in this area and the different species can and do cross with each other. Having several sites is a good idea if one wants to gather pure seed. An isolated colony generally provides true breeding seed.



At this site there had been some logging about 20 years ago. The Verbascum is a non-native weed. Even at this low elevation it takes nature much time to repair herself. There were a few seedling trees of various species - a good sign, however no forbes such as Iris hartwegii which is very common in this area.



As one travels through the forest one finds the trash left over from the logging, in this case a rusty old cable.



Even with the warm temperatures fall is making progress -  A Bigleaf Maple (Acer macrophyllum) turning color.



And this Blackberry.

And for me a good and productive outing!  ;)
Robert Barnard
Sacramento & Placerville, Northern California, U.S.A.
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If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him stepto the music which he hears, however measured or far away.
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Gerdk

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Re: Robert's adventures in the Northern Sierra Nevada - California
« Reply #18 on: October 09, 2014, 06:27:36 AM »
Another site was this dry meadow. Along the rocky upper edge will be a good place to look this spring for Viola sheltonii. There are other Viola species in this area and the different species can and do cross with each other. Having several sites is a good idea if one wants to gather pure seed. An isolated colony generally provides true breeding seed.

Robert,
Thank you! Your illustrative presentation tells clearly the requirements Viola sheltonii has. Which other viola species and which crosses do
you expect there?

Gerd
Gerd Knoche, Solingen
Germany

Robert

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Re: Robert's adventures in the Northern Sierra Nevada - California
« Reply #19 on: October 09, 2014, 04:06:04 PM »
Gerd,

I have found both Viola glabella and V. lobata in this general area - about a 1 km away. V. glabella always grows where there is moisture at all times. V. lobata generally grows on shady north facing slopes under tall conifers. The sites shown are all south facing slopes. V. purpurea could grow in this area, however I have never found it in this area. Also, I have not seen natural hybrids in this area either.

There is another site about 500 meters higher up the mountain where I think that V. sheltonii should grow. I will be checking this site as soon as I can - before it starts snowing. The area is call "Iron Mountain" - very rocky and open with south facing slopes. Photographs will show this. At this site the only other Viola is V. purpurea. V. purpurea does not like the southern slopes, so I don't think that there will be hybrids at this location.
Robert Barnard
Sacramento & Placerville, Northern California, U.S.A.
All text and photos Robert Barnard

If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him stepto the music which he hears, however measured or far away.
- Henry David Thoreau

Robert

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Re: Robert's adventures in the Northern Sierra Nevada - California
« Reply #20 on: October 15, 2014, 11:49:17 PM »
Another autumn cold front moved through today - 15 October. Rainfall was light and the snow level was very high, 9,000 ft. (2,740 meters). I had time in the afternoon to scout out more sites for next season.



By the time I made it to the Iron Mountain area it was still overcast but the rain had ended.



The first site I visited lower down the mountain was unproductive. The then moved higher to 5,830 ft. (1,770 meters) and found some promising remains of Calochortus leichtlinii and Allium campanulatum.

459509-2

They grew on this open north facing slope - a volcanic soil.



Some of other plants found in this area were:

Eriogonum nudum
E. umbellatum
E.wrightii
Penstemin laetus
P. newberryi
Robert Barnard
Sacramento & Placerville, Northern California, U.S.A.
All text and photos Robert Barnard

If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him stepto the music which he hears, however measured or far away.
- Henry David Thoreau

Robert

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Re: Robert's adventures in the Northern Sierra Nevada - California
« Reply #21 on: October 16, 2014, 12:09:24 AM »


Eriogonum wrightii was very common in this area.



On a steeper, more shaded slope...



I found dry remains of Viola purpurea.

I like Norman Weeden's handling of the species in A Sierra Nevada Flora as a "complex". The species has a wide elevation range in the Sierra and in my experience it hybridizes with the other native species fairly easily so there are times when violas are found that just do not key out. I this case, I was hoping to find V. sheltonii in pure stands - so maybe not such a good indication. However there is so much prime habitat in this area for V. sheltonii  I think that I'm on the right course.



From the second site I moved a little higher 6,000 ft. (1,830 meters).
Robert Barnard
Sacramento & Placerville, Northern California, U.S.A.
All text and photos Robert Barnard

If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him stepto the music which he hears, however measured or far away.
- Henry David Thoreau

Robert

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Re: Robert's adventures in the Northern Sierra Nevada - California
« Reply #22 on: October 16, 2014, 12:23:26 AM »
This was a good area, as there were a variety of habitats. Some similar to the second site others open but more forested. Somewhere in this area there will be a site of a seasonal spring or seep with not much competition from other vegetation - a good place to look for Viola sheltonii.



On this steep cliff face I found..



Epilobium canum still in bloom. I looked for seed and found none. It was a very windy day, I'm sure the white sails sent the seed across the whole mountains side. Late in the season there is generally little seed to find however I did find a tiny amount of seed on Penstemon laetus. It was very common in this area.

Time ran out and it was time to go. Until next time.
Robert Barnard
Sacramento & Placerville, Northern California, U.S.A.
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If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him stepto the music which he hears, however measured or far away.
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Robert

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Re: Robert's adventures in the Northern Sierra Nevada - California
« Reply #23 on: October 21, 2014, 02:23:12 AM »
Today, 20 October 2014, I traveled to the Bear Creek - Traverse Creek area not too far from the farm. The elevation at the creek is about 800 meters.



Some of the area is exposed serpentine rock with upland chaparral.



This is a nice view from the top of the ridge, about 100 meters above the creek below.



In certain areas Penstemon hetrophyllus is abundant. They do not look like much now - 3 years of drought and just the beginning of the rainy season. In the spring, when they are blooming, they are quite nice - some very nice i.e. good compact habit and many flowering stems.



This is the habitat where they grow - a mix of chaparral and Ponderosa Pine (Pinus ponderosa). A mixture of sun and shade, but mostly sun.
Robert Barnard
Sacramento & Placerville, Northern California, U.S.A.
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If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him stepto the music which he hears, however measured or far away.
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Robert

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Re: Robert's adventures in the Northern Sierra Nevada - California
« Reply #24 on: October 21, 2014, 02:42:44 AM »
Here is a sampling of some of the woody chaparral plants.



Buck brush - Ceanothus cuneatus. Yes, it is a browse plant for the deer. The stiff, almost spiny branches make it difficult for the deer to eat more than the tender new growth.



Toyon or Christmas berry - Heteromeles arbutifolia. In the wintertime the berries are bright red and look great against the bright green evergreen foliage. There is a yellow berried form too - it is rarely seen.



Leather Oak - Quercus durata. A shrubby scrub oak rarely getting over 3 meters tall. Commonly found on serpentine based soils.



Arctostaphylos viscida - White Leaf Manzanita. One of the most common chaparral plants. It blooms in the winter or very early spring with white to white flushed pink flowers. They turn on, like Christmas lights, in the early evening when there is a full moon. A very special site to see!



And the bark is very attractive too! Some plants can get 4 meters tall with twisted trunks like a giant bonsai.

There is more to be continued next time.
Robert Barnard
Sacramento & Placerville, Northern California, U.S.A.
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If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him stepto the music which he hears, however measured or far away.
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Yann

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Re: Robert's adventures in the Northern Sierra Nevada - California
« Reply #25 on: October 21, 2014, 07:28:36 AM »
It looks really dry.
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Tim Ingram

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Re: Robert's adventures in the Northern Sierra Nevada - California
« Reply #26 on: October 21, 2014, 07:34:59 AM »
Just wondering how we might grow some of these plants in our wetter cooler climate, and the answer - with difficulty! Even in dry sand beds many of the penstemons tend to die back; P. heterophyllus can be glorious and this makes you want to try a lot of other species too. I think a good bet would be a glasshouse like one at Glasnevin where the plants are protected but the central path is sunk several feet into the ground so that the beds on either side get irrigated from rainfall outside. Or just simply a greenhouse with open sides over the planting. The arctostaphylos and oaks are really fascinating and rather beautiful plants, so the greenhouse needs to be pretty big ;D. I've seen pictures of the Heteromeles - very attractive - but it is reckoned to be Zone 9 so just outside our climatic tolerance unless you live right on the coast. Curiously though we do grow Lyonothamnus floribundus asplenifolius (its about 30ft high now) so hardiness doesn't always go with the provenance of plants.
Dr. Timothy John Ingram. Nurseryman & gardener with strong interest in plants of Mediterranean-type climates and dryland alpines. Garden in Kent, UK. www.coptonash.plus.com

Robert

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Re: Robert's adventures in the Northern Sierra Nevada - California
« Reply #27 on: October 21, 2014, 02:19:10 PM »
It looks really dry.

Yes, Yann it is very dry! and hot during the summer, 40c is not uncommon in this area. The last 3 years have been especially dry. So far, we have been getting some of our "normal" rainfall but we are still below normal for this rainfall season, that started 1 July.
Robert Barnard
Sacramento & Placerville, Northern California, U.S.A.
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If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him stepto the music which he hears, however measured or far away.
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Robert

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Re: Robert's adventures in the Northern Sierra Nevada - California
« Reply #28 on: October 21, 2014, 02:36:59 PM »
Just wondering how we might grow some of these plants in our wetter cooler climate, and the answer - with difficulty! Even in dry sand beds many of the penstemons tend to die back; P. heterophyllus can be glorious and this makes you want to try a lot of other species too. I think a good bet would be a glasshouse like one at Glasnevin where the plants are protected but the central path is sunk several feet into the ground so that the beds on either side get irrigated from rainfall outside. Or just simply a greenhouse with open sides over the planting. The arctostaphylos and oaks are really fascinating and rather beautiful plants, so the greenhouse needs to be pretty big ;D. I've seen pictures of the Heteromeles - very attractive - but it is reckoned to be Zone 9 so just outside our climatic tolerance unless you live right on the coast. Curiously though we do grow Lyonothamnus floribundus asplenifolius (its about 30ft high now) so hardiness doesn't always go with the provenance of plants.

Tim,

You might be surprised by the adaptability of some of these species. Some can be quite tolerant of some summer moisture even in our heavy clay soil here at the farm. I can see how high summer time air humidity could be a factor too. Some of the species do poorly in the California fog belt along the coast, while others do fine. It all comes down to "trial and error". You might want to give some of these (and others) species a try from seed. I'll be more than happy to help you out in this regard. PM me if you are interested.

Also, Hetromeles is relatively cold hardy and tolerant of some summer moisture. The Traverse Creek area gets snow most winters. Low temperatures fall to -10c and sometimes as low as -15c. It also grows near the California coast so (some at least) it can take higher relative humidity during the summer.
Robert Barnard
Sacramento & Placerville, Northern California, U.S.A.
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If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him stepto the music which he hears, however measured or far away.
- Henry David Thoreau

David Nicholson

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Re: Robert's adventures in the Northern Sierra Nevada - California
« Reply #29 on: October 21, 2014, 03:37:02 PM »
Lovely and interesting set of pictures as usual Robert.

Tim , I've had some success in gritty soil in rock pockets with some of the smaller Penstemons, (P hirsutus var. pygmaea, P. virens and P. 'Six Hills' [P. davidsonii x P eriantherus] ) probably more by good luck than good management. I bought a seedling of P. richardsonii at last years South West AGS Show and that has done really well in the garden. I didn't read that it does best hanging over a rock when I planted it and as it grew I threaded the very lax stems through a tallish wire frame. Of course time will tell if it's going to come back again.

I'm resolved to try some of the others from seed in pots as they grow on with a very sandy mix as I'm sure my garden will be too 'claggy' for them.

David Nicholson
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