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Author Topic: 2017 - Robert's botanical adventures in Northern California  (Read 93307 times)

Robert

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Re: 2017 - Robert's botanical adventures in Northern California
« Reply #810 on: December 28, 2017, 01:54:25 PM »
I will be leaving in a hour or so for today's outing. I will be traveling to Fleming Meadows in El Dorado County. I have been reviewing my old journal entries. The trend is very alarming. I have not logged Trillium albidum in El Dorado County since 1984! Entry after entry mentions habitat destruction as the cause of the lost of another population of one species after another. In 1978 I logged a whole hillside with scattered stands of Lilium humboldtii. Now I am aware of only two populations of Lilium humboldtii in El Dorado County. Part of my objective today will be to scout an area of Camp Creek for possible Lilium pardalinum x Lilium parvum hybrids and to see if I can find any trace of the tetraploid forms of Lilium pardalinum I logged in this area during the 1990's. There has been much habitat destruction since the 1990's in this area. Upstream where I had logged natural hybrids of Lilium pardalinum x Lilium parvum has been completely altered and the plants are long gone. I hope that I find promising indications today.
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.
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Hoy

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Re: 2017 - Robert's botanical adventures in Northern California
« Reply #811 on: December 28, 2017, 07:03:19 PM »
A sad story. Habitat destruction occur everywhere. I did see a lot of it when I visited Madagascar and I also see much of it at home. It is called development but is nothing but destruction.
Trond Hoy, gardening on the rainy west coast of Norway.

Robert

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Re: 2017 - Robert's botanical adventures in Northern California
« Reply #812 on: December 29, 2017, 02:26:57 PM »


I had an interesting outing yesterday to the Flemming Meadow - Camp Creek area of El Dorado County, California.

Due to the holidays, it may take me awhile to post this outing.
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

Hoy

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Re: 2017 - Robert's botanical adventures in Northern California
« Reply #813 on: December 30, 2017, 12:17:39 PM »
I shall waite . . . .
Trond Hoy, gardening on the rainy west coast of Norway.

Robert

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Re: 2017 - Robert's botanical adventures in Northern California
« Reply #814 on: December 30, 2017, 02:21:24 PM »
I shall waite . . . .

Hi Trond,

Right now I am bogged down with work. Starting on the 4th I will be looking after my mother in Placerville and working too. So it might be awhile until I get this report posted (i.e. sometime after the 4 January). It will all work out well.  :)

The outing did not turn out as I expected, however there were some great benefits that I will certainly explain.
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

Hoy

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Re: 2017 - Robert's botanical adventures in Northern California
« Reply #815 on: January 01, 2018, 05:12:40 PM »
Happy new year, Robert!

Hope your work also results in some benefits!

Trond Hoy, gardening on the rainy west coast of Norway.

GordonT

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Re: 2017 - Robert's botanical adventures in Northern California
« Reply #816 on: January 04, 2018, 07:45:37 PM »
Robert, I am definitely looking forward to your adventures this year. After a nearly green Christmas, we have had a never ending system of bay effect snowstorms coming from the continent, and temperatures that until yesterday did not rise above -12C. We are staying put as winter storm Grayson is about to pass over us. The advance snow and rain has lightened temporarily, but the worst is to be felt overnight. Our generator has been tested out in advance, and thankfully we were able to get the tractor to start again (it was cold enough here to cause some of the diesel to gel enough to starve the engine of fuel). Anti-gelling agent will help if we go back into the deep freeze.

I am glad to hear that your precipitation levels are running high, but have to think this won't be of much help once the summer heat returns. I remember water rationing in Vancouver BC, in spite of incessant rain over winter. How is the snow level in the Sierras? Vancouver simply didn't have enough reservoirs to store winter rainfall, and it relies on snowmelt to provide water through the summer.
Southwestern Nova Scotia,
Zone 6B or above , depending on the year.

Robert

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Re: 2017 - Robert's botanical adventures in Northern California
« Reply #817 on: January 05, 2018, 07:05:13 AM »
Hi Gordon,

I have finished my write-up of my last outing for 2017 and will be posting it very soon.

I am looking forward to the 2018 outing season too. I have very well defined goals and the creative potential is tremendous. It is certainly exciting times.

Sadly, we are back in a drought situation. There is very little snow pack in the Sierra Nevada and even rainfall totals are well below average to date. In addition, temperatures have been at record or near record levels for much of the autumn and the first part of the winter. I am going to be fine, however I am extremely concerned about the effects on the environment of global climate change and the extremely destructive land use practices throughout our region. My brother is a climate scientist and has been for decades. I have access to first hand information about what is really going on (sorry, no fake science here). In addition, I have been an eye witness to the wholesale destruction of vast areas of our local regional ecosystems. I first traveled into the mountains of El Dorado County in 1960, and since then have spent many summers and at times winters in this region. I started gathering information in the late 1970's and the legacy of destruction is discouraging. I may be one of the few people who has a memory of what things were like back in the late 1960's onward. Most folk in our area new comers from other parts of California or other states. I grew up with the "old timers" in our area, and I guess I am getting to be an old timer now too. Anyway, even these troubling conditions have their opportunities. I'll stay invisible and keep documenting what I see and leave the rest to G_d.
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: 2017 - Robert's botanical adventures in Northern California
« Reply #818 on: January 05, 2018, 02:52:44 PM »
FLEMMING MEADOWS – CAMP CREEK

El Dorado County, California

Thursday, 28 December 2017

Sacramento Weather
Weather: High Clouds
Temperature, High: 61 F, 16.1 C
                       Low: 36 F, 2.2 C
Precipitation: To date: 2.59 inches (65.8 mm)

Placerville Weather
Weather: High Clouds
Temperature, High: 63 F, 17.2 C
                       Low: 29 F, -1.7 C
Precipitation: To date: 8.07 inches (205 mm), Average to date: 11.73 inches (298 mm)




Dry and mild weather continued in Northern California during the last week of December. As I left Sacramento early Thursday morning (28 December) and drove into the foothills of the Sierra Nevada a temperature inversion had set in. This is a typical weather feature during the wintertime in this part of California. Cold air gets trapped in the Sacramento Valley and nighttime low temperatures, and even daytime high temperatures, are much cooler in the Valley than at 3,000 feet (914 meters). When I left our Sacramento home it was 36 F (2.2 C), however many foothill location were much warmer, generally in the mid 40’s F (mid 4.4’s C).

As an example, on 1 January 2018 the high temperature at the Placerville farm was 70 F (21.1 C), a new record high temperature for the date. The old record was 66 F (18.9 C) set in 2001. At our Sacramento home the high temperature was 64 F (17.8 C), a considerable spread in the high temperature given the difference in attitude.

Despite the unseasonably warm temperatures and excessively dry weather it was a beautiful day to be out. My goal this day was to do a reconnaissance of several sections of Camp Creek to determine the distribution of Lilium pardalinum in this area. In addition, I might find clues as to the possible influence of Lilium parvum along this section of Camp Creek. I set off from the trailhead, 3,821 feet (1,165 meters) in the direction of Camp Creek. The mixed oak (Quercus kelloggii) and pine (Pinus ponderosa) forest had a mixed understory of shrubbery. Arctostaphylos viscida ssp. viscida (pictured) was one of the dominant species of this understory.



In other areas the deciduous to semi-evergreen Ceanothus integerrimus var. macrothyrsus became the dominant understory species. The shared and alternating dominance of the two species is a common occurrence in the mid-elevations of the Sierra Nevada Mountains.



In some areas, firearm use is quite common. It is very sad, but there is a tremendous amount of irresponsible behavior among some firearm users.



Scenes like this are far too common.



Compounding the problem is alcohol usage while using firearms. The mess is bad enough, but irresponsible behavior does injure people. Every year there are reports of a drunken person who accidentally shoots themselves in the foot or leg. Generally innocence people hiking in the woods are not shot accidentally, however occasionally it does happen. There are strict laws concerning firearm usage and the laws are strictly enforced. Unfortunately, there are not enough funds to hire adequate numbers of law enforcement personnel. In addition, those that abuse their privilege to use firearms are very adept at evading law enforcement.
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: 2017 - Robert's botanical adventures in Northern California
« Reply #819 on: January 05, 2018, 02:55:51 PM »


Unfortunately my route to Camp Creek passed the “gun range”. For me, safely negotiating around irresponsible firearm users has been a long term deterrent that, more or less, ended my exploration of this area. On the positive side this day, once I was well beyond the “gun range”, nature prevailed and there were plenty of interesting things to see.



I logged about 20 species of lichen on this outing. Trumpet Lichen, Cladonia fimbriata, was one of the more interesting species.



There were many species of ferns in this area. The evergreen Wood Fern, Dryopteris arguta, was one of the more frequently seen species growing on the forest floor.



Bracken Ferns, Pteridium aquilinum var. pubescens, grows over an expansive attitude range in the Sierra Nevada. This time of year their dried fronds can be seen littering the forest floor. This species prefers shaded areas that have some degree of subterranean moisture during the summer.



Polypodium calirhiza enjoys shaded rock outcroppings that are bone dry during the summer.
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: 2017 - Robert's botanical adventures in Northern California
« Reply #820 on: January 05, 2018, 02:58:48 PM »


Polystichum imbricans ssp. curtum is another species that enjoys shaded rocky sites. The fine specimen was growing directly out of a tiny crevice in the metamorphic rock.



There was no trail to Camp Creek in this area, so I had to slowly pick my way down the steep forested canyon slope to the Creek, elevation 3,285 feet (1,001 meters). The temperature was quite mild on the canyon rim, 48 F (8.9 C). Naturally, the cold air drained to the bottom of the canyon where it was still a chilly 35 F (1.7 C) at 10:45 a.m.

We are once again experiencing drought conditions, so it was not surprising that water level of the creek was extremely low. With normal stream flows for this time of year I would not be able to explore this part of the creek. Thick stands of Poison Oak, Toxicodendron diversilobum, would prevent my progress!



In places there were large thickets of Western Azalea, Rhododendron occidentale. In this area the forest canopy was very thick and very little light reached the banks of the creek.



Due to the lack of sunlight, the Western Azaleas had set very few flower buds. I did find one set of seedpods.



One of my favorite Ericaceae species in this area is Red Huckleberry, Vaccinium parvifolium. The bare green stems are very attractive during the wintertime and the bright red fruit is a delight. I am pleased that it has been very easy to cultivate in our Sacramento garden.
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: 2017 - Robert's botanical adventures in Northern California
« Reply #821 on: January 05, 2018, 03:01:49 PM »


I did not have any problem finding Lilium pardalinum. I explored a good portion of the creek in this area but did not find any indications of Lilium pardalinum x Lilium parvum hybrids, as can be found farther upstream.

There were thousands of Ladybird Beetles. Hippodamia convergens swarm by the thousands in the autumn and are carried by the prevailing westerly winds into the mid-elevations of the Sierra Nevada. There they hibernate in dense clusters awaiting spring weather and their return to the Central Valley and other areas of California.



Along the creek large sheets of the bramble, Rubus leucodermis, grew in tangled mats. I needed to hike very slowly and carefully through these mats as they easily caught on my boots and they also camouflaged the uneven rocky terrain below their evergreen leaves.



The terrain along the creek was quite slick with moisture and the going was very slow at times. I was not finding what I was looking for so I decided to return to the canyon rim and explore another section of Camp Creek.

When I neared the top of the canyon it became apparent that the gun shooters had arrived and were blasting away with their guns. The only route back to the staging area was very close to the “shooting range” (if you want to call it that). I had few practical options so I preceded onward and safely pasted there activities.

I quickly arrived at the hub of several trails. It was a very active area with many hikers on this afternoon. Firearms are strictly forbidden in this area, and although “crowded” (maybe 5 to 10 people) from my perspective it would at least be safe.

Our weather has been so mild this winter. Even at this elevation and even higher on the mountain on Peavine Ridge, the Manzanitas, Acrostaphylos, are showing signs of blooming soon (pictured). This is much too early.



Now I set off in a different direction for another section of Camp Creek. Everywhere on this outing I saw a variety of fungi in growth. At this time, I only know a few by name. They are quite interesting and I look forward to a future date when I can devote time to their study.



Early in the afternoon, I arrived at another section of Camp Creek. I was a bit down stream from the other location. At 3,092 feet (942 meters), as expected, it was still quite chilly at the bottom of the canyon. It was 1:45 p.m. in the afternoon and it had warmed to 42 F (5.5 C). In a few exposed sites that were constantly in the shadow of the canyon walls there was still frost on the ground. At other locations where much more light entered the canyon during the summer months, Rhododendron occidentale was well budded.
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: 2017 - Robert's botanical adventures in Northern California
« Reply #822 on: January 05, 2018, 03:11:59 PM »


On the moist north facing slopes near the creek there were stands of Pacific Yew, Taxus brevifolia. It was too late in the season to see their bright red fruit, which looks fabulous set off against its deep green foliage.



In these perennially shaded sites, the rocks were densely and beautifully covered with mosses.



Sedum spathulifolium managed to coexist with the mosses. Many times, the mosses tend to over run any competing plants on the rocks, however in this case the Sedum and mosses appeared to be living together quite nicely.



The handing threads of Usnea scabrata on the bare branches of the deciduous trees created a ghostly ambiance to this site.



Once again I encountered the fascinating lichen, Porpidia crustulata, on this outing.
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: 2017 - Robert's botanical adventures in Northern California
« Reply #823 on: January 05, 2018, 03:14:55 PM »


Along this stretch of Camp Creek travel was much easier. Unfortunately, it was late in the day and I needed to return to the Outback before it became too dark.



I took one last look upstream, then set off up out of the canyon and back to the Outback.



Ranunculus occidentalis var. occidentalis is one of the early to emerge herbaceous species. If the warm mild weather continues they will be in bloom shortly.



At the canyon rim there are several clearing in the forest. Arctostaphlos viscida ssp. viscida, Ceanothus integerrimus var. macrothyrsus, Stipa sp. and Chamaebatia foliolosa have recolonized much of these clearings.



There are also hundreds of Iris hartwegii ssp. hartwegii growing in these clearings. The species is very beautiful and I hope to return in the spring when they are blooming.

Despite a number of disappointments this was another excellent outing. I failed to find indications of the lilies I was hoping to find, however I spotted a new prospective access point to an area where I have found the lilies in the past. The access point may work well providing there is no shooting in the area (maybe wishful thinking on my part).

Now it is 2018 and there are plenty of sites to visit and much to accomplish. I am finally getting preliminary results from previous outings and I hope share some of the results during the coming season. I am not the least bit intimidated by quantitative inheritance and I find “messy” crosses fascinating and stimulating to work with. For me, even in this seemingly mundane region of the Sierra Nevada, I perceive a large open road of creative potential ahead. From my perspective, there is a vast unknown and untapped genome within many, even common, species within “my patch” (El Dorado County - Crystal Range and Basin). There is a tremendous potential.

Now off for my next outing.

Until next time……..
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

ian mcdonald

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Re: 2017 - Robert's botanical adventures in Northern California
« Reply #824 on: January 05, 2018, 03:45:49 PM »
Robert, it is a pity that irresponsible people are dumping their rubbish in the countryside as in your pictures. This used to happen along a quiet lane in our village. The local authority go through the rubbish and if they find an address on correspondence they prosecute the offender. Also, a person who has land along the lane found an address among the papers that were dumped so he collected the rubbish and took it back to the person who dumped it. Shooters who leave their rubbish are irresponsible.

 


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