January 2007 Los Feliz Ledger Column: A Plant Lover's Dream Vacation
Shots above from Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park
Destination: Big Sur, two weeks before Christmas.
Heading north on Highway 1, stresses of city life fade as the views start to seriously wow while passing through San Simeon. In addition to revealing breathtaking cliffs, undulating mountains and the ocean’s impressive foamy caps and crashing waves, the first few major twists and turns of the road yielded some of the most beautiful, diverse and plentiful native plant life: California fuchsia, red buckwheat, toyon, California wild lilac, California sagebrush and more.
Sights for sore eyes to feast on.
Toyon is at its best this time of the year. Plump red berries are seemingly lit from within and placed in perfectly festive positions.
California fuchsia’s last blooms are still showy enough to woo hummingbirds and humans.
Climbing the coastal hillsides are myriad California wild lilacs covered in tiny buds that’ll soon be abuzz with bees clamoring for nectar from flowers in a range of cool blue hues.
California sagebrush is scattered about the road’s edge. Most wouldn’t think much of it but accidentally bump into its thin, soft, pale grey-green leaves and the scent will bring you back for more.
These were just the “appetizers.” The main course – majestic towers of coast redwoods with squishy soft bark and miniscule cones, stately stands of oaks, big leaf maples shedding golden foliage, herbal California bay trees, humbly simple and statuesque coffeeberry, coy bells of manzanita flowers gracing artfully twisted branches and dainty carpets of redwood sorrel dotting creek banks – awaited and captivated us in Big Sur.
After a few days of many meals amongst the lush native flora, time spent closely inspecting sand-dwelling plants in a hidden seaside cove, hikes through the dense, welcoming forests and hours of mindlessly marveling at Mother’s Nature’s landscape architecture, all cares seem to be forgotten.
What a way to celebrate the holidays and get ready to start a new year!