On a visit home to the bay area to wish grandma a great 80th birthday as well as to give my blessings to my best friend’s soon-to-be little baby, I took a walk in the hills above Palo Alto with my sister and her two daughters. I had the great fortune to come across a plant in those rolling oak meadows that I love very much – California pitcher sage. It’s a tad stinky, on edge of fetid like clary sage can be, and it also has a rich balsamic sage scent that carries the overall essence towards the pleasurable.
It has a large, stature, with white bell like flowers on the ends of semi-herbaceous stems.
You can grow this amazing plant if you’re in the central California region- it’s easy to grow if you offer the conditions it loves – which include the gorgeous meadows edges along the hills encircling the bay area and likely beyond. Native Here Nursery offers plants for those of you in the East Bay – all their plants are propagated from locally collected seed, so each plant contributes to the overall genetic resilience of the species. A cousin, Lepichinia fragrans, occurs in Southern California.
I’ve never harvested it, as I’ve never found it in abundance – but the medicine I received from just a few minutes of inhaling its scent was all I needed to feel most blessed. Like its distant cousin white sage, it holds space for magic.
Learn about upcoming classes and current offerings ❤
Have you ever been fascinated by the alchemy of creating the perfect body cream? Join us as we demonstrate how to create a luscious rose water and shea body cream that nourishes the skin and delights the senses. All participants will take home a sample of the cream made in class.
Pre-registration through EventBrite offering sliding scale $10-$30. No one will be turned away for lack of sufficient funds.
Class takes place at The Herb Shoppe, at 3912 N. Mississippi Blvd.
Class tonight at The Herb Shoppe!
Powdered herbs are effective, inexpensive, and easy to use! Together, we’ll prepare a milky coconut ashwagandha beverage, a chai honey paste, and a tumeric ghee using powdered herbs. You’ll get to taste samples in class! This may be just the key to building a sustainable habit of taking your herbs every day.
We took a long, wet, wandering walk in the hills above the Mosier today, seeking what we wished would be epic fields of wildflowers. What a wonder we wound up in!
Beginning our ascent up the hills of basalt, serviceberry and maple blooms at our flanks.
Orobanche uniflora – a stunning patch of a this beautiful root parasite. Mark Turner writes they feed off of sedums, saxifrages, and species of the Aster family.
Collinsia grandiflora: Blue eyed Mary
Caryophyllaceae – Possibly a Silene?
With meadow as our classroom, we explored the basics of plant anatomy, botanical terminology, and plant ID.
Overlooking the Columbia river, with Castilleja (Indian Paintbrush), Balsamorrhiza careyana (Carey’s Balsamroot), Delphinium (Larkspur), Dodecatheon (Shooting Star), and Lomatium (lomatium) in the foreground.
Meadows of Ranunculus occidentalis (Western Buttercup)
While it appeared peak bloom was still to come, the diversity we saw was incredible.
Fritillaria affinis (Chocolate Lily) – one of my favorite lilies!
Dodecatheon (Shooting star)
Delphinium (Larkspur) and Claytonia perfoliata (Miner’s lettuce)
After lunching amongst the oaks, we climbed to the top of the hill to prepare our flower essence and connect with the balsam root flowers.
Fields of Balsamorrhiza caryana (Carey’s Balsamroot) just beginning to really start to bloom!
Such a blessing to spend time with other plant lovers eager to learn all they can with and about our plant family.
Amelanchier alnifolia (Serviceberry)
Serviceberry amongst the lava spires.