Thứ Sáu, Tháng Sáu 2, 2023
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In Southern California, all things bloom at once

There is always something growing inside the gated courtyard of LA Catholic Worker Hospitality KitchenSkid Row food distribution center better known as “Hippie Kitchen.”

But this spring has provided supercharged energy to the yard plants and lush greenery, providing shade and shelter to the hundreds of neighborhood residents who come to dine three times a week at the kitchen.

“This tree is here — I’ve never seen so many flowers on it,” surprised organizer Matt Harper, pointing to the berry-like flowers on a lily.

bright red explosion of confetti bubbling over the kitchen gate and the brick walls of the vacant lot next door. The Indian coral tree Fire-colored flowers stand out against the background of green leaves. there is even Lily blooms from a patch of soil that everyone in the kitchen thinks is barren.

confetti in "Hippie kitchen" garden on Skid Row.

Bouquets in the garden of the LA Catholic Worker Hospitality Kitchen on Skid Row in Los Angeles.

(Francine Orr/Los Angeles Times)

“We used to have all kinds of pretty flowers here, and then they all died,” Harper said, looking down at the flower in surprise. “But with all this rain, you realize – the light bulb is there. They are just waiting to bloom. Nature will take care of itself.”

Things are growing simultaneously everywhere in Southern California.

Lush greenery in city parks, mustard flowers brightening the hillsides, unexpected flowers blooming from well-manicured gardens and cracks in the sidewalks – all All thanks to the ideal balance between rainfall and temperature that has catalyzed plant growth across the state.

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The other things 31 atmospheric rivers provides stable, nutritious rainfall from October to March. regional temperature still just right at the same time, there weren’t any sudden early spring heatwaves that killed the weak young trees.

The combination of those two factors has created “an absolutely brilliant spring,” a spring that has been in vibrant colors longer than any spring in recent memory, says. Jeremy Yodera Cal State Northridge biologist.

Flowers bloom at Redondo beach.

Carpobrotus chilensis, left, is a succulent plant known as a sea fig in Redondo Beach. A bee, right, lands on Pride of Madeira near a boardwalk in Redondo Beach.

(Francine Orr/Los Angeles Times)

Roses have thorns, and this wonderful flower has thorns too. All Plants are thriving in these conditions, from native wildflowers to invasive weeds.

Developments have highlighted truths about our ecosystems that are easier to overlook in drier years: Climate change has altered bloom schedules, non-native plant species The landscape has changed, and many seemingly deserted fields are in fact beds of dormant life waiting for life. right time to bloom.

There is so much to appreciate about the developments all around us. There’s a lot to learn from it, too.

Even before industrialization and climate change Rainfall in Southern California varies significantly from year to year, due to human-caused greenhouse gas emissions, Yoder said. As a result, the area’s native wildflowers have evolved to withstand periods of drought.

An oriental red bud tree in front of a purple wall in South Los Angeles.

An oriental red bud tree in front of a purple wall in South Los Angeles.

(Francine Orr/Los Angeles Times)

For a native annual like our state flower, california poppies“Their entire life cycle is based on rapid flowering, seed production, and the placement of those seeds in what we call a seed bank in the soil,” he said. “They can hang out there until the next good year,” be it next season or next decade. “Then they get a good rain and a cold winter to prepare them for, and they go crazy.”

During periods of prolonged drought like we’ve experienced over the past few years, many annual plants will only allow some of their seeds to flower. It’s an evolutionary strategy that allows plants to play the long game: Some seeds from the bank are supposed to flower and drop more seeds, while the rest continue to enter the seedling stage. hurt until the conditions are more promising.

A bountiful year like this one is both a visual feast and a deposit for future blooms. Today’s wildflowers will add to a seed bank that can last for years in the soil until the right conditions arise – as long as no one plows them up to build a big box store or make parking lot.

Bougainvillea on Vicente Fernández Street near 1st Street in Boyle Heights.

Bouquet of bougainvillea on a wall along Vicente Fernández Street near 1st Street in Boyle Heights.

(Francine Orr/Los Angeles Times)

“You can go for a walk and at your feet are millions of seeds in the seed bank. The potential for beauty in a landscape that is essentially barren in a bad year is amazing,” he said. Nick Jensenconservation program director California Native Plant Society. “It was like the best thing ever. It still blows in my mind, that that potential is there.

If you don’t take anything away from the awesomeness of this season, let it be: Don’t confuse a hillside or arid brown field with a lifeless wasteland. It could be a wildflower garden just waiting for the right time to bloom.

The potential for beauty in a landscape that is essentially barren in a bad year is amazing.

— Nick Jensen, California Native Plant Society

The opposite is also true. A brightly colored hillside does not necessarily indicate a healthy, thriving ecosystem in the workplace.

The green grass is brilliant at the foot of the hill, the fuchsia blooms in the bushes coastal ice factorythe yellow flowers of black mustard: None of which are native to Southern California. A lot of them are also invasive, powerful (root?) resources that stay away from more beneficial native plants and disrupt ecosystem harmony.

This is not a recent development. The grasses that turn the hills green after a wet winter were brought here by the Spaniards in the early 18th century as fodder for livestock. Black mustard came around the same time, being grown – by some accounts – along El Camino Real in the order of Spanish missionary those who want to highlight their path with gold.

“It was the colonization of this land that took 300 years, from both the natives and the native plants,” said Wise Jasonan environmental educator in Los Angeles.

The result is a landscape that can be aesthetically pleasing from some angles, but that is basically inelastic before climate change.

The native trees of Southern California have evolved to be more resistant to fire. Tongva, Tataviam, Chumash and other indigenous peoples who inhabited this land understood that fact and put it into practice to manage their land through controlled burning to eliminate excess development. excess and catalyze seed release.

In contrast, many invasive species readily ignite in the presence of an unexpected source of fire — be it lightning, a cigarette butt or a downed power line — and can quickly ignite into a fire. Wildfires out of control. Land managers and conservationists are worried that will happen this summer when those black mustard bushes wither.

“Whenever the season turns to drier conditions and the vegetation is no longer green, that’s going to be a bigger source of fuel for combustion,” says Yoder.

Crown chrysanthemums bloom inside hedges in freshly cut fields.

Crown chrysanthemums, or Glebionis coronaria, grow inside hedges in a freshly cut field in Redondo Beach.

(Francine Orr/Los Angeles Times)

Many things can be true at the same time. There is a complicated story behind many of this spring’s vibrant flowers. However, they still capture our attention and lift our spirits because they’re beautiful — and there’s a lot to be said for the ability to appreciate beauty in life wherever it is. flag found.

Not everyone has the chance to drive to one of the few protected wildflower areas and see native plants in all their splendor. There are many places in Southern California where flowering weeds and ornamental shrubs spilling over highway retaining walls are among the most accessible plants around. The sense of joy they evoke is still valid.

When Wise takes groups of kids hiking in nature and they see trees taller than them, they don’t bother to ask if they’re invasive before squealing with joy. Wise says he tries not to break that sense of surprise. Instead, he relies on it.

“I would say, ‘Yes, it’s amazing how big they are. All the rain makes them big! This is where this plant comes from. And do we see what it’s doing to the other trees around it? Those also have some pretty flowers, but they’re in the shade now. What do you think that tree thinks?’” he said. “Just give it more thought, some extra layers, without being like, ‘No, that’s bad, don’t like that flower.’ It’s the nuance of a real-life conversation.”

The flowers of this season may leave behind the seeds of future flowers. Long after they are gone, they may inspire a new desire to preserve the land’s ability to surprise and delight us the way it has this year. What a legacy that would be.

“The seed bank is a really, very precious thing, even though it is inherently a mystery. All the seeds of all the beautiful flowers we see are there, and no one can tell,” said the botanist. Lucinda McDadeDirector of California Botanical Garden in Claremont. “Plants are amazing, I’m telling you.”

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