Super-Blooms and Valley Views

I worked for nearly two weeks without a break, then traveled for an overnight trip to see my son receive an award. In between, I’ve been helping an unhoused woman with a health crisis. Yesterday, I could barely stay awake. So I’m re-evaluating the work-life balance once again to regain some energy.

Part of the plan is to spend at least one day a week out in nature, exploring new places and revisiting favorites.

Horses in the foreground as seen from the iris garden and a view of the South bay.

Today we toured Nola’s Iris Garden, part of Prevost Ranch just twenty minutes away. It was a feast for the eyes. My friend Elizabeth boards her horse in the stable adjacent to the gardens. She’s been encouraging me to go. The iris bloom was late this year due to heavy rains, but they’re up now and gorgeous. Nola has over 600 varieties planted along terraces at the top and bottom of a gently sloping hill. The views are also spectacular, and the recent rains have turned the hillside a lush green.

We spoke briefly to Nola and commented that we had met her cat. She said she takes care of twenty cats, most of them feral and mentioned that one of them had kittens. Later, as we rounded a corner near the lower garden, one of the visitors gushed over the just-discovered kitten. I’d never seen a male cat standing guard like that, but he was a proud and handsome papa, dangling a paw through the slats playing with the kitten below. The gardens were crowded today, so hopefully mama was just shy and hiding nearby.

Proud Papa cat…or so they said
One of the kittens cozy but looking scared under the wood planks

Our next stop offered even more views at a lookout spot on the hill. We spotted California poppies, sky lupine, and wild mustard on our drive. Swaths of the distant hills seemed to sport a reddish color, but I couldn’t tell if it was aging foliage or a bloom of small red flowers.

A super bloom is a rare and well-timed act of nature that causes short bouts of wildflower blooms all at once in a particular area. “These rare and unpredictable wildflower blooms occur when high precipitation levels in natural landscape areas are combined with a years-long drought,” according to California State Parks. Drought conditions eliminate grass and weeds that typically take over the fields, making way for blooms to take their place instead.
Sky lupine
Wild mustard

Yesterday’s rain created a clear view of Silicon Valley. Our house is down there, a sea of development viewed from an oasis of calm.

With Mike enjoying the day

I needed this refreshing day.

22 thoughts on “Super-Blooms and Valley Views

  1. It looks lovely there Alys, and so near to you! You really should go more often! The irises are really pretty too. So you didn’t go home with a new kitten then…. 😉


  2. Wow!! What a difference all that rain has made in CA. I think you know we lived in Lompoc for 5 years. I loved every minute. These are gorgeous photos. Especially the one of you and Mike. Take more time for you dear. Thanks for sharing.


  3. A wonderful venturing out, and so nice of you to share with us. I hope you’ve recharged your batteries. Also, glad to see that shared parenting is becoming more of a thing in the feline world (love the proud papa puss!)


  4. What a fun day. I’d probably still be there looking for kittens. Could you smell the ocean in the breeze? The landscape looks so nice and green in the spring. Things are just starting to pop up here, I normally see my Iris bloom in mid to late June. Maybe earlier this year. Enjoy your weekly reprieve! 💗


  5. I do envy you the iris garden, they’re among my favourite flowers. Do take care of yourself, Alys, over-extending past your strength isn’t good for you, no matter how urgent the need seems.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Glad you got away to see this historic Superbloom, Alys. From what I read and see in the news, it is spectacular. Wish I could have seen it in person, but photos must suffice. 🙂


  7. That view with the cat and kitten as a bonus, is enough to recharge the most drained of batteries. Glad you took the time to do that with all you have had on your plate lately. I put myself to bed early tonight to read a bit and slip into slumber as gently as possible. I’ll keep in touch. Early morning appt thanks to a cancellation. 🙂 Keep taking care of you. Too many need you not to be 100%. Hugs. M

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Beautiful views, stunning iris blooms, gorgeous wildflowers, a lovely husband – and kittens! The perfect pick me up. More uplifting days like this in your life are a must. Take care of yourself x

    Liked by 1 person

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