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.