An Interlude: Oaks

In the incessant education/culture/philosophy stream that goes on around here: some pretty plant pictures:

Oak 3
A local Valley Oak, looking up
Oak 1
Ditto
Oak 2
Not a great photo, but here’s one that is probably a couple hundred years old. They can live up to 600 years or more, and get much larger than this. Characteristically, Valley Oaks are much wider than they are tall – a single large specimen can shade a good quarter acre or more.
Oak 5
Update: on my walk, saw a nice huge one alone in a field.

Valley Oaks are the largest variety(1) of oaks native to California. They grow mostly in the flatter, better watered areas, while a number of different varieties of smaller scrub oaks grow on the hillsides. Plus, people have introduced different non-native species – cork oaks grow well here, and you’ll see live oaks as well. Oaks are the characteristic trees for much of Northern California.

I find them beautiful all year long. In winter, their gnarled branches and the strength readily evident in their naked branches and trunk are nearly as lovely as the remarkable canopy they put on in summer.

I took these pictures maybe a week ago. Just yesterday, noticed the first green buds on a few oaks – spring has sprung. After a good six weeks of on and off rain, we’ve had a couple of sunny  weeks with temps in the 70s, so things have started to move. Especially for the non-native cherry trees:

Cherry 1

This is just an ornamental. Problem is, there are tons of commercial fruit trees around here, which have also most likely bloomed. It’s typical to get a few freezing nights well up into April. Hope our peaches, apricots, etc. make it through!

One last plant-related thing: spent a couple hours walking around the Ruth Bancroft Garden yesterday. Cthulhu put in an appearance:

Cthuhlu Plant
Or maybe it’s just Davy Jones from Pirates of the Caribbean?
  1. Seems, genetically, there are several varieties of native oaks around here that cross rather easily – hard to say where to draw the species/variety lines.
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Author: Joseph Moore

Enough with the smarty-pants Dante quote. Just some opinionated blogger dude.

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