Spring Blooms on California’s Central Coast


Pink Flowering Current, Ribes sanquineum, Central CA Coast, Photo by Kathy Vilim

I wake to the sound of a toad, quietly bleating from the lagoon behind me, then ducks chime in, calling out noisily until toad is all but drowned out. The air smells of moisture from overnight rain. It smells clean from the ocean, and full of life from all the plants and animals here.  I am at my favorite campground on the Central California Coast. A wonderful respite from city life with its urban parks!

On my drive up here through Santa Barbara County, I saw wildflowers growing along the roadside and in the center strip.. for miles and miles.  Only March 5th, and wildflowers already.  The sky was gray and these colors jumped out with a cheery hello:  Yellow Mustard mostly, Purple Lupine, and a white flower with pinkish inside called Gaura.  Now the Gaura is not a native plant. Someone must have put seed out on purpose, there were too many plants to have simply escaped from a garden.  Gaura is a delicate white flower with a touch of pink inside, giving the effect, when passing in a car, of more pink than white.  Lovely, the three colors, Nature’s Bouquet!  This is one of the advantageous of travel by road trip: so much to see in between places.


Fuchsia Flowering Gooseberry, Ribes speciosum, Central CA Coast, Photo by Kathy Vilim

I walked to the grove where I had planted Mr. Tree.  Several Monarchs greeted me, orange wings against blue sky.  However I soon discovered that most of the monarchs had left their overwintering spot!  They were no longer hanging, clustered together in big clumps in the tall Eucalyptus trees.  They had gone, finding their way back home, wherever that may be.  I wish I could follow them and catch up with them.  Maybe they are on their way to your garden! That is, of course, if you live on the West Coast.  These West Coast Monarchs stay west of the Sierra Nevada foothills, never meeting their East Coast cousins, and they can go as far north as Vancouver.

Mr. Tree, I am happy to report is hanging in there, so far undisturbed.  His soil seemed dry, but he has a little new growth, so I think he will make it.  I bet he is happy this morning to get his feet wet with this rain.

The Native Plant Preserve here at the campground is full of things blooming for the beginning of Spring!  Sages, Willows, Gooseberry, Mtn Lilacs, CA poppies… I am sharing pictures of Spring with you from the Central California Coast.  Enjoy! And don’t worry.. Spring is right around the corner~


Purple Sage of Central CA Coast, Photo by Kathy Vilim

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  1. says

    Kathy, thanks for this “California dreamin” moment, as winter continues to hold on tight here in the northeast! So fun to hear that your western Monarchs are already finding their summer spots, and to revel in the idea of “miles and miles” of wildflowers” Beautiful!
    sue dingwell recently posted..The Colors of Winter

    • says

      Glad you enjoyed the post, Sue. The girls are off in search of Milkweed to lay their eggs as we speak. Kind of sad.. I miss watching them.. their spirit touches me. Guess I want to be up there flying, too. Thought you northeasterners would enjoy some spring flower photos!
      Kathy Vilim recently posted..Sycamores to the Rescue

  2. says

    I’m so happy to hear about Mr. Tree’s continuing adventure.

    Beautiful and encouraging photos, as we had a freeze this week, so my flowers all melted into mush. I noticed this week the seedlings of my gaura (angustifolia), which is native to FL have begun to wake up and show signs of life. Now that we had that freeze, I too can’t wait for spring.
    Loret recently posted..Mountains in Florida?

  3. says

    Hi Kathy, thanks for a great post and your lovely spring photos. I have heard very little about the west coast monarchs this year. I heard their numbers were down a couple months ago, but it was just a quick “blurb” and I haven’t heard anything since.

    Do any monarchs stay on the central coast or will they all move north and inland?
    Tony recently posted..Bringing Monarch Population Back From The Brink


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