A splash of pink caught my eye as Rick and I drove down Highway One along Salt Point State Park. It's always exciting to see the first Wild Rhododendrons begin to bloom. Pacific Coast Rhododendron, Rhododendron macrophyllum, is their proper name. We have some bushes on our property in Anchor Bay and consider ourselves fortunate.
Wild Rhodies are found from British Columbia down to Monterey County in California. They are the state flower of Washington State. May is when they bloom so they are right on time this year.
Rick and I saw the first Wild Rhododendron flowers blooming along Highway One in Salt Point State Park on Wednesday. The beautiful pink blossoms are always a treat to see. And the first Wild Azaleas have bloomed. Robert Scarola photographed a early bloomer.
Just the two blossoms are open but aren't they lovely? So much more loveliness is to come as these beauties will continue to bloom in the weeks ahead. Thanks to Robert for allowing me to share his photo with you here.
While Foxglove isn't a native plant - it is native to Europe - it seems at home on the Mendonoma Coast. It blooms at the same time as our native Wild Rhododendrons and Azaleas and is a member of the Figwort family. It's Latin name is Digitalis, which means finger-like. Its blossoms are the perfect size for putting one's finger inside. It has a well-known medicinal use, which strengthens and regulates the beating of the heart. The plant itself is poisonous so don't eat it, just enjoy looking at its beauty!
The Wild Rhododendrons - and the Wild Azaleas too - are just magnificent this spring on the Mendonoma Coast. Rick and I have never seen so many blossoms as we have been seeing this year. They are obviously loving all the late rains we been having. Their loveliness is our reward for having such a damp spring. Splashes of pink adorn the edges of the forest. Life is good.
The late rains have given the Mendonoma Coast a fantastic wildflower season. Wild rhododendrons and azaleas continue to bloom in abundance though today's wind won't be kind to them. Salt Point State Park is in Sonoma County is one of my favorite parks. It spans many miles on both sides of Highway One. (Note to our elected leaders: To have this or any state park closed is a travesty.) John Sperry kindly allowed me to share his photo of the wildflowers now blooming on the bluffs.