This is a post I’d been meaning to write since week one. See I even have a lonely little category tag called “resources”, a few internet moths flew out when I clicked on it. Well I’m aimin’ to rectify the situation posthaste. Over the next few weeks I will provide you with all of the books, websites and local venues that I used to go from clueless newbie to slightly dangerous amateur. Let’s start with the interweb, it’s free and right in front of you, who doesn’t love instant gratification.
The Good: It covers pretty much all of Southern California’s flowers. Pages on pronunciation, a dictionary of botanical terms. Organized by common, Latin and family names
Caveat: Almost too much information, especially if you are just looking for local Ojai stuff. San Diego is only 3 hours away but botanically it can make your job a lot harder if you are trying to ID a plant. There are no less than 30 lupines for example. Pics are great sometimes, but often there is only one.
Bonus: A cool link with the definitions and derivations of all the Latin names. Trail specific pictures, some local
The Good: More focused on local plants, Santa Monica Mountains are quite similar to our ranges. At least 5 pics per species, often with seed photos as well. Links to the UCLA site on each page, if you want to get really down and dirty with the botanical details.
Caveat: Nothing stands out as “bad”, this is overall my favorite site for ID purposes. Pictures aren’t great sometimes but it’s not easy to photograph busy stuff like grass. They are trying to keep up with all the name and family changes, so many things are double listed. This gets confusing if you are scrolling through a family one by one and all of a sudden you are in a totally different family.
Bonus: The flower finder of course. Put in your details and it will spit out the possibilities. It’s not perfect but a nice tool. Separate sections for grasses and ferns.
The Good: Great for the native home gardener. All the hybrids you’d find in a nursery plus a bunch you’ve never heard of. Usually a few decent pictures for each plant. Good garden focused advice for each plant.
Caveat: Las Pilitas is a retail nursery hours from us. The planting advice is not always appropriate for our climate, especially coastal growers. No scientific info to link to.
Bonus: Tons of great articles related to gardening, how to take flower pictures, build a bird bath, attract butterflies. Well written, tongue always in cheek, Rambler style for sure
The Good: David Magney’s site, for the completist. If it exists in our county it’s on one of these lists. Going out on a particular trail, print out the checklist and mark them off as you hike. Lots of great scientific info, links
Caveat: Not many pictures on this site (though he has many on others). Would love a search engine where you can enter a plant, find out what trails it is on.
Bonus: An extensive list of names of all trails, ridges, parks, water features, campgrounds in our county
Yes I know there are quite a few others, but these are the sites I hit first when I want to ID a plant, get some garden advice or want to see what might be in bloom on a particular trail. Would love to hear your experiences with these, or if there’s a really good one I’m missing entirely.
For being so good and patient I’ll share some garden photos from the last few weeks, things are slowing down a bit but there’s still beauty to behold around every corner.