Friday, November 13, 2009

Friday Flowers: California Blooms

Bougainvillea Bloom

One of my patients recommended that we spend time in the Pacific Grove/ Monterey area of California on our road trip from San Francisco to Los Angeles. She told me about the Monarch butterflies which over winter in the area and I was determined to stop there. We stayed at a lovely place called Sunset Inn which was just a short walk from the Monarch grove and the ocean. Three days earlier a bad storm had knocked out the power in the area for more than a day.

Strong north winds were still blowing when we arrived and it was actually colder here than it was back at our home in Canada. This was unusual for the date. The winds had scattered the butterflies and there very few to be seen in the grove. Apparently the number of Monarch butterflies was greatly reduced this year west of the Rockies as well as in the north-eastern part of the continent where we live. But I was not disappointed with the grove which is dominated by tall Monterey pines and Eucalyptus trees.

Hummingbird in Bottlebrush bloom

Flowering shrubs had been planted to provide nourishment for the butterflies, and many hummingbirds were in the area. I also saw several warblers, woodpeckers and other birds which I will identify when I find my Sibley bird guide in our renovation mess.

Monarch Butterfly at Big Sur, CA

On the drive south a couple of days later, we came upon more Monarch butterflies around Big Sur. They were sheltered from the wind in the valleys of the mountains. I love Bougainvillea and the bright splash of colour it adds to fences and walls. We came across a lot of it in the area.

Many Canadians go to Florida in the winter, but I would rather travel to the Monterey area for a break from the snow. The beaches here are not for sunbathing but the scenery is spectacular. My patient had been discharged by the time I returned to work, but I took some pictures and sent a sincere thank you to her for directing me to this beautiful place.

Bougainvillea at the Monarch sanctuary at Pacific Grove, CA


  1. That first macro is awesome, it so clearly shows the detail of the bloom. Glad you got to see some Monarchs along the way. It's a beautiful coastline.

  2. Hi Ruth....Monarchs and Hummingbirds absolutely wonderful....that would be my idea of heaven.....

    Love the bottle brush shrub.....

  3. Oh, my... I can't imagine seeing that much bougainvillea blooming! Gorgeous!

  4. These pictures sure do show a place of beauty.The flowers are gorgeous.Too bad you missed out on many of the Butterflies.hopefully the scenery made up for that.Have a most enjoyable weekend.

  5. I love the first flower. Such detail. You had a great capture of the Big Sur Monarch.

  6. Absolutely beautiful, Ruth. I'm glad your patient told you about the grove. Your photos are fantastic, as always.

    I have sent you an email and uploaded a photo of a bird I saw today. I have my opinion on what it is, but was wondering if you have time if you could stop by and take a look.

    Wishing you a wonderful and safe trip.


  7. Anonymous9:05 pm GMT-5

    Your patient sure knows where the flowers, butterflies, and hummers are at!

  8. Your pics are excellent! I love bougainvillia, hummers and butterflies. I've been to Monterey years ago. It was March, so cold here in Montreal, but lovely and warm there. We ate shrimp in a little paper cup with a slice of lemon on the side, somewhere on a dock or boardwalk, I guess it's called. And the flowers were sooooo beautiful!

    I've always wanted to return there some day. Looks like you had a really fabulous trip.


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