I intend to sort my select images into three groups each year, corresponding to our three seasons. We are now in springtime.
We don't have winter here, the kind of winter they have in snow country. Just three distinct seasons: the rainy season, spring, and summer.
The rainy season takes place during the wettest and darkest months: December, January, February, and March. With the return of the rains, deciduous trees put out new bright green leaves. Seeds sprout. Early wildflowers appear. Top bucks assemble possies of does and impregnate them.
Spring comes after most of the rainy season, and before high summer: April, May, June, July. Rains taper off in springtime, but the still-moist ground and strengthening sunlight lead to accelerating growth and productivity. Spring sees the peak of the wildflowers -- but the rolling symphony of wildflowers begins in the rainy season and extends well into the farewell-to-spring of the summer.
The dry months continue relentlessly into summer. The land and the plants dry out and hang on, resting through August, September, and perhaps October and part of November. This is the lean time for many local plants. Fog drip on Skyline keeps many creeks running; others dry up. Valley oaks, blue oaks, and other deciduous trees lose their leaves and pull back, waiting. The annual European grasses dry out, turning our California hills "golden". The final wildflowers of the year appear and linger on through the heat.
With the coming of the rainy season, a new year begins.
The California buckeye (Aesculus californica) is supremely adapted to our local climate. In the rainy season, the buckeye drops its seeds and leafs out, ready for the confluence of moisture and sunlight that allows peak productivity. In springtime, the leaves are full. Peak productivity, peak photosynthesis. The buckeye puts forth its flowers and sets its seeds. Then the leaves wither. In summer, the leaves fall, and the hemispherical buckeye trees have bare limbs, decorated with the mature buckeye seeds, waiting through the dry time for the best time to plant the seeds, when the rains come again.
The California buckeye is a remnant species, hanging on despite the disappearance of its companion macrofauna -- but that is a story for another day. Do the buckeye a favor, spread their seeds, you are all they have now.