March 20th marked the first calendar day of spring, and this year nature is willing to follow along. Temperatures have warmed from the cold, snowy February weather. The hills are starting to green and soon wildflowers will be blooming. The sun peaks through the clouds and warms the air.
Besides the prominent flowers are a variety of grasses. Much of the bright green you see comes from their spring growth. Most people consider grass a staple of lawns, requiring constant moisture to survive and thrive. That’s not the case. Native grasses thrive in our environment with no watering by us necessary. Even when the grass has lost its fresh, green look come June and July it’s still alive. Simply waiting to sprout again come the following spring when there’s plenty of moisture.
I encourage you to go out and enjoy the shrub steppe during the spring. In my opinion it’s the only time to truly appreciate the great variety of life present. Come summer and fall all that will be left is a dry, brown hillside with little shade to get out of the sun. Enjoy it in the spring when it’s still cool and the hills are alive and colorful.