DryStoneGarden

Plants, Stone, California Landscapes

Flower

Shell Ridge Natives

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During the wildflower season, I spent a few hours pulling weeds at a restoration project at Shell Ridge Open Space in Walnut Creek. It’s a compelling, though still somewhat nascent, project, a steep slope facing the entrance of the open space. Most of the restoration work has happened in the last few years. The plants are young and there’s quite a variety of species, including a number of beautiful bunch grasses — Poa, Nasella, and Koeleria, maybe a few others — but the biggest visual impact came from the annuals that were blooming — California Poppies, Chinese Houses, and to lesser extent a Phacelia that I hadn’t seen before, P. distans which was popular with the bees but not really photogenic or garden worthy.

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I loved the big patches of Collinsia heterophylla. I tried to grow them in my garden this year, but they didn’t do well, I think because of slugs and snails.

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Other areas have been more recently cleared and planted. That’s a great looking oak; it will be beautiful with wildflowers filled in around it.

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There’s a former quarry across from the restoration area. From a distance the quarry shows like a scar, but it’s a nice landscape up close.

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Some of the boulders display the shells that presumably inspired the name Shell Ridge.

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I hadn’t been to Shell Ridge in years, so it was great to be lured out by the restoration project. It’s a pretty classic California landscape, lovely grassy hills, and I’ll be sure to go back see how the restoration project continues to progress.

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