Now that the rainy days are full upon us, I took one last hike up Pulgas Ridge in mid-February, before the trails turn completely into mud soup. The real object of the hike was to photograph Scoliopus bigelovii, which is one of our earliest spring flowers. They were blooming in abundance. I must go back after the rain to see whether I can collect some seed. Zigadenus fremontii was jut starting to open its flowers in sunny spots. The same was true of the much showier Cynoglossum grande. Trillium chloropetalum buds were ready to burst open, but it was a bit early for them. I’m sure that by now they are fully open (which for these flowers is not particularly open, anyway). Here and there I noticed Cardamine (Dentaria) californica in the shade and abundant Claytonia (Montia) perfoliata. Lower down, a few Pedicularis densiflora were in bloom – still a bit early for these. The path to the trail head was graced by some always welcome Eschsoltzia californica, and the ubiquitous Oxalis pes-caprae along with the equally ubiquitous Brassica. Away from the trails, this part of California at this time of year is a riot of yellow: vacant fields are covered in mustards and bordered by acacias; where mustard fails, oxalis succeeds – in every patch of unweeded earth. After a cold and dreary winter, this golden California is a real joy.