Last week, while we were up in Bishop, California to attend Mule Days, Jonathan and I made a day trip up the Ancient Bristlecone National Forest in the White Mountains to see the oldest living non-clonal organisms in the world.
On our drive up to Schulman Grove we stopped to see some other type of pine.
Up at Schulman Grove it was colder than I expected and I didn’t have gloves with me. The metal interpretive signs were surprisingly hot baking in the sun — so I stopped at each one to warm my hands.
We started our main hike at 10,000 feet above sea level. It had just snowed that morning and it made everything seem particularly epic. One of my friends on Instagram said it looked Gameofthrones-ish.
The oldest living tree they have dated in Schulman Grove is over 5,000. It’s the world’s oldest recorded living non-clonal organism. There are also a number of dead trees and some of them have been dated back as far as 12,000 years.
I did some Mitochondrial DNA testing a few years ago, and that was back when some of my ancestors (soon to be Scandinavian vikings) were still living in modern day Turkey. 12,000 years in human history is a really long time ago. But geological time barely blinks.
Up close grain of the wood. It can survive with most of it’s bark gone.
The interpretive signs said that most of the trees eventually die because erosion uncovers their roots and exposed them to root diseases. In a few thousand years over 2′ of soil may erode due to wind, etc.
The needles are surprisingly soft, it was like shaping the hand of a muppet.
In every walk with nature one receives far more than he seeks.
One of these trees might be the oldest tree they have identified. To protect the tree from vandalism they intentionally don’t mark it, but it is in this area.
My husband playing in with snow. He is adorbs.
The clearest way into the Universe is through a forest wilderness.
And then…. the next day….. we went petroglyph hunting in Red Canyon.
Photos of that next week!
Back in fall 2009 Jonathan and I went to South America for a month. While we were in Brazil we went to visit the Sitio Roberto Burle Marx about an hour outside of Rio de Janeiro. Roberto Burle Marx is one of the greats of landscape architecture, known for creating bold, colorful landscapes using the native plants of South America. He is one of my favorite designers and I always find inspiration looking at his work. The large estate served as his home, studio, test garden and plant nursery. The tours of the estate were only in Portuguese so we couldn’t really understand anything they said, but the place really speaks for itself. Here are a few of the 500+ photos I took:
If you’re ever in Rio, go visit!
The Ace Hotel & Swim Club, Palm Springs. We had our “rehearsal dinner” right here by this wall in 2010. The hedge is a Podocarpus a.k.a Hedgezilla.
More Ace Hotel, they have great walls.
There are a lot of tapestry hedges (hedges made up of multiple shrubs/vines) in Echo Park, Los Angeles. This one has multiple kinds of bougainvillea and boxwood.
This ad for High Maintenance (a web series) is hand painted on a wall in Echo Park, CA. If you haven’t seen the series, you should download it ASAP. The main character is a pot dealer in NYC that delivers via bicycle. Each episode is about a different delivery/client. Incredibly well done. It’s one of my new favorites.
Jonathan and I spent a cold & rainy New Year’s in Palm Springs this year. Instead of hanging out by the pool, we bundled up and headed out to look at desert plants.
I had heard about the Moorten Botanical Garden for years, but it wasn’t until our last trip out to Palm Springs in October that we found it when we were doing an architectural driving tour with my grandparents. It is only a few blocks west of the Ace Hotel and Pool Club, where we have been hanging out for years.
Started in 1938, many of the 3000 desert plant varieties are large and mature. I think of the Moorten as kind of a scrappy desert cousin to the Huntington rare cactus and succulent garden in Pasadena.
It is staffed by a group of plant loving senior volunteers. I laughingly told Jonathan that I was seeing my future. I predict we retire to Palm Springs someday and that I spend my golden years volunteering at the botanical garden.
Upside down hanging cacti in the cactarium!
Next time you in Palm Springs, save an hour or two to visit the Moorten. And bring home a little cacti to remember your visit!
The often Instagrammed chair wall at Flora Grubb.
Jonathan & I popped into Flora Grubb Gardens last week when we were in San Francisco. If you are into plants/gardens this is a place of lust & pilgrimage. I’ve been wanting to go there forever. It’s in a light industrial section in Bay View, which is east of the Mission district. They have a beautifully curated nursery and all the coolest outdoor accessories: pots, chairs, arbors, green walls, heated outdoor couches, fire pits, etc. It’s like Epcot and Sunset Magazine had a baby.
I loved the unapologetic shaggy-ness of this Woolly Pocket green wall. Many of you know that I use to be the in-house designer for Woolly Pocket, so I have designed my fair share of green walls. I didn’t do this one, but I really liked the palette. They did a great job of hiding the pockets, so you don’t see the structure.
Pro tip: You can recreate this look with bromeliads, phormium, pothos, philodendrons, grasses and fish hook senecio. This sized wall can be made with (2) 4 – packs of pockets, I recommend using the Chocolate colored pockets since they disappear best and looks like soil.
We have one of these aloe trees in my side yard. Ours is only about 4′ tall so far. This one was more like 8-9′ so it was like looking in to the future.
Flora Grubb really gets color. They stock all their outdoor accessories in a rainbow of colors.
Love these stunning burnt orange pots.A giant Furcraea macdouglii – I was excited to see this big guy. We have one growing in our front yard in Echo Park. It’s still pretty small but it will eventually turn into a tree like this. Hopefully it takes 50 years to get this big.
Japanese maple saplings and a baby sago palm.
They had lots of experiments with succulents on display. I like this large green wall made up of a mosaic of tiny cuttings. I can imagine something like it hanging on the side of our shed. They also had hearts and wreath sized alphabet letters that you can plant with succulents that looked like great gifts for Mother’s Day.
Glacier National Park was founded in 1910, and sits up in northern Montana and borders Canada. It’s over 1 million acres and covers two mountain ranges, 130 lakes, dozens of (melting) glaciers and hundreds of lakes.
CROWN OF THE CONTINENT
Last summer, before we left on our big road trip, someone at a party told me that they thought Glacier National Park, is more impressive than Yosemite. I’ve also heard a few Alaskans say Glacier is prettier than Alaska. Needless to say, we were really excited to go.
When we arrived, I found Glacier to look like a storybook or a painting. Almost unreal. The scale is huge. The crystal clear glacier rivers and lakes reflected the mountains and sky. The river run fast and deep and clear. It almost looks like CGI, with everything just slightly exaggerated.
We arrived in Glacier the 1st week in June, and the snow and ice was still melting at the higher elevations. Going-to-the-Sun Road, the legendary 50 mile drive through the middle (and top) of Glacier was mostly still closed because they were still clearing snow. We were able to drive up the first 17 mile and go hike before we had to turn around.
We were disappointed that we couldn’t drive the whole road, but we decided to come back someday so we could see it all. My mom and her husband recently bought an RV named Honey and plan to tour the US in 2015. We might come back and meet them in Montana.
Jonathan and I hiking at Glacier National Park.
It seems like a lot of people are unaware of Glacier National Park. It’s not a household name like Yellow Stone or Yosemite. I think part of the reason in that it is so far north and off the beater path. Less people probably make it up there. You don’t stumble across it driving cross country, like many of the national parks.
We came across a lot of wildlife. We were really this close to the deer, I wasn’t zooming in on the photo.
Watch my instagram video of the river.
Glaciers Melting & Climate Change
My favorite thing about Glacier was watching the water come rushing down narrow creeks and rivers towards from the glaciers down to the calm lakes. It was impressive, the sound, the speed of the water, how clear the raging water was, the turbulence. But that thing I loved so much is partially a product of climate change. The raging waters are melted glaciers.
It is well documented that the glaciers at Glacier National Park are quickly retreating and disappearing. They say some may last for a few decades longer, but they are going quickly, within our lifetime. The Park Service has decided that it will still be called Glacier National Park even after all the glaciers have melt.
Getting back to my roots.
We ate a ton of huck turnovers at Polebridge Mercantile, a general store & bakery deep in the forest. It’s over 100 year old and on the National Registry of Historic Places. No cell phone reception.