First Flowers of 2020

The first flowers of 2020 have been out for a little while already on our local trails (spring in the chaparral begins with the first winter rains) – Bushrue, White-flowering Currant and Mission Manzanita are always among the first to come back to life after their summer dormancy, and show flowers that, despite their delicate nature, were able to withstand this year’s cold weather that persisted from mid December through mid January.

These three are nothing new for regular visitors to my site and readers of this blog of course, but similar to the first sunset of 2020, I wanted to have a photographic document for the return of the blooms. As all three of these bushes and shrubs happen to have white flowers, I wanted to create a collage/triptych of them from with three verticals. When Shuwen and I were out on the trail this morning with Toni, I found what I was looking for.

The Ribes indecorum photo (middle) makes me particularly happy, because I finally found one where the five petals aren’t bent backwards, but are still straight and in a beautiful star shape. A nice looking Xylococcus bicolor (right) isn’t easy to find – the plant’s hardy leaves often have little blemishes, and the little urn-shaped, delicate flowers drop easily (the one below isn’t my favorite photo of them, that would be this one, from March 2016: Mission Manzanita Flowers). Last not least, Cneoridium dumosum, the first picture: I liked this little cluster… and I guess I should just stop photographing them by now – but they’re just too cute, aren’t they? :)

The presentation of these collages is always a bit of a challenge because of the enormous difference in screen sizes and aspect ratios I have to take into account: from small, vertical-orientation phone screens to large, horizontal-orientation desktop displays – and everything in between. I decided to present the three photos side-by-side here, which works best for larger screens – if you’re using a small screen device like a phone, you can click or tap on any of the single images to open them individually*.

The collage is available for purchase as a single print (2:1 aspect) in my print-on-demand store: First Flowers of 2020 Triptych.

More photos of the individual plants: Cneoridium dumosum, Xylococcus bicolor, Ribes indecorum.

*) I wish there was a simple technical solution for this, like a gallery option that shows the photos one after the other on small-screen mobile devices, and side-by-side on desktop and laptop devices – there should be, but I haven’t found it. I’m beginning to think that this would be just too simple a solution…

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All images and content © by Alexander S. Kunz, unless otherwise noted. No re-use without express written permission. Please contact me for licensing options (prints and licensed images are NOT watermarked, of course).

4 thoughts on “First Flowers of 2020”

  1. How nice and lovely! We will not have anything blooming for a good month or so yet.

  2. They do make a very nice threesome. Talking about blemished leaves and unbent petals all I can think is, that’s life! But you of course succeeded in getting beautiful examples of these flowers. It’s funny that our Madrone trees, which I think are distantly related to your Mission manzanita, are also beginning to bloom, way up here at a colder, darker latitude where there are still some piles of snow on the ground. And I saw one Ribes (Red-flowering currant) blooming weeks ago, but I think that was a true outlier, a rather confused plant. Still, our R. sanguineum does bloom very early, compared to everything else.

    • “A rather confused plant” – haha! Yes, we sometimes have those here too – I always like to think that they’re testing the waters for the rest of the bunch. :)

      The Madrone is indeed a relative to the Manzanita, both are in the Ericaceae family. There are some (very) old observations of it in San Diego County actually. I wonder if they’re still around…

      • Well, it’s doubtful in this day and age, isn’t it? But I have a feeling that if anyone might spot the last Madrones in San Diego County, those strays that are enjoying the warmth, it would be you. ;-)


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