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May 16, 2011

A pretty start to the day OR an extremely boring beginning, depending on your opinion of foliage.

Many people mistakenly believe Los Angeles has no weather. This is not true. We have wind, we have fire season, and during the winter we have mist (it's THE BIGGEST NEWS STORY EVER). This is May, which brings my favorite Los Angeles weather -- May Gray. The marine layer comes in low off the ocean and blankets the coast with clouds and fog. The clouds even creep inland and the weather is perfect and cool during the day but still temperate at night.

June brings the exact same weather except for obvious reasons it is then re-named June Gloom instead of May Gray. We are really very snappy around here with the catchy titles. Right now we're in the middle of a stretch of May Gray days and tonight it might even MIST, which is extra exciting since it's not our rainy season. I like our gray/gloom weather days best because you know it won't last and soon summer will be here baking the asphalt off the roads and turning the bougainvillea into dry paper lanterns.

Reader Sandee G. emailed me to say the white roses I saw on my weekend walk are called "Iceberg Roses." I love that name! It somehow perfectly describes the flower:

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You know, I've never really been a person who takes many flower pictures. Until recently, anyway. Maybe it's because now I have no garden or patio or terrace so all of Los Angeles has become my garden. Everything is incredibly vibrant right now and colorful and blooming. When it's cold outside in the mornings (read: 56 degrees) I can wear my hoodie on my walks and bring my camera in my pocket. I probably look like a goofnut taking pictures of shrubbery. Last week I passed a sidewalk full of guys practicing monologues for some acting workshop and when I stopped to take a picture of a flower I was the weirdo in that scenario. Go figure.

These are the flowers I stopped to photograph:

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They're all over L.A. and they come in so many different colors. Is this Lantana? My flower knowledge is pretty sparse. I can name every herb in the book but when it comes to flowers I'm not much help. I love the way the tiny flowers cluster together to form a single flower and the colors are wild, proving once again that nature was the first great graphic designer.

Here is one of my all time favorite things about the flora and fauna of this sprawling urban mess I call home:

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See that lush green shrub at the far right side of the frame? It's ROSEMARY, a big dense pile of herby rosemary growing right there in a cruddy alleyway in Hollyweird. Rosemary grows everywhere around here hardy and thick as a weed, and when you run your hands through it it smells delicious. Another favorite is lavender, also a weed in this climate. Here is a giant lavender and a giant rosemary sprawling together:

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That picture above is the hedge on someone's beautiful yard. I snapped the picture just before heading up this hill for a walk:

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Notice the house at the very tippy top? I walked almost all the way up there. I would have made it to the top if it weren't for the big gate and armed guard and surveillance cameras and large dogs and so on.

Here's a view from the hills on a cloudy morning:

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Who says we have no weather? We have May Gray!

One last flower picture on my way home:

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Pink flowers are my favorite. While I suspect this is a hibiscus I prefer to call it Shocking Pink O'Keefelike Lady Flower!

Posted by laurie at May 16, 2011 7:38 AM