Fall’s Bounty of Seeds and Fruits

by Meghan Walla-Murphy
This article is part two in a four part series about seeds. Previous articles: Spring | Summer

photo by Meghan

photo by Meghan Walla-Murphy

Supposedly, hitchhiking is illegal in California; yet, the fall season is filled with hitchhikers. You, your dog or your cat may each become unwitting accomplices in this illicit activity. A late summer or autumn hike through an open meadow, dense riparian growth or even thick chaparral will reveal these travelers looking for an easy ride. Fur filled with burrs, pant-legs covered in clinging seeds, socks painfully filled with foxtails. Fall is the time of harvest, but it is also the time for seeds– often enclosed within fruits– to search for a new destination to flourish and spread their genetic vigor. Continue reading

Summer Seeds

By Meghan Walla-Murphy

Grindelia stricta

Grindelia stricta. photo by Meghan Walla-Murphy

The long languorous days of summer offer an opportunity like no other time of the year. The many day-lit hours present the possibility of intense growth and busy activity while warm sultry temperatures slow us down and beg us to take a siesta.  We shed layers of clothes and amplify under the warming glow of the California sunshine. During summer humans are capable of both concentrated production and aimless wandering. We work and play. Our gardens bolt and need tending, but paradoxically we stand back and let the plants do their thing.  A juxtaposition of vibrating energy and slow relaxation. Continue reading

The Life Cycle of Seeds: Spring

By Meghan Walla-Murphy
(Part one of a four-part series about the physiology and life cycle of seeds) Part 2

As vernal equinox approaches and spring begins to take hold, hillsides, meadows, grasslands, and even gardens transform. Tender, bright green shoots overtake the brown dormancy of winter. New growth reaches for the sun as the days lengthen and temperatures rise. Winter and spring storms converge over California and drop precious and necessary moisture. And yet while our eye is drawn to the green above ground, our attention should be directed below, toward the seeds responsible for the freshness of spring. Continue reading