Wildflowers

August 19, 2021

When the temps got down to 88F last Saturday I decided to try my luck in the afternoon at a local lake I usually fish for catfish.  As I left home, I realized I had not brought the red worms that have been so effective on this water.  I have often used my fly rod for the bluegill and winter trout (stocked), so I was not worried.  The hot weather we have been having has been accompanied by scattered rains and high humidity.  The grasses and wildflowers along the shore had taken off and there were only a few places you could get near the water.  I fished for about 30 minutes before I admitted the humidity was too much for me, and apparently for the fish as I got no bites.  I shifted my attention to the wildflowers.

When I checked online, I found the Rose Mallow (Hibiscus lasiocarpus) is a rare native perennial herb that grows as a wildflower in Northern, Southern and Central California, primarily in the Sacramento and San Joaquin Valley regions.  Common names are the Common rose mallow, swamp mallow, swamp hibiscus, dinner plate hibiscus, and shares the name hardy hibiscus with Hibiscus syriacus.  While new growth is slow to emerge from dormancy in spring, the plants shoot up rapidly once they take off.  Rose Mallow can grow as much as an inch per day and thrive in full sun and swampy areas.  The plants bloom from midsummer until the first frost, and even though the flowers only last a day or two, the Rose Mallow is a prolific rebloomer.  The Rose Mallow flourishes in zones 4-9, and although it was not native, I found the plant offered by several greenhouse sites.  The plant has spread prolifically in the US.

The lake I was fishing is a perfect setting for the Rose Mallow.  The banks were in full sun and low along the water, meaning they were marshy.  I was surprised to see 15 or more blooms and numerous pods in a 30-yard stretch along the lake.  Last spring, State Parks had planted seedlings to help with erosion along the bank.  I understand the logic for this, but they put the new trees in areas used by fisherpeople to get near the water.  The combination of the new willowy bushes and the abundant grass and wildflowers now makes it difficult to fish.  I guess if it was easy, it would not be a sport.

Thoughts:  Making difficult feats easy is a booming business.  At 29,031.69 feet (8,848.86 m) above sea level Mount Everest reigns as the highest mountain on earth.  Since the first ascent in 1953 reaching the summit of Everest has been considered one of the greatest achievements in mountaineering.  Now the route is clogged with trash and packed by climbers.  The cost to climb Mount Everest in 2017 averaged around $45,000.  The price of a standard “supported climb” (group led by guides) ranges from $28,000 to $85,000.  A custom climb (private and accommodates requests) can cost up to $115,000.  High-risk climbs (without guides) price around $20,000.  As one website stated, this is a once in a lifetime experience, isn’t it worth the extra cost to ensure your safety?  I would make the same claim for getting the vaccine, except it is free.  Follow the science.  Change is coming and it starts with you.

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