“Please”, my friend Rob said yesterday, “no more posts about flowers. It’s booooorinnnngg.” Sorry, Rob. When you’ve got 40 acres to fill, you’ve got a lot of flowers to talk about. In fact, a surprising number given how hot and semi-arid Sonoma is. Granted, we’ve had some planted, but it’s amazing how many flowers are showing up and thriving unassisted. Pictured is not one of those flowers. We brought in the water lilies, but then again, we MADE the pond, so none of it is strictly “natural”.

So what exactly does count as natural? Our goal has been to “manicure” nature on our land in Sonoma, rather than landscape in the classic sense. I guess putting in a pond was really stretching those boundaries. But it’s been amazing to see what happened once Lake Charles (named after our dearly departed Terrier Emeritus) was up and running. It was like a sudden rainstorm on the Serengeti. In an instant, seemingly, animals were everywhere. Dragonflies, butterflies, frogs and tadpoles appeared by the hundreds. Birds started congregating. We saw deer tracks (largely thanks to our landscaper who thoughtfully provided a little “access beach” for them to walk easily down for a drink.) And like the Serengeti, the predatory animals seem to show up where the food is congregating. The coyotes and foxes are certainly around, judging by the copious amounts of scat. The other week, we had our first real sighting of Leonard, our resident bobcat. (Who is much bigger, tougher-looking and faster than we had expected.)

Which brings me back to those water lilies. They don’t exactly fit our criteria for plants at Two Terrier Vineyards. The rule is supposed to be “only natives or could be natives.” That last addendum stretches it a little. According to my Peterson Field Guide, my water lilies are actually native to eastern North America and were introduced here. But the bees like them, so I like them. And, strictly speaking, the bees are not even native but were introduced to the continent by early settlers. In fact, the Native Americans used to call them “White Man’s Flies”. Then there’s us — especially Andy who’s a transplant from England.

So I guess my water lilies and my bees count as just two more groups of California immigrants. Oh, and we’ll have to add the troll to that list. My English sister-in-law was astounded that we’d put in a little bridge across the waterfall and didn’t have a troll under it. So all the way from Essex, she sent a troll. (Seems it’s a British garden requirement, along with ceramic gnomes.) See, even in the most carefully controlled circumstances, nature abhors a vacuum. You create one little opportunity and, as my mother and Bill O’Reilly would point out, the immigrants come rushing in.

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