Ken Harrison 6:41 p.m., Dec. 12
Cobbled Shorelines, Colorful Foliage, Magnolia, and Buckwheat
Cobbled Shorelines are greeting some beachgoers early this summer season, as in past years. North County beaches tend to suffer most, because natural sand replenishment in the area is disrupted by dams blocking the flow of sediment down the larger streams and rivers. Some sand scooped up from dredging operations is being moved onto the beaches to mitigate this problem. South County's beaches fare better. The widest beach of all, Coronado, is protected from sand loss by the jutting Point Loma peninsula; it catches some sand drifting on currents northward from the mouth of the Tijuana River.
Colorful Foliage along San Diego's coastline lingers, despite the recent lack of rainfall and warmer, drier days. In the older, landscaped neighborhoods of Coronado, Point Loma, Pacific Beach, and La Jolla you'll find oleander and hibiscus blooming in many shades, and colorful bougainvillea creeping over garden walls. Look for the magnificent clusters of red flowers adorning the crowns of the flame eucalyptus (red-flowering gum) trees.
Magnolia, the southern-U.S.-native commonly planted as a decorative street tree in many of San Diego's older neighborhoods, continues to bloom this month. Called the "queen of the flowering broadleaf evergreens," its branches carry leathery, dark-green leaves and large, white blossoms of pleasing fragrance.
Buckwheat, a late-bloomer among native plants in our area, is showing off its small, inconspicuous clusters of cream-colored flowers this month. Several kinds of buckwheat, found in dry, sunny locations throughout San Diego County, are the source of the "wild buckwheat" honey sold locally. Near the coast look for flat-top buckwheat, common on south-facing slopes. Here it shares space with other low-growing shrubs of the sage-scrub plant community like black sage and California sagebrush.