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Thursday, April 30, 2015

Discovering Epiphyllums - Blooming Tropical Cactus

Commonly known as epiphyllums, these flat-stemmed cactus with large vibrant blooms are hybridized from ancestors that live in the nooks and crannies of trees in the forests of Central and South America.

Take a minute to discover the diversity of epiphyllum blooms.


Epiphyllums are epiphytic; like many orchid species they grow on other larger plants, but cause no harm to their host. In southern California epiphyllums can be very happy on a patio or terrace. They thrive on little soil, mottled shade, minimal water, and good air flow.

Ours is a micro-habitat. Native bees, like the Valley carpenter bee, pollinate them and a juvenile alligator lizard lives beneath the pot.

The Epiphyllum Society of America keeps records on the over 700 named hybrid varieties. Like orchids, epiphyllums have an amazing diversity. These blooms were on display at the Southern California Spring Flower Show. The Epiphyllum Society hosts their annual show May 16-17, 2015 at the Los Angeles Arboretum.

Visit the Earth Minute each week and discover something new in the natural world.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Visit Southern California Flower Show

Weary of the drought? Visiting the Southern California Flower Show is a sure pick-me-up.

Display gardens offer inspiration with California native plants and drought tolerant options. 

Potted indoor plants and fairy gardens can be successful on a water budget.


This was the 2014 Show. This year's show promises to be just as colorful and beautiful. If you haven't been, you should experience:

South Coast Plaza, Costa Mesa

More Earth Minutes with flowers:

Visit each week for a new 1-minute vacation

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Come Whale Watching off the Coast of California

We set out on a sunny February afternoon for a cruise out of Ventura, California.

Come whale watching with us! 

Two California Gray Whales swimming together

Each whale's tail has different markings, so individual can be identified with a good pair of binoculars, or a good camera.

It was a beautiful time on the water with Island Packers Cruises!

For more travels in California or around the World
join us at

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Listen To The Dragon!

Listen To The Dragon  -  Hear Yellowstone National Park

Yellowstone's Dragon's Mouth Spring is an active and
ever-changing hydrothermal feature.

The roaring sound of the steam and water in the cave is one of my favorite things.


Watch once - then just listen one time to the voice of the Dragon!

For more natural sound recordings and video visits to the natural world, subscribe to us at


Thursday, April 2, 2015

Hike Limekiln Canyon Park, CA

Take a hike into a California riparian habitat: Limekiln Canyon on the north edge of the San Fernando Valley.

My friend Kerry introduced me to this oak glen and creek-side trail. In moments you leave the traffic behind and enter a peaceful edge of wildness.

native sunflower species
Especially in spring there are wildflowers–lupine, sage, and native sunflowers–and a variety of wildlife.


Preserved between housing tracts, Limekiln Canyon has a scattering of introduced plant species, but still there are stately sycamores and coast live oaks helping to provide homes for resident species and migratory visitors. 

western fence lizard
We spotted four species of native lizards–including scads of western fence lizards, nineteen bird species–including Bewick's wrens and a varied thrush. We watched a cottontail cross the old-road pathway and saw ten species of native butterflies.

Perhaps most exciting was the small Pacific tree frog or Pacific chorus frog (Pseudacris regilla) that we caught on video. Listen for their loud call that seems much too big for a frog about the size of the end of your thumb. Keep an eye open for the European honey bees that have taken up residence in an old oak tree. Most of all enjoy a walk through habitat shared by wildlife and humans.

  • Open Dawn to Dusk.
  • No drinking water or restrooms, but picnic tables available.
  • Trails unimproved, but old roads provide wide walking areas.
  • Dogs welcome on leash. Rattlesnakes can be present. Respect the safety of wildlife, keep dogs leashed.

Other hiking locations in the L.A. area:
Los Virgenes Open Space
Malibu Beach
Walk to The Getty
L.A. Hidden Gardens

each week for a new one minute adventure.