Neighborhood flora: the cranesbills

In a fancy planter outside a neighborhood business just up Ramona St. from my house: stunning blue cranesbills — the hybrid Geranium ‘Johnson’s Blue’, here in an image from the web:


And with this, sweet memories of my first time in Palo Alto, 37 years ago, arriving here just after my birthday (9/6), to start a year at the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences — on the foothills above Stanford, amidst untamed meadows in which a wild cranesbill, rosy-red Geranium dissectum, flourishes once the rainy season gets going.

On cranesbills and storksbills, see my 6/24/13 posting “Spring into summer”, with a section on the genus Geranium (cranesbill, generic name from the Greek for ‘crane’) and the related genus Pelargonium (commony called geranium, or storksbill for the wild species (generic name from the Greek for ‘stork’).

From my copy of A Field Guide to Pacific States Wildflowers, by Theodore E. Niehaus & Charles L. Ripper (1976):


The flower of G. dissectum:


Visits to California. I first came to Palo Alto early in September 1981. Scarcely my first visit to California: I’d been coming here for almost 20 years before I turned up at CASBS, but for linguistics meetings in San Francisco, Los Angeles, or San Diego, or for linguistics events at UCLA — all of which could be combined with a visit to my parents in California (they eventually ended up in the Central Coast, in Solvang).

In any event, this time of the year for me here in Palo Alto always feels like the beginning of an academic adventure.

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