Monday, May 24, 2010


We have a lovely family of wildflowers in California, called Calochortus or mariposa lilies. They're also found further east, to Nebraska, south to Guatemala and north to British Columbia. But twenty-eight of them bloom in California. Our local native plant society sells a few (legally obtained) bulbs each fall and I was excited to try growing them in my yard. Although Calochortus tolerate poor soil they can't compete with the alien weeds that grow prolifically in my garden. I didn't keep up with the weeding and, after the second year, lost six Calochortus luteus. The next year I planted in pots and had some success. I also added a different variety, Calochortus venustus, which seems to be a bit more tolerant of my garden and the squirrel that repeatedly digs around in the pot. It threw it's first bloom last week and I made some sketches. Now the Calochortus luteus, which is the species that I see growing naturally in my area, has begun blooming in Foothill Regional Park. The first sketch is C. luteus which is a bright yellow and which I hope to paint in color before the bloom ends!

You can find out more about Calochortus at these websites:

Pacific Bulb Society


  1. I always love colour in the focal point of a graphite botanical sketch, Debbie. These Calochortus are are a treat with their beautiful callagriphic leaves and stems. You meadow sketch is wonderfully full of life and interest.

  2. That was an interesting way to spell 'calligraphic' :) And I'm looking forward to a watercolour meadow next.