A big thank you to eight devoted Rancho Los Cerritos volunteers who showed up on the hottest day of the year thus far to toil in the garden! It takes many hands to keep the site maintained for our community to enjoy, but this was an especially amazing group of people! If you are interested in volunteering in our gardens please consider signing up here.
Plant of the Moment: Gardenia augusta ‘Mystery’. Located just inside the forecourt gates, the gardenia’s exquisite fragrance perfumes the entrance to the backyard from the forecourt. Native to China, its flowers and fruits have been used medicinally since 25 CE to lower fevers, reduce blood pressure, slow bleeding, promote healing, and stimulate bile flow. It was first imported to England in 1754, and its name honors a Scotsman, Dr. Garden, who emigrated to the British colonies in North America to practice medicine and botanize. Dr. Garden returned to England after the Brits were defeated, but we are fortunate that he left his gardenias behind!
Bird of the Month: California Scrub Jay. One of the Rancho’s resident bird species, the Scrub Jay has a lovely blue color and raucous call that make it an easy bird to identify. Related to crows and ravens, Scrub Jays are capable of metacognition – like planning ahead to store food in concealed spaces as well as moving their cache of food to keep it safe from competitors. We have two young Scrub Jays that have recently fledged. You might spot them hanging out as a family, or even on their own. More gray than blue at this stage, they tend to sport dashing white “eyebrows.” To learn more about birding, please visit us during one of our Birding Opportunities, when we open the site early for birders of all ages. Birding Opportunities are on the second Thursday of every month, you can RSVP for the next one here.