When I started exploring where plant species grow and their habitats, I was surprised to find so many ecotypes within the Monterey Bay region. I knew there were many, but this many? The land here has many faces. And what’s more, the plant character changes to reflect the soils, topography and distance from the Pacific Ocean.
Out from the hard decomposed granite substrate grows the magnificent redmaids. The spectacular chia loves its sandy soil and dry chaparral habitat. The pickleweed grows partially submerged in our brackish local estuaries. Almost one third of our plants are rare. Ninety percent of California wetlands have been lost over the last two centuries. However the second largest estuary in California is Elkhorn Slough.
Within the Monterey Bay area a multitude of plant species thrive due to a wide range of microclimates and habitats, including grasslands, conifer forest, coastal and montane scrub, chaparral, riparian woodland and wetlands. In addition, because of the Mediterranean climate in the Monterey Bay area, world wide exotics thrive as well. There are even endemic habitats, such as the Zayante Sandhills, that don’t occur any place else on earth.
I love the persistence of the flower. There it grows in every kind of ecotype: the tundra taiga, desert and the grassland, deciduous forest, marshland, sand hills, the rainforest. Plant species thrive in drought and swamps. I’m intrigued with how this fragile phenomenon supports all life on earth as well as offering healing properties and emulating pure beauty. I’m fascinated with the architecture and complexity of plant structure and inspired with the beauty of plant life.
Traditional Botanical Works supported in part by the Creative Work Fund Grant provided a team collaboration specializing in plant ecology, anthropology and fine art and has been an opportunity to revive some of the biotic and cultural knowledge which as been lost through the centuries. A quiet act of conservation, the goal of the project is to raise visibility and public awareness to importance of our native plants, including some that are now endangered and rare.
Claudia lives in rural Aptos, California and is an avid gardener. She derives much of her creative energy from the surrounding environment. The Mediterranean climate of Santa Cruz county provides a wide range of plant specimens, both California natives and world wide exotics. Claudia gathers botanical specimens from international rainforests as well as Sierra Nevada and Big Sur.
For upcoming shows and events, please join Claudia’s growing mailing list:
Claudia Stevens, PO Box 2435 Aptos, CA 95001. 831 688-7980.