Dear Members, Donors and Friends,

Summer is in full swing and the Reserve is busier than ever.

When you walk past the North Beach Parking lot, please have a look at the gazebo structure by the restrooms. It’s the new BLIK, the Beach and Lagoon Interpretive Kiosk.  Please say hi to the friendly volunteers on duty and learn about the unique fragile habitat that the beach and the lagoon are. A huge thank you to all volunteers who were and are involved with planning, building and manning the BLIK!

Whether you are traveling near or far this summer, we thought you might enjoy this video by John Durant.

2023 Flower Season: The Gift that Keeps on Giving

by Donna Close

Note: This article was first published in the Torreyana. The writer, former TPC director and treasurer Donna Close, is moving to Bend, OR this summer. We will miss her contributions and are very grateful for all the time, treasure and talent she gave to TPC.

Have you ever received a gift that consisted of multiple boxes you had to keep unwrapping until you finally got to the bottom? This is how the plants in the Reserve have responded to getting more than 18 inches of rain from December through May.

The previous two years had little rain, and the plants seemed to have rushed to flower and seed all at the same time with very little new growth. They survived by dropping leaves and waiting out the hot summer and fall until the first rains would arrive. This year has been one of the most spectacular I have witnessed in 13-plus years of hiking the trails. The plants have responded to all the rain
and cool temperatures with tons of new growth, spreading out the bloom season so they weren’t competing with each
other for pollinators. I wish I had taken a photograph each month to capture the evolving show of blooms over the park’s vistas.
After the rains arrived in December, the wild cucumber sent out its long stems and draped itself over everything in its path. The spice bush (bush rue) seemed to have multiple bloom periods. January rains continued the awakening of long-dormant plants. Miner’s lettuce was growing in large patches in places I had never noticed before. Three varieties of lupine could be seen springing up on the trails. Even more amazing: In mid-January we saw a large influx of American Robins move into the coastal areas, feasting on available berries and staying for weeks. The first hint of an unusual flower year was the large population of pepper grass growing in open spaces along the park road and trails. Chamise was the first plant to make a statement, blanketing the scenery with snowy white as far as the eye could see. (These are now slowly turning brown and will be providing a wonderful harvest for the birds throughout the fall and winter.) At the same time, the bedstraw was blooming, throwing in some creamy white and yellow to compete or complement the chamise. Remnants of those blooms are still visible on the plants. June brought us the flat-top buckwheat, with white flowers and hints of pink. The harvester ants can be seen moving these seeds around, hopefully developing into even more plants next year. Laurel sumac waited until warmer temperatures to leaf out, and their Christmas tree-shaped
flowers are now competing with toyon blossoms for “Best in Show” on the mesa. (The toyon will provide a wonderful
display of red berries come late fall/early winter.) Bush poppies are still blooming along the park road across from the Guy Fleming trailhead and up the stairs of High Point along with the red-orange flowers of the southern pink. Guy Fleming has always been the trail with the greatest flower show. This year was better than ever with its everchanging display of showy plants. Milkmaids appeared dotting the hillsides of the lower park road and all along the shaded area of the trail. These along with the vines of the wild cucumbers took advantage of the first rains. Next, the common phacelia leafed out, and purple flowers dusted the hillside. Adding to the display were the goldfields, California poppies, tidy tips, sun cups, ground pink, groundsel, and white popcorn flowers. Sea dahlias were blooming from the top of the hillside all the way down to the park road. Blue dicks were growing in mass, and Nuttall’s snapdragons shot up to heights I have not seen before (a few are still hanging on to their flowers). This was the year of the lupine. Large patches of collared lupine were seen along the west side of the Guy Fleming Trail, at Whitaker Garden, and at the bottom of the Beach Trail. The California poppies were putting on their own show, especially on the south-facing slope of the trail. The lance-leaf dudleyas are growing in bunches all along the east-facing side of the trail, with their red-orange flower stalks adding a burst of color. As the spring bloom was starting to fade, the yellow pincushions took over the west hillside. I don’t recall ever seeing the pincushion from top to bottom. The white flowers of three-spot have claimed the slope closest to the south overlook, and the bird’s beak is still growing along the trails, barely starting to bloom. Razor Point put on its own display of flowers. The yellow flowers of the Weed’s mariposa popped out first along this trail, with yellow-faced bumblebees busy pollinating them. There are groups of mariposa along the lower park road, and here and there on other trails. Del Mar sand asters have reached heights not seen previously, with beautiful gray foliage and dusty pink flowers now showing off along the edges of the trails. The pink splendid mariposa seemed to favor the Beach Trail for its biggest display, which started blooming in late April. It’s curious that they don’t bloom at the same time as the Weed’s nor in the same places. A hike onto the Broken Hill overlook offers you a display of amole (soap plant), whose wavy leaves have died back after sending up stalks of small flowers at least two to three feet tall – not just a few plants but hundreds of them. Turkish rugging, which I had seen only once over the years, was covering large parts of the entrance to the overlook, competing with the hot pink of the canchalagua. Skunk weed, with its distinctive smell, provided splashes of purple along the Broken Hill Trails and park road. Johnston’s honeysuckle was flowering along the North Broken Hill Trail, more so than I have ever seen. Beautiful globes of goldenstar could be seen poking out from the shrubs along the lower switchbacks of Broken Hill.
While this was a banner year for some plants and annual flowers, I noted that others appeared not to like the abundance of water or the late warming of soil temperatures. Blue-eyed grass, purple nightshade, and golden yarrow appeared, but not as abundant or as long lasting as in previous drier years. I have enjoyed every moment I have spent hiking the trails over the years. There is always something new to discover in the Reserve, and the scenery is always evolving. Take a walk and enjoy all its treasures.

John Durant

So you think you have problems? Lodge History 8

by Judy Schulman

This is the eighth in a series of articles by Judy Schulman
about Torrey Pines Lodge, whose 100th anniversary we
celebrated on April 8, 2023.
The landscape and architectural plans have been approved. The Lodge has been built. The restaurant is a success. So what could go wrong? Well, apparently there were a number of problems during those first years. And some of those problems are still with us today! Getting to the Lodge was not easy. Not everyone had cars,and there was no public transportation. Some of the waitresses who worked at the Lodge had to stay there for a few days at a time. (Local tour companies did provide
limited access.) Many visitors who did have cars felt they could park anywhere they wanted despite there being
marked parking spaces. Fortunately, the Burkholders had their own means of transportation so they could bring food
supplies. Speaking of supplies, there was some bickering over who would pay for certain items, such as awnings to increase the
dining area, ice machines, and toilet paper. Such payment issues led to a spirited correspondence between Guy Fleming, the Burkholders, and the San Diego Board of Park Commissioners. And speaking of parking, where did the equestrians “park”
their horses? Yes, equestrians held meetings up in the Lodge. They rode their horses to Torrey Pines and had
lunch in the Lodge (the riders, not the horses). For obvious reasons they couldn’t leave their horses right next to the building, but they could hitch them behind the current-day bathrooms. There were problems with some of the guests. Mostly these
were of the four-legged (skunks, lizards, stray cats and dogs) and feathered kind (which liked to swoop down on
visitors dining on the patio). They knew a good source of food when they sensed it. But there was also a problem with
some itinerant fortune-tellers, who were suspected of lifting visitors’ wallets while reading their palms until they were
finally discouraged from returning. There were a few structural problems. Should there be a telephone or not, and if so, where should it be? One blueprint I found shows it was supposed to be located on the wall near the door to the video room. None of my postcard
interior views show any phone, but there must have been one somewhere in the building because old ads say to call “La Jolla 36-W-I” for reservations. Running electricity into the Lodge was also of concern. At one time, there was outside lighting built into recesses in the adobe on the terrace outside of the Lodge (you can still see some of them). This didn’t last too long because of rain damage. But the biggest problem was with plumbing. Apparently, the wrong sizes of pipes were used, which affected the
bathrooms as well as the sinks used for food preparation. So here it is 100 years later. For those of us who do not drive, it can take several bus transfers and a walk up the hill to reach the Lodge. There are still problems with electricity and plumbing. The bathrooms don’t always work. People still tend to be discourteous with the way they park. Fortunately, what has stayed the same are the beauty and serenity that have drawn people to Torrey Pines for all these years.