If you've looked up at the mountains from town lately, you may have noticed what looks like a light snowfall. How can that be? Every spring, the early-blooming ceanothus emerge, dusting our mountains with white blossoms and offering us the joy of a resplendent spring without the miseries of snow and sleet – Santa Barbara style.
Ceanothus is one of the hearty chaparral plants which cover the steep sandstone slopes of our coastal mountains. It's a drought tolerant California native that goes by a few different names including wild or California lilac.
If you hike up to Inspiration Point, you'll find yourself meandering through corridors lined with bright white and blue ceanothus. Breathe deep – what a divine bouquet of fragrances. Some species bloom white and others a soft blue-lilac. It grows profusely, blanketing the hills with its own kind of olive-green carpet. If you are interested in growing ceanothus in your garden, check out this article by Carol Bornstein.
Ceanothus dusted hills in Cold Springs Canyon. January 17, 2015