Male cones on Black PIne (?), originally uploaded by dewelch.

I believe this tree is a black pine, as it was planted as part of the original Japanese theming of the gardens. The previous owners had many Japanese garden plants and decorative elements, but we have reverted the garden to mainly a tiny woodland environment.

If you can identify these trees as something else, please let me know. Plant identification is not necessarily one of my strong suits.

The cones on this tree, and the 8 or so others in the garden, send up huge clouds of pollen if you brush by them at this time of year. I can imagine a allergy sufferer would be in big trouble if they were to wander through the garden at this time of year.

It is just one more sign that our California Spring is not too far away. Spring and Fall are so truncated out here, though, that if you blink you might miss them passing at all. The season seems to move directly from Winter (with cool temperatures and rain like we are having now) and Summer with its high temperatures and drought conditions. Fall suffers the same short fate, passing by before you even get a chance to experience it.