In Crest Canyon today, we counted two dozen kinds of blooming flowers, including some we don't ever recall having seen there before, like the cobwebby or red thistle above. Others: Lanceleaf dudleya, bush poppy, golden tarweed, yellow pincushion, black sage, white sage, flat top buckwheat, chamisse, monkeyflower, deerweed, wallflower, everlasting, branching phacelia, bush sunflower (three kinds: yellow with black center, yellow with yellow center, fried egg colors), bush mallow (below), alkali heath, purple owl clover, canchalagua, showy penstemon, suncup, popcorn flower and prickly pear (bottom). We're able to identify all these thanks to Margaret Filius, whose Native Plants: Torrey Pines State Reserve and nearby San Diego Locations (3rd edition, 2010) is available in the information center of TPSR. It's amazing to see how different the array is now than in past years - we don't remember any thistles, for instance, and now they're all over. I suppose it has something to do with weather cycles - there's been a lot of rain this past year - and also with the caprice of where the wind blows. But what's becoming clearer to me over time is the microclimates of soil, wind and light, which are smaller than I could ever have imagined. Walking the trails of TPSR you can move through half a dozen of them in a minute. The natural world is more fine-grained than an urbanite can imagine.