Proteas bloom in Monterey.


The week before Lent I journeyed to California’s Central Coast to visit my son and his family in the busy city of Monterey. Besides being popular among tourists who like the Monterey Bay Aquarium, nearby Carmel-by-the-Sea, the John Steinbeck (Cannery Row) connection, etc., it has military and higher educational value thanks to institutions such as the Naval Postgraduate School and the Defense Language Institute; a state university and a school of international studies.p1060736crp



But for me, of course, the main attraction is three little boys and their parents! I had two entire days to hang out with them all and read stories, play with Matchbox cars, cook and eat…. Four-year-old Liam and I cleaned up the kitchen together one morning and pruned the butterfly bush the next. He really did work!p1060756

We visited the Pacific Grove Natural History Museum where I took pictures of the boys at the feet of a stuffed grizzly bear, and they played with magnetized glass eyes such as taxidermists use, trying to fit them into the proper skull.





My own favorite exhibit was of sands from around the world. It made me want to start my own collection, to go with my rock collection. I’ll need to get some small bottles that I could tuck in my pocket or camera bag, and always be ready to save a sample.





Joy made an elaborate picnic that we ate on the beach, and then we spent an hour exploring the sand there, and the creatures that wash up. It took most of the following week to identify the animals as pyrosomes (the long pink things) and Corolla spectabilis pseudoconchs (the transparent roundish ones). A marine biologist friend of Kit’s pointed us to this article on: Tubes and Slippers, which also shows them side-by-side.




The proteas are blooming in Monterey:


It was a blessed trip. I’ll stay closer to home now for a few weeks.

Happy March to you all!


14 thoughts on “Proteas bloom in Monterey.

  1. I don’t believe I’ve ever seen or heard of proteas. (Proteases? Proteaei?) They’re quite beautiful.

    The tubes filled with sand reminded me of one of my favorite childhood souvenirs: a small, rubber-stopped tube that contained all the layers of sand, clay, ore, and such from Hibbing, Minnesota. We’d gone there to see the iron mines, and admire the huge ore carriers berthed there. I never hear “The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald” without remembering that sight.

    It sounds like a perfectly wonderful visit, filled with every sort of treasure.


  2. I was just realizing that confusion about the spelling of that plant Protea might come from a mispronunciation. The word alone does make me think of a super-smoothie with kombucha in it 🙂 in which case I would want to call it “pro-tee.” But everyone says “pro-tee-uh.”


  3. I don’t know Proteas either, but now will keep an eye out for them. Monterey is beautiful!

    We have a friend who has a large collection of sand in another collection of various jars from his 20 years in the Navy – a neat storytelling vehicle for his kids.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. What a wonderful time you had visiting your son and his family. That sand collection fascinates me, especially the blue sand of Egypt. And the wonderful flowers which will not grow in northeast Ohio! I only know proteas from books, but I pronounce it properly because of Latin in high school, I guess. Cotoneaster was the one whose pronunciation surprised me greatly.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Oh, how I enjoyed this mini getaway to Monterey with its stunning proteas in bloom – thanks for introducing me to this gorgeous flower! I will have to do some research to see if it will grow here on the island since California and Crete share a similar climate.

    I can sense how much you appreciated your quality time with your son and his family. It must be so rewarding to have your grands learn things from you that they will apply in their own lives.

    Blue sand?! Unbelievable! What an interesting exhibit. Thanks for sharing.

    Wishing you a wonderful Wednesday, Gretchen

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Hi Gretchen,

        Here’s what I found out: ”Proteas are currently cultivated in over 20 countries. Cultivation is restricted to Mediterranean and sub tropical climates.” – Wikipedia. See this link for more info:

        So, it looks like I just might be able to grow these gorgeous flowers! How about you? Do you think that one of your mini-climates qualify? Hope so! I will ask my local nursery if they carry them when we go to visit in a few weeks time, to pick up our first bunch to plant in the many ceramic pots I have waiting in the garden and on the patio..

        Wishing you a lovely Thursday!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. In my part of Northern California it gets too cold for them, though they might do okay on the coast. Southern California is closer to the climate of Crete. California’s many climate zones are spread over nearly 164,000 square miles, while Crete’s area is about 3,000 square miles – just to show you how general comparisons can’t be made. I am so happy that you will be able to try proteas! I did just read that the plants tend to not be very long-lived, wherever they grow. But perhaps they make babies? 🙂


Leave a comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.