Tag Archives: russel ray

When you wish upon a star….

Did you know?

It’s no secret that the world loves stars. After all, “When you wish upon a star….” More:

Look up at the stars and not down at your feet.
—Stephen Hawking

Keep your eyes on the stars and your feet on the ground
—Theodore Roosevelt

The sight of stars makes me dream.
—Vincent Van Gogh

I will love the darkness for it shows me the stars.
—Og Mandino

Look at the stars. See their beauty. And in that beauty, see yourself.
—Draya Mooney

There wouldn’t be a sky full of stars if we were all meant to wish on the same one.
—Frances Clark

I would be willing to stake my reputation (what reputation?) on stars being the number one shape of Mother & Father Natures beautiful flowers. Indeed, stars are a significant portion of my book, Nature’s Geometry: Succulents.

Cover of "Nature's Geometry: Succulents" by Russel Ray(Book is being sent on Monday to publisher for printing
and should be available for purchase around November 1, 2019.)

I am not ashamed to admit that stars happen to be my favorite flower shape, especially when the star is extraordinarily well pronounced, as in these two pictures from this past week of star flowers in my gardens:

Stapelia gigantea
Stapelia gigantea

Stapelia grandiflora
Stapelia grandiflora

Stapelia gigantea by far is my favorite flower ever. The flowers are up to ten inches in diameter, somewhat hairy, feel leathery, and just look like something that an alien Mother & Father Nature might come up with on a star millions of light years away from us.

These two flowers, particularly Stapelia gigantea, attract flies for pollination like today is going to be the last day on Earth for pollination opportunities. They do this by smelling horrible, like rotting flesh. As a friend of mine said, “Lovely….”

Although mine attract flies, I have not yet smelled any rotting flesh, and I even have stuck my nose deep into the flower, after shooing the flies away, of course. I used to think my nose simply wasn’t working properly, but I can smell pizza, Mexican food, and margaritas from miles away. Maybe I just don’t have any “rotting flesh” sensory cells in my nose. Yeah, that’s it.

Stapelia gigantea flowers are so big that it is easy to sit and actually watch the big flower buds open and attract flies. In 2019, I had 23 flowers on my one Stapelia gigantea (there are 17 so far this year), so I started doing time Stapelia gigantea flower lapse photography last year.

Following is my best time lapse video from last year. Note the number of flies enjoying their time at the buffet. This video is 5 hours of photos taken every 5 seconds (3,500 photos!) and condensed into just 1 minute and 4 seconds. The flower on the left opened the previous day, and the middle flower will be opening in the video.

Staring up at a eucalyptus

Away she goes!

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Picture of the moment


The closest Costco is about a half mile from my house, and it’s normally extremely easy to get to. Not today:

Fallen eucalyptus tree


That’s a eucalyptus tree, and not a particularly big one, but it had fallen and was blocking 3½ lanes of the highway frontage road. The police had the southbound lanes completely closed, but our northbound lanes were still open albeit scrunching two lanes down into ½ lane on the shoulder.

Eucalyptus trees are not native to San Diego. They were brought from Australia back ca. 1850 to use for railroad ties. Unfortunately, the wood is very brittle and did not make good ties. However, the tree loved San Diego’s climate and by driving around the County you’d never think that they were not native here. They are everywhere!

They grow rather tall but have somewhat shallow root systems. Couple that with the brittle wood, and the poor trees sometimes fall over or break apart during our six-week rainy season or during the high Santa Ana wind season.

We had the wettest April I can remember in the 18 years I’ve lived here, and I suspect the ground around that eucalyptus simply couldn’t hold that massive tree with the shallow root system anymore, and away she goes!

I love eucalyptus trees but they really don’t belong on small residential properties or along freeways. Here’s one of my favorite pictures of a giant in Balboa Park:

Staring up at a eucalyptus


This post approved by Zoey the Cool Cat

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos


Looking for real estate services in San Diego County? I can highly recommend
James Frimmer, Realtor with Century 21 Award, DRE #01458572

If you’re just looking for a home inspector,
I can highly recommend Russel Ray; that’s me!