Gringo was one of them, and he grew like the brawny, meat-fed gladiators of old bigger, stronger, and fiercer than his fruit-and root-fed kin. In contrast with this was his love of honey. The hunter on his trail learned that he never failed to dig out any bees' nest he could find, or, finding none, he would eat the little honey-flowers that hung like sleigh-bells on the heather.
And the Western azalea, hardly less flowery, grows in massy thickets three to eight feet high around the edges of groves and woods as far south as San Luis Obispo, usually accompanied by manzanita; while the valleys, with their varying moisture and shade, yield a rich variety of the smaller honey-flowers, such as mentha, lycopus, micromeria, audibertia, trichostema, and other mints; with vaccinium, wild strawberry, geranium, calais, and goldenrod; and in the cool glens along the stream-banks, where the shade of trees is not too deep, spiraea, dog-wood, heteromeles, and calycanthus, and many species of rubus form interlacing tangles, some portion of which continues in bloom for months.
Stream-side gardens, so charming a feature of both the Sierra and Coast Mountains, are less numerous in Southern California, but they are exceedingly rich in honey-flowers, wherever found, melilotus, columbine, collinsia, verbena, zauschneria, wild rose, honeysuckle, philadelphus, and lilies rising from the warm, moist dells in a very storm of exuberance.
This love brings hope and cheerful constancy; with a shining falchion it affrights into their natal darkness the monstrous forms of despair, and lends to all work a secret charm of chivalry. It sustains that high anticipatory mood to which life is but a preparation, and the bees buzzing round the honey-flowers seem poor things toiling for an inessential gain.
Presently a clear, ringing discharge of thunder is heard, followed by a rush of wind that comes sounding over the bending woods like the roar of the ocean, mingling raindrops, snow-flowers, honey-flowers, and bees in wild storm harmony. Still more impressive are the warm, reviving days of spring in the mountain pastures.
He was a pock-pudding Englishman, a great hash of a man with the chest of him slipped down below his belt, and what was he but bragging about the rich people he came of, and the rich soil they flourished on, its apple-orchards and honey-flowers and its grass knee-deep in June.