Ode to Spring Wildflowers: A Season to Remember
May 5, 2017 | Urban Explorer
Of course, we Southern Californians enjoy our Mediterranean climate. Cool nights and warm, sunny days. But the drought from 2011-2015 was serious and it seemed like our home would stay brown forever. Then the rains - steady and consistent - came in 2016 giving our parched Southern Calfornia a blanket of green and color. Dormant seeds came to life, as if waiting for this moment. The Golden State became blessedly green.
|Coastal brittle Bush graces Crystal Cove State Park|
On came the flowers - in deserts, canyons, hillsides, roadsides, and mountains. And it was quite a show. The hardy plants of the Coastal Sage Scrub
were out in force: Black and Purple Sage, Bush Monkey Flower, Purple Owl's Clover, Bush Mallow, Blue Dicks and Lupin. Mustard the like of which hasn't
|Blue Dicks aren't exactly blue.|
|Buckwheat start with small, creamy white and pink flowers that turn various shades of brown into the fall|
|Bush Monkey Flowers like shady areas. These drought deciduous plants, whose leaves disappear|
in the summer, have beautiful apricot flowers
|Arroyo Lupin and its rarer yellow cousin are found throughout southern and central California|
|Purple Owl's Clover even showed up this spring|
|Blue-eyed grass likes shady areas.|
|Our State Flower - the Golden Poppy - thrives on hillsides and coastal grasslands.|
|Poppies at Santa Barbara Botantical Garden.|
|South-facing coastal sage shrub in Aliso and Wood Canyons Regional Park.|
|Unidentified wildflower in Aliso and Wood Canyon Regional Park.|
|Coastal Paintbrush is the reddest of the red.|
Our spring rains also brought out invasive plant species, in particular the wild Mustards. They certainly are beautiful when they bloom, and legend has it that they were spread by the Spanish explorer Gaspar de Portola as his expedition spread the seeds for others to follow. As a child growing up in South Pasadena, those mustard plants made a wonderful place to hide and, when the stalks dried, the perfect surface for sliding "toboggan-style" down the slopes of the Monterey Hills.
|Our southern California hillsides were never so yellow as the Spring of 2017. Notice the Mission Bell freeway art - an|
increasingly common infrastructure art practice in SoCal. And why not? We spend enough time behind the wheel.
|Huff's Spring garden is pumping"! Notice the Mexican Bush Marguerite, Sun Drops, Santa Barbara Daisy and|
Verbena de la Mina.