In the spring of 2005, it was reported to be “the year” for desert wildflowers in the South West and California. By that, they mean “the 100 year level”. And so it was. I caught some of the blooms in various places.
The wildflower blooms depend on sun, temperature, moisture content and elevations. There are many websites that predict the bloom period heights and concentrations. California State Parks does a fine job.
It is very striking to see such abundant color juxtaposed to such already color saturated soil and rock. Amazing actually. The conditions that have to be met in order to have an epic year are cool winters and then an abundant amount of precipitation late in the winter followed by warm temperatures in late winter. And no frosts following that. El Nino can power up this situation.
A slope of Poppies mixed with lupines and brittlebush has the affect of a impressionist painting. The Tehachapi Mountains, Anza Borrego SP, Death Valley NP, Joshua Tree NP, Antelope Valley Poppy Preserve SP, Los Padres NF are favorite destinations spots for me.
2011 was shaping up to be a great wildflower year but El Nino did not capture the Pacific in such a way. The best wildflower batches were witnessed in Los Padres outside of Santa Ynez.