California has had record rain this year resulting in snow in the Sierra Nevada and the local mountains, as well as a bumper crop of wildflowers in Anza Borrego State Park.  I took a chance that my timing was right and drove south recently for my first visit to this park, the biggest in the state!  As I came over the mountains, this was the view.

Borrego Springs and beyond as seen from Montezuma Valley Road

Borrego Springs and beyond as seen from Montezuma Valley Road

As you can see, there’s green in the desert, and sure enough, the flowers are blooming!

A few wildflower samples

I was uncertain about the terrain, so I signed up for a tour of the park, particularly, the wildflowers.  I’m glad I made that choice.  I doubt my little car would have made it through some of those rough roads.  A small group of us, led by the intrepid Wade, set out in search of flowers.  We weren’t disappointed.

Desert Sand Verbena spread across the hillsides

Desert Sand Verbena spread across the hillsides

Verbena is a short plant that grows in clumps.  They spread profusely along the ground.  From the road, the landscape looks like it has a purple blanket.

Mixed in with the verbena were several other flowers.  Some, like the Popcorn Flowers, were short and created ground cover. Others, like the purple lupine, were tall and spikey.  One of my favorites was the Desert Chicory.  I think it looks a lot like a daisy.

Desert Chicory

Desert Chicory

I especially like the touch of red on the underside of the petals.

The desert flowers seem to grow in clusters.  I suppose so much depends on where the wind carries the seeds and on where the rain falls.  These flowers seem delicate.  If one thing goes wrong, they don’t bloom.  That isn’t scientific; it’s my impression of things.  Don’t take my word for it.  Wade did say that not all the flowers bloom.  Some lay dormant in the ground.  If the first batch doesn’t do well, there is always a second chance because seeds are in reserve.  That’s another of my unscientific explanations.

It pays to go with a guide

We drove along the washes, seeing flowers in almost every location.  It was a great tour with a small group of folks all eager to learn about the desert and its plants.

The desert wildflower tour

The desert wildflower tour

The photo above gives an accurate view of the park.  Most of it looks like a desert.  The wildflowers add a burst of color.

Here’s one last flower image.  These yellow blooms are aptly called Desert Dandelion.

Desert Dandelion in a bed of verbena

Desert Dandelion in a bed of verbena

Tips

  • These desert flowers will not last.  The blooming season is about three weeks.  If you want to see them, you had better hurry!
  • If you’re interested in a tour, here is a link to California Overland Desert Excursions.
  • Of course, the obvious applies.  Don’t pick the flowers.  Be careful not to trample them, as well.

To see more images from my adventure, please click here.

 

 

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