It's been a strange winter in California. November and December were exceptionally wet, January and early February were almost completely dry, then we finally got some rain again in late February and the beginning of March. Now the weather has turned warm and dry once more, bringing thoughts of spring, and wildflowers.
Most of the best wildflower areas in Southern California received above average rainfall, as you can see from this NOAA map. But that six-week dry spell at the beginning of the year may have thrown many of the plants off their rhythm, so it's difficult to predict what kind of wildflower season it might be. It seems likely that somewhere, sometime, we'll see some great blooms—but where, and when?
The best I can tell you at this point is to look and listen for the wildflower reports as they come in. While Carol Leigh has discontinued her California Wildflower Hotsheet, she still administers the CalPhoto group on Yahoo, which is always a good resource for wildflower reports. Kahlee Brighton has also started listing flower sightings at the Wildflower Conservancy.
DesertUSA is another valuable site, with wildflower reports for Arizona, Nevada, New Mexico, and Texas as well as California. Also check out the Theodore Payne Foundation’s Wildflower Hotline. Sandy Steinman has a comprehensive list of links to wildflower reports on his blog.
These links just scratch the surface of what’s available, so if you know of other good sources please feel free to post them in the comments. And of course I’ll keep you up to date on what’s happening around the Yosemite area on this blog. So far, not much!
- Michael Frye