Friday, March 25, 2011

California Wildflowers: Hoping the Best Blooms Are Yet to Come...

Hurricane Vista
Will the Temblor Range look as colorful
in 2011 as it did here in April of 2010?
Although Anza-Borrego Desert and a few other Southern California locations have reported nice displays of wildflowers in some areas, Spring is slow to get out of bed this year.  The unusually cold and rainy weather definitely has played a part in delaying the wildflower season in much of the state.

Scattered wildflowers are just starting in the Alabama Hills and Owens Valley, but just to the south, the Indian Wells Valley around Ridgecrest has been warm enough to encourage large displays of goldfields with other varieties just coming to life. Too much cold and snow to get things rolling yet in the Kern County Mountains and Tehachapis.

Hillside Lupine Dance
It's "wait-and-see" as people
hope for a bloom like this along
California's Central Coast
Similarly, Figueroa Mountain along the Central Coast seems to be confused with snow on top of the peaks and plenty of cold weather and windy conditions that are likely to delay any spectacular blooms in this area for a while.

Although rain is always most welcome in our drought-stricken landscapes, it's difficult to tell if it has come too late to get the wildflowers to make a grand appearance this Spring.

Two Track to Paradise
The Sierra Nevada foothils above the
Owens Valley in May, 2010
At this point, it looks like the middle to end of April as well as the month of May are promising for areas along the Central Coast, Owens Valley and high deserts, while the best bloom of all may occur early this Summer in mid-range elevations of the Sierra and later in July and August for the high country once the warm weather melts a good deal of that snowpack.

Wildflower reports are being updated here almost daily as well as going out in short form on Twitter sometimes several times a day so stay tuned!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Ridgecrest Desert Wildflower Festival...

This Weekend is the Ridgecrest Wildflower Festival...On behalf of the Wildflower Conservancy, I'm honored to be the keynote speaker for this year's Ridgecrest Desert Wildflower Festival on Saturday, April 16th, in Ridgecrest, California.

The presentation, entitled, "Capturing Ephemeral Beauty: A Celebration of California╩╝s Wildflowers," will feature my photography and efforts by the Wildflower Conservancy to encourage people to enjoy wildflowers responsibly. 

It's happening at the Maturango Museum, 100 W. Las Flores, on Saturday at 2:30 PM.  If you're in the area, please stop by.  It's a wonderful opportunity to see wildflowers collected by permit on display and talk with experts in California's Native Plants.  Here's a link to the full program:  Ridgecrest Desert Wildflower Festival Guide

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Back Country Wildflower Hunting After A Series of Big Storms: There Is No Joy in Mudville...

Why I need 4WD High Clearance...With so much rain in recent days and more to come, Spring wildflower hunting can get trecherous.  Even paved roads can get washed out and dirt roads can turn into rivers of mud that are virtually impenetrable by any kind of vehicle. 

Chances are, it's going to take a couple of weeks for the flowers to show after these latest storms anyway.  By then, the roads should be at least somewhat dry and passable with care.  With luck, they'll get freshly graded so rock falls, trees and other hazards are out of the way. 

Of course, if someone with a huge vehicle drives through them while they're still muddy, you could be facing something like the road depicted here.  Even dry, negotiating this in my Corolla was quite the challenge!

Unless you have a 4x4 with high clearance, wait until things have a chance to dry out thoroughly.  And even if you do want to be adventurous and test the limits of those all terrain tires, make sure to check locally for the latest road conditions.  It is not fun to get stuck.  Be safe out there!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

A Watershed Moment for the Wildflower Conservancy...

A Watershed Moment in My Photographic Life...This morning, I was thrilled to see that the latest issue of Watershed Wise, a quarterly regional publication of the Los Angeles San Gabriel Valley Rivers Council is out and available online.

This is very exciting as it's the very first magazine to feature one of my landscape images on the cover. They contacted me a while back and asked to use one of three of my shots from the Station Fire that they had found on Flickr. I suggested this one, and, as promised, they provided a "Front Cover" credit on the second page along a nice mention of the Wildflower Conservancy including the website.

If you want to read the whole magazine, it's pretty interesting: Watershed Wise - Station Fire Recovery and Rehabilitation (Note: This is a 14MB PDF!)  -- Kahlee

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Still Waiting for the Wildflowers?

Above the CrowdToday's Los Angeles Times has a nice article on So Cal wildflowers: What will flower season bring?  While it primarily covers Anza-Borrego and the Antelope Valley Reserve, it provides an indicator of how the season is shaping up so far.

Please remember to email your reports to the Wildflower Conservancy.  New ones are starting to come in every few days as the season gets growing.  And don't forget, mini-updates also are being posted daily on Twitter.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Look What's New: Online Wildflower Indentification Resources!

Desert Candle in the WindIf you're looking to identify those beautiful flowers, we now have a page for links to helpful Wildflower Identification Resources.

Further down, there is separate section that includes contact info for various local chapters of the California Native Plant Society.  This fine organization does wonderful work in wildflower preservation, and is a great place to get involved at the local level.  Enjoy!