Spring Wildflowers after a Rainy Winter

Native Gardener’s Corner-Member’s Tips, Tricks, and Techniques

“Thinking of the good rains we received this winter—what native wildflowers have been spectacular in your garden this spring?”

2019 July-August

By Dan Songster


This column is a regular newsletter feature offering chapter members and local experts a chance to briefly share information on many things related to gardening with natives.

Paul & Kathy Hanson: “In fall of 2017 we scattered a bunch of wildflower seeds we bought along with a few new native plants. Due to the dry winter that year, nothing came up and we sort of forgot about it. With all the rain this past winter, we had a wonderful surprise when our yard filled with flowers. Most notable were the Tidy Tips which covered our hillside where we’ve had trouble getting anything to grow.”

Ron Vanderhoff: “I always enjoy the late spring blooming nature of clarkia. When the poppies, lupines and phacelias are gone, the clarkia take over. But this spring, with the abundant late rains, the clarkia blooms were especially spectacular and very long lasting.”

Leon Baginski: “Blue eyed grass and cal poppy really hit it big time. Also an unusual explosion of gilia capitatum. Coming up in the cracks in the stonework, lots of joy for pollinators.”

Mark Sugars: “All of the wildflowers in my yard have done well, but there are two stand-outs.  The Dichelostemma capitatum that I planted as seeds have flowered for the first time, and the blooms on my Oenothera elata ssp. hirsutissima are larger than they have ever been.”

Brad Jenkins: “Lacy Phacelia (Phacelia tanacetifolia): This year this annual wildflower became robust across the backyard and competed with new 1 gal plantings. Positive: Great for bees and other insects. Caution: If they grow well next year I will be tempted to thin, especially next to new long-term plantings.”

Celia Kutcher: Lupine, Chinese houses, twining brodiaea, Clarkia unguiculata, rust-flowered monkey flower, golden yarrow, and gum plant have all been great.”

Pam Vallot: “Seemed to me the wildflowers bloomed later than usual and therefore are just finishing up now going into July. The most noticeable for me would be the Clarkia’s. But I was thrilled to have school bells come up from a corm gifted to me by a fellow CNPS member from last year’s garden tour.”

Dennis Keagy: “Lots of poppies, sparse lupine, and some blue-buttons.  We had tossed out a tablespoon of mixed native flower seeds 15 years ago and have never had to plant another flower. Nature’s random beauty gives the garden new surprises each year.”

Dan Songster: “Almost everything did well, and while nothing matched the California poppies, others to note include the Tansy-leaf Phacelia (Phacelia tanacetifolia) which was huge; Prickly Poppy (Argemone munita)large and Still going; Golden or Chick Lupine (Lupinus microcarpus var. densiflorus) was big and bright and also lasted long; and the Bird’s Eye Gilia (Gilia tricolor) though delicate looking as an individual flower was certainly impressive in big swaths.”