Further Places – Superblooms 2023
Inspired by the breathtaking photos of Rob Winter and Nita Badger at our April 2023 Redbud program, “Beauty and the Beast: California Wildflowers and Climate Change,” plus a chance conversation with Hannah Kang, I made a pilgrimage to Carrizo Plain. Just a single day there felt like I’d consumed a four-course visual meal of native wildflowers in their glory!
What Makes a Superbloom?
A superbloom is an usually high presence of wildflowers in bloom simultaneously. It requires a particular series of weather patterns: A couple of dry years in which annual seeds do not germinate widely but build up in the soil; enough fall rainfall in relatively warm temperatures that the soil becomes deeply moist, so large quantities of long-dormant seeds can germinate; and sufficient cloudy periods that the soil neither dries up nor freezes. The winter must be quite wet, and yet not torrential enough to wash away seeds or sprouts.
In spring 2023, these conditions occurred well enough that lots of native-plant lovers are making pilgrimages to superblooms.
Where to See Superblooms
Unsurprisingly, in superbloom springs, the first such displays emerge in Anza Borrego State Park, near the Mexican border. Then Joshua Tree National Monument, Antelope Valley, and northward to Table Mountain. Though far from complete, here’s a list of some topnotch places near and far to explore for wildflower explosions.
Central and Northern California
[images of Carrizo Plain & Table Mountain from Chrissy]
- Carrizo Plain (San Luis Obispo County) – Examples of what you may see:
- North Table Mountain Ecological Reserve (Butte County)
- Jepson Prairie Preserve (Dixon, Solano County)
- Sonoma Coast
- And so much more….
[images of Anza-Borrego from Hannah & Joshua Tree from Chrissy]
Call the Theodore Payne Foundation’s wildflower hotline for info on where to go in LA area (818 768-1802 ext 7.)
- Anza -Borrego Desert State Park (mostly in San Diego County). Wildflower hotline: (760) 767-4684
- Joshua Tree National Park
- Death Valley
- Antelope Valley (Los Angeles County)
- Where and How to Enjoy California Wildflowers in 2023
- Wildflower Bloom (CA State Parks)
Wherever you go, take special care to respect the wildflowers. Walk only in designated areas and trails, and avoid stepping on plants whenever possible.