One of the pleasures of living east of metropolitan Los Angeles comes when winter turns to spring.
We’ve had an unusually wet winter after years of punishing drought. (Governor Jerry Brown declared the drought over two years ago. Unfortunately, that was followed by one of the driest winters recorded since l877.) But this year’s rain and snow have produced glorious views and wonderful sunsets and this spectacular springtime. Right in our own back yard.
You didn’t have to hike up to the flowers, it was easy to drive by Walker Canyon on the I-15 or by the Antelope Valley Preserve in Lancaster to see hillsides painted with color.
In the patchwork quilt of towns that make up the foothills, there were flower blooms that colored roadsides and empty lots. And closer to home, in my small town of La Verne, we enjoyed a purple hillside as we drove on Base Line Road.
Poppies and California Blue Bells come early in spring. The California Peony blooms even earlier and is an uncommon wildflower. It is one of two species of western peonies that are native to the United States and the only one that grows in southern California. It is a graceful and shy flower that blooms in late winter for a month or so starting in February.
Traveling south to the Santa Rosa Ecological Preserve, we hunted chocolate lilies. These are also uncommon flowers, and like the western peonies, are very difficult to cultivate. This year, however, they made a grand show at numerous spots along the hiking trail that traverses the Preserve.
It is the middle of spring. The later blooming wildflowers, like California lilacs, lupine, phlox, larkspur, Chinese houses, paintbrush, farewell to spring and more, are still to come.
Would you like to share your photos of springtime? Send to firstname.lastname@example.org. We would love to see (and publish) what’s in YOUR backyard.
Snowy and sunset photos by Kirk McConnell.