California Super Bloom

Turning the corner onto Lancaster Road, the fields of orange poppies reflecting brilliantly under the bright blue sky. This is the scene that greets anyone who visits the Antelope Valley California Poppy Reserve. The California poppy, also known as Eschscholzia californica is as essentially Californian as cliff-lined beaches, the Mojave Desert, and redwood forests. These orange poppies along with other beautiful flowers reveal that California is now drought-free for the first time in nearly a decade. This year’s “super bloom” has shown that California’s rainfall will no longer be a “big story” as of January of 2018.

The Antelope Valley California Poppy Reserve is located 67.5 miles from South Pasadena, California and 15 miles west from Lancaster. Once the bloom is at its peak we all look toward Instagram photos of our cute dogs with a blurry background of the beautiful California orange poppy. Entering the valley in a small sedan, moving slowly towards the payment booth with snacks in hand and feet on the dashboard. Going over the rules of what is not allowed and how to protect the flowers so that they will continue to be available for people to view these orange poppies. During spring break of 2019, students from all over South Pasadena have been able to experience the vibrant orange fields of California poppies and also learn about the history behind other flowers. Flowers you may have also seen are owl's clover, lupine, red maids, slender phlox, forget-me-nots, goldfields, cream cups, and coreopsis. You may have also seen the Painted Lady Butterfly, known for the most widespread butterfly in the world. These butterflies especially like living near flowery meadows and mountaintops. From the awareness that we have now, the Mojave Desert fields of orange poppies expand and give people the realization that California is no longer in a drought. Due to El Niño and climate change, the severe rainfall has to lead to mudslides from wildfires along with many other dangers. On occasion when conditions are just right, this landscape formed by ancient lakes and volcanoes transforms into an outstanding place. Steady winter rainfall, cooler temperatures, and calm winds are needed to encourage dormant seeds to spring from the ground in abundance and start to spread throughout the fields.

Winter rains in California has brought a spectacular bloom in many areas. A chart recording the California Poppy Reserve total rainfall has shown that there was extreme rainfall at the beginning of January of 2018. Its last recording was in May of 2018 which states there was an average of 4.5 inches of rain compared to the year before, 2017, with no rainfall. Many people contributed to water conservation by taking shorter showers, not running the water while brushing their teeth and using less water to flush toilets during the drought.

The wonderful rainfall and bountiful blooms all contribute to the radiant colors of orange, white, yellow, and purple.The California poppy has brightened the thoughts and worries of people for practically a decade. “Flowers always make people better, happier, and more helpful; they are sunshine, food, and medicine for the soul.”


Laureen Wong