Do you remember the 60′s initiative of former First Lady, Lady Bird Johnson to plant wildflowers along the nation’s highways? It seemed everyone back then was enamored of daisies in their hair and wild things growing in the fields (and some of them got us in trouble!) Flash forward 50 years and the quest to catch a glimpse of fields filled with riotous wildflowers in full bloom gets thousands of travelers planning their spring road trips. This year the unusually stormy rains of this past winter promise a spectacular wildflower display. Here’s a primer on where to find landscapes painted in every color of the rainbow courtesy of mother nature.
Texas – Wildseed Farms, Wildflower Celebration April 3-18th
Located between Austin and San Antonio Texas, you’ll find Fredericksburg and Wildseed Farms, one of the premier producers of wildflower seeds in the United States. In April their 200 acres of meadows, walking trails and fields erupt with swaths of bluebonnets, red corn poppies, verbena, Indian paintbrush and dozens of other species. During April there will be celebrations each weekend with live entertainment, brewgarden chuck wagon BBQs and pick-your-own bouquet walks. Don’t miss the intriguing Butterfly Haus with over 200 species of butterflies floating from bloom to bloom.
Nearby you’ll also find the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center in Austin founded by the former First Lady and actress Helen Hayes. Over 178 acres are devoted to nurturing the native plants of North America in 16 themed gardens. Their current newsletter has a terrific article on hikes throughout America that will bring you to wildflower vistas.
California - When it comes to a dazzling productions, no one does it better than California. The spectacular picture at the top of our post was taken along Highway 58 in San Luis Obispo County. This area is renowned for jaw dropping floral displays along the Temblor Range – well worth a spring road trip! Traveling further south in California (northeast of Los Angeles) you’ll find Lancaster and the Antelope Valley Poppy Reserve. Their annual California Poppy Festival takes place from April 24-25 in celebration of the State’s flower – the poppy.
For breadth, variety of color and ultimate showmanship, head way down south to the Carlsbad Flower Fields where you will find a dazzling crop of ranunculus bulbs just coming into bloom. The Flower Fields of Carlsbad farm are open from now until May 9th from 9am to 6pm daily.
Splendid wildflower displays can be found throughout California, Arizona, New Mexico, Nevada and Texas. Tune in to the daily wildflower reports and pictures at DesertUSA – wild updates, and get out where the ‘Wild Things’ are!