Poppy Fields

Barbara: Is there any color more beautiful than the velvety yellow-orange of the California Poppy? It’s one of those colors that grabs your attention and won’t let go.

California Poppy with Owl's Clover

Each spring I put a trip to the Antelope Valley Poppy Reserve on my list of things to do and each year I wait too long and the flowers fade before I can get there. Last week my friend Jane came to visit and mentioned that she and her friend Sharon would be going and invited me along. I’m so happy I went (and kicking myself for all the times I didn’t go).

The California Poppy (Eschscholtzia californica) is a native wildflower which, before the 20th century, blanketed our coastal regions — imagine the sight as you approached the shores! It has been called copa de ora (cup of gold), la amapola and dormidera, referring its habit of closing up at night, when it’s cloudy, or when a cold wind blows. While poppies grow wild throughout California, this 1800 acre reserve is apparently one of only a handful of large flower fields left in the state — a very sad thought.

The wide, rolling fields are surrounded by the beautiful Antelope Buttes. Driving along a two lane road little patches of poppies tempted us, but it was the fields in the distance that were truly mesmerizing. It looked like an artist had brushed the hillsides with golden-orange paint.

There were many other wildflowers coloring the landscape along with the poppies, purple Owl’s Clover, yellow Bigelow Coreopsis, golden Fiddleneck, and Blue Dicks were among those we saw. There was a cold wind blowing the day we were there so the poppies on the windward side of the trail weren’t completely open, but it was spectacular nonetheless.

Let me say a little bit about the color in these photos. In landscape photos I normally don’t like supersaturated color. I think it looks like the old Kodachrome photos from the 60’s where everything is super bright, super saturated and very contrasty. But that’s the way it was out on the trail. The colors were so intense I could hardly believe it.

Many thanks to Jane and Sharon for letting me tag along. And you can bet I won’t be missing another year in the poppy fields.

6 thoughts on “Poppy Fields

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  1. Sorry for the out of place comment, but I stumbled onto this blog by accident when I went searching for ideas on how to deer and rabbit proof my garden. Since then, I’ve been following your blogs with great interest. I also,love the photographs. However, I am curious to know how the fence you erected in Block Island held up to the deer and rabbits. Is there anything you would improve? What did you do at the bottom of the fence–bury the netting into the ground or bend it back? I would love to know as I hope to take on a similar project within the next week or so. Keep up the good work.



    1. Hi Brian
      Glad your enjoying the blog! The deer fencing has held up wonderfully, except for the one time visitors left the gate open and deer wondered in.

      My husband used 8′ 4×4 cedar posts that were set in 2′ holes that we dug with a post hole digger, spaced about 8′-10′ depending on the length of run. The fencing is a heavy mesh plastic I believe we got from http://www.deerbusters.com/, fencing staples were used to attach the fencing to the posts. The fencing was bent in about 6-8″ and landscape staples were used to hold it down in place. It should work at keeping rabbits out, burying it would be ideal, there are no wild rabbits on the island. I really can’t think of anything I would change.

      Hope this answered your questions. Good Luck!

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