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.
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.