First Flower Report: Joshua Tree Wildflowers

An arid expanse gets colorful with the coming of spring.

BUDS AMONG THE BOULDERS: It's not difficult to find delightful sights to capture your attention while inside Joshua Tree National Park. The boulders, for one, which seems to take on different hues and levels of softness and hardness during the day, depending on where the sun happens to be in the sky. (We won't rank them, but, truly, isn't that time that falls about an hour or two before sunset the most marvelous at all, for creamy golden boulder-beautiful hues?) Then there are all of those cholla cactus, and the overlook that allows you to take a peek at the San Andreas Fault, and the big sky, and the clouds, and, and, and... Well, the things to admire within the desert expanse are pretty numerous. But each springtime, if we floral fans are lucky, and if precipitation has been on our side, we get one more thing to admire, for a brief time, if it shows up and if we know where to look: wildflowers. California's most arid regions are not wildflower-less, as anyone who has made the trek to Death Valley or the Anza-Borrego around March knows (especially if they've been out following a rainy winter). It's a sight from a fairytale book, bright yellow petals against the backdrop of a hard-dirt ground, but one that is making its debut for 2015. For...

THE FIRST FLOWER REPORT... of Joshua Tree National Park was posted ahead of Valentine's Day on the park's Facebook page, and it is promising. "The chuparosa (Justicia californica) bushes are starting to show their best" as are "bladderpod bushes" and "desert globe mallow." And if you know Smoke Tree Wash, look for a bud-filled Bush Peppergrass. One charming note from the Feb. 13 report? That ocotillo blooms at Pinto Basin Road are being "guarded by hummingbirds." Certainly a hummingbird knows a good thing when a good thing is found.

FIND YOUR GOOD THING HERE... flower lovers, and keep a watch for weekly reports throughout the springtime.

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