If the beloved buds of the Antelope Valley California Poppy Reserve subscribe to any daily media services, perhaps Flower Headlines or Petal News, they surely are in the know about what's happening in places not too far from their home territory.
The terrific bloom that's popping up around Death Valley National Park, a once-in-a-decade event, give or take, has made national news, and Anza-Borrego Desert State Park isn't far behind, as of late February, on the flower-fantastic front. Lilies are popping up in the largest contiguous state park in the United States, and other specimens, like sunflowers, are following showy suit.
Which brings us back to the state flower, that orange-hued icon of fluttery, petal-breezy beauty, that visual symphony of color and hillside profusion. Poppies are known for laying it down each early spring, sometimes thickly, in the Lancaster region, but here's the update on 2016, in two short words: not yet.
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Let "not yet" be your flower-seeking cry, as you and your hiking friends suit up for a day of legging it near Lancaster. Let "almost but not quite" guide you as you plan your Antelope Valley excursions in the coming days, those springtime struts so many SoCalers anticipate.
But here's hope to hang your sun hat on: A few poppies are doing their poppy-style popping up thing, as of Feb. 25, per the reserve's official site. A "handful," in fact, are saying hello to the 2016 bloom. Poppyists, of course, long for more than a handful. They want to see that sweet and sometimes rare profusion of poppies, one that didn't quite kick in last year, due to a heat wave.
The poppy reserve says that "a moderate bloom" is expected, though "bloom peak time" and "how long the season will last" both are in the remain-to-be-seen category as of the final weekend in February. There are other lovely things showing up in the area, too, do note; wee buds like goldfields and fiddleneck are already making February cameos.
As for the visitor center? That opens on Saturday, March 5.
So there's a guidepost for your planning: Let the second week-ish of March be your loosey goosey placeholder for poppy-viewing fun times. But best keep an eye on the reserve's Facebook page, just in case the poppies decide to arrive a bit earlier than the second or third week of the month.
Nature is on its own schedule, of course, and it is up to we flower fans to flow with its various arrivals and exits.
Let's hope, though, that all of the Lancaster poppies aren't swayed by the amazing event happening in Death Valley, and they keep to their usual time track. The orange emblem of spring may make a later entrance than its floral desert-based cousins, but what an entrance the poppy often makes.