Lovely Lompoc: That Wildflower Moment

Road-close blossoms are putting on the petal-perfect show.

THAT NEW BLOOM: Juuuust when a wildflower aficionado thinks that things have begun to wrap up for the season, a fresh spread of buds and blossoms is sighted, and springtime continues along its mirthful, marvelous path. There were the February sightings of cactus flowers around the California deserts (regions that are still seeing some impressive action, even into April), and then the poppies and brass buttons and goldfields of March, as well as the other flowers found in less arid expanses of the state. The fourth month is delivering, too, both at Carrizo Plain National Monument and around Lompoc, a town known for its impressive flower fields. But the flowers springing up around the mural-cool destination as April revs up aren't in cultivated plots but rather can be found upon hillsides, and along roads, and in other areas that are ready 'n ripe for some spectacular wildflower action. Legging it to Lompoc for a day? Make for...

LA PURISMA MISSION STATE PARK, where morning glory, prickly phlox, and other flowers are making a stunning stand, or Highway 1 "just past the Gaviota Pass" for a look at lupine (oh, and those classic California icons, poppies). Jalama Road is known for its mustard-y sights, as well as poppies, and Santa Rosa Road and Drum Canyon Road are favorite wildflower (and wine) destinations, too. A best bet? Check in with Explore Lompoc, to gauge the flower scene and get the very latest reports, before making for the Santa Barbara County burg. Or await the arrival of the Flower Fields, which are, of course, not wild, but still offer petal people quite a visual show.

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