How To Enjoy The Anza-Borrego Desert Super Bloom
Wednesday, March 6, 2019
Photo by Laura McVicker
Anza-Borrego Desert State Park is now in full wildflower bloom thanks to recent heavy winter rains. KPBS Evening Edition Host Ebone Monet went out to Anza-Borrego to take a flower tour with Nan Sterman, host of the gardening show "A Growing Passion" on KPBS TV. Here are some of the highlights of that tour.
Q: What signifies a super bloom? How does this come about?
A: A super bloom is just our term for when there’s an amazing amount of flowers out. And what’s happened, this year, was that there were rains in early fall. It’s really interesting. There’s always seeds in the soil. We don’t see them, but when the plants finish flowering they release their seeds. So there’s what we call a "seed bank" in the soil all the time. Those early rains started washing away, there’s water soluble chemicals in those seeds that keep them from germinating, from sprouting. And so the rain starts to wash those away, and then the temperature is just right, there’s just the right amount of moisture, and then they sprout. And then we kept getting rain and it’s been really nice and cool, and you get this kinda bloom. Everything is just right, and BOOM! You get a bloom.
Q: What would you say to someone who came out here. Saw all these beautiful flowers, maybe this purple on here, and got so inspired they wanted to try and plant it in their own garden?
A: OK, if you live here in Anza-Borrego, and you could find seeds for the desert sand-verbena, then you could plant it in your own garden. But if you don’t live in the desert this will not grow for you. This has adapted to these kinds of harsh conditions: really intense sun, very little rainfall, and the kinda soil which kinda looks like beach sand. There are other verbena you could grow that are adapted to garden conditions, but not this one.
How to enjoy Anza-Borrego's super bloom
Enjoying Anza-Borrego's super bloom comes down to planning a good, safe hiking trip. According to park officials, Arroyo Salado, Coachwhip Canyon, Ella Wash and June Walsh are lush with a variety of wildflowers. You can find maps and directions in the Wildflower Update and the California State Parks website.
Here are some things California State Parks wants you to know before you go:
–Each park is unique and has different rules, landscapes. Learn about Anza-Borrego and study its map before you head out.
–Dress appropriately for hiking and intense sun. Wear closed-toed walking shoes and light clothing that fully covers skin. Wear a hat and use sunscreen.
–Plan for not having cell phone signal or GPS out on the trails. It's known to be spotty or non-existent.
–Stick to designated trails wherever possible. Walk carefully and do not trample the flowers if you stray from the trails.
–Flower picking is prohibited.
–The use of drones requires special permission for each individual park.
–Bring food and water with you, but be sure not to leave any trash at the parks. Follow the park's "Pack it In, Pack it Out" rules of taking your trash with you when you leave.
–Fuel up your vehicle before making the trip. There is often no gas stations or restaurants out there.
–Check the weather before leaving because it can change quickly out there.
–Check with each individual park if dogs are allowed. If they are allowed they have to be on a leash. Never leave your dog in your car as temperatures can easily reach lethal levels. Bring extra water for your dog.
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