From the iconic California poppies growing wild along the freeways to the cultivated buds of commercial flower fields, San Diego blooms in the spring. A primary burst of February blossoms summons an early start to the season, then the floral display marches on through May in a spectacular parade of vivid colors. While the profusion of petals is everywhere this time of year, here are some of the top spots to enjoy the spring show.
Relish a diversity of exotic and indigenous flora at the San Diego Botanic Garden. Located in Encinitas (just 30 miles north of the city), the tucked-away garden features 37 acres of trees, shrubs and plants arranged by theme and region. Four miles of trails wind through throngs of towering palms, lush tropical rainforests, groves of rare bamboo, vivid desert landscapes, collections of unusual succulents and colorful fields of native flowers like holly-leaved cherry and California lilac.
Plants from around the world flourish in San Diego’s mild climate, and Balboa Park boasts some of the best examples. Discover beautiful buds from Down Under in the Australian Gardens or relax among wisteria and cherry blossoms in the two-acre Japanese Friendship Garden. Enjoy romantic English garden floras at the historic Marston House Garden, then take time to stop and smell the roses in the Inez Grant Memorial Rose Garden. Don’t forget to visit the iconic Botanical Building for seasonal flower displays (right now, it’s Easter lilies) and a must-snap shot of the famous lily pond.
Each spring, Mother Nature transforms the scorched landscape of East County’s Anza-Borrego Desert into a Technicolor wildflower wonderland. The 600,000-acre state park is home to a variety of flowering shrubs, plants and cacti, which, depending on temperatures and rainfall, burst into life during this time of the year. Head to the desert at its blossoming best and fawn over wild heliotrope, desert lavender and the sunset shades of apricot mallow. Call the park’s 24-hour wildflower hotline at 760-767-4684 for updated info on blooms before planning a tour.
From March through May, a stunning display of giant tecolote ranunculus transforms the Carlsbad Flower Fields’ 50 acres of cultivated hillside garden beds into a sea of riotous color. Stroll among rows of the vibrant flora on foot or hop on a wagon pulled by antique tractor for an open-air ride through the fields. Get lost in lofty views of the sparkling Pacific below or get lost in the fragrant puzzle of the Flower Fields’ Sweet Pea Maze.
Photos Courtesy of Joanne DiBona-San Diego and iStock-aimintang