Super Bloom Latest: Flowerfest

 

Last updated 4/17/2019 at 3:42pm

Sicco Rood

Mother Nature has continued to grace the Anza-Borrego Desert with a spectacular show by displaying blankets of vivid colors, but with all its beauty, comes the pain. As the long anticipated flowerfest has arrived to the small town of Borrego Springs, visitors flocking to see the growth of the wildflowers in the area, many wonder if it is even worth the drive? It is, trust us.

It is not often there are blankets of green on the hills when descending Montezuma Valley Road, or seeing Ocotillos showing off their green and red posture, or the welcoming committee of blooming brittlebush.

As those who come to seek flower solitude have found the desert oasis as the perfect getaway, providing the right balance of mixtures of the vibrant colors and weather.

But how does the bloom this year compare to Super Bloom in 2017?

The current seasonal rainfall accumulation of 7.85 inches prior to the expected wildflower Super Bloom is well above our historical average seasonal rainfall of about six inches, and about 15% more rain this season than prior to the 2017 Super Bloom.


It's also been about three degrees Fahrenheit cooler this season than in 2017, which could, if carried forward, portend an extended bloom, according to botanists. Forecasts, however, favor warming conditions going forward and a little more rain, too.

Almost two inches more rain fell this February with a record setting 2.86" than two years ago, providing critical moisture just prior to bloom time. The record rainfall has possibly extended the bloom season, according to Kate Harper, Desert Research Botanist. Harper also noted that because of the amount of rain the desert has gotten, it triggered a third wave of germination causing more species of flowers to make their appearance.

We've also had sprinklings of rain in March of this year, while there was no measurable rain in March 2017.

In 2018 – 19 through mid-March, every month except January shows slightly cooler than average mean temperatures (by 2.9 degrees F). Cool temps thus far in March have served to delay the Super Bloom, but with temps after March 12 expected in the mid-70s to the mid- to even high-80s over the following 15 days. Those warmer temps, together with the late rains, caused those seeds that were dormant under the desert floor to burst open, indicating it'll be another major Super Bloom.

The most popular area thus far is just a few minutes from the town, found at the end of Di Giorgio Road and into Coyote Canyon, which has steadily grown in size over the last month. This area is quite spectacular with carpets of yellow, white, blue, purple and patches of other colors. The flowers begin about 1/2 a mile before the end of the road with fields of yellow desert dandelions on both sides of the road displaying a joyful greeting.


At the end of the blacktop, the flower fields extend along both sides of the dirt on Coyote Canyon Road, where to the right is open to foot traffic only. Coyote Canyon Road is graded and in good condition, while some sections remain closed due to prior flood damage.

To the east of the dirt road, you can see a sea of golden desert sunflowers with highlights of purple sand verbena, white dune evening primrose, and yellow poppies.

A downside to this popular area is the fact that it is popular, so the area can be crowded, especially on the weekends, so visitors to this area should try to come early, or on the weekdays to avoid the crowds.

As you drive south on S2, there are two spots in the south end of the park, overlooking Canyon Sin Nombre and Carizzo Wash, where desert sunflowers and lupin cover the area and still look good, despite being a little past their peak.

There is an extensive bloom of parish's poppies that are still drawing in crowds, along the south facing slopes of San Felipe Wash. Drive south from Borrego Springs Road to the area known as "Texas Dip" and then park on the side of the road at the bottom of the hill. Walk to the west along the steep slopes of the wash, the hillsides are covered in poppies.


On March 11, the hillside of parish poppies, mile marker 83.4 on Highway 78, botanist Kate Harper said, "The second big wave of flowers has begun, while the first wave blooms still linger. Many lower elevation washes, canyons, and hillsides are busting with golden patches of poppies."

A vast sea of desert sunflowers stretches for miles to the north of Devil's Slide in the Ocotillo Wells SRVA, as far as west to the areas bordering Buttes Pass Road.

As for the preparation of the bloom compared to 2017 goes, it is safe to say everyone is better prepared, as State Parks & Recreation officials and staff, local Anza-Borrego Desert State Park staff, the Anza-Borrego Foundation and Sheriff's department have been ready months in advance, striving to make this an enjoyable experience for all.

Traffic maps, wildflower location maps and brochures, which also include where the statues and bathrooms are, and emergency services are provided at the Anza-Borrego Desert Natural History Asssociation Nature Center, Visitors Center and the State Park Store located at The Mall. Folks can also stay updated with the flowers at the ABDNHA sponsored wildflower website, borregoblooms.org or by calling the wildflower hotline at 760-767-4686.

While many continue to enjoy what Mother Nature has offered to our desert, ABDSP officials remind us all not to doom the bloom, and to use proper flower etiquette when exploring the areas bursting with flowers.

– Look at the flowers and take photographs, and then leave the flowers there for others to enjoy

– If there is a path going through the flowers in the direction you want to go, please use it to prevent trampling flowers

– Save your dog from cactus and yourself from a ticket; leave your furry friends at home. Dogs must be on a leash and on an established paved or dirt road – so, not in the flowers

– Be patient. Park & ABF staff and volunteers are working as hard as they can to make sure you have a good experience. If you are smiling, they are smiling

Dubbed as one of "Nature's Greatest Shows," the flowerfest is upon us. Inhale the beauty of it, and be sure to have your allergy medication on hand if needed. Let's enjoy nature's finest.

 
 

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