|on a good year|
|the day I went|
This week's arts and culture column is on the Antelope Valley Poppy Reserve, an hour and a half outside L.A.
It starts like this:
The Antelope Valley Poppy Reserve, located 15 miles west of Lancaster, is an 1,800-acre state reserve “located on California’s most consistent poppy-bearing land.”
On April 2, the website’s “Bloom Status” noted: “The season appears to have ended early, as last month’s rains came too late to sustain the bloom that had barely started.”
Or, as the lady behind the register in the gift shop observed to a fellow poppy seeker, “It just didn’t happen this year.”
I knew that before I made a field trip to the Poppy Reserve, on March 31. But visiting on an off-year, I figured, would be its own, different kind of salute to the California Poppy (Eschscholtzia californica), our state flower since 1903.
At the 2,000-square-foot Jane S. Pinheiro Interpretive Center (and gift shop), I learned about “The Great Poppy Lady,” an Antelope Valley resident and self-taught wildflower artist. In the 1940s, Jane painted watercolors of the local wildflowers that were declared by a UC Davis botanist to be “botanically correct and really a treasure.”
READ THE WHOLE PIECE HERE.