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Friday, March 27, 2009

Bear Valley Wildflowers

Spring has sprung, and when the birds don't cooperate, wildflowers fill a bit of the void. Barb was up visiting from Monterey so we headed the hour's drive north to HWY 20 Eastward, then north onto twisty, windy, gravely Bear Valley Road. It's lovely having a Valley named for me, you know? Bear Valley Road gets you to one of the best wildflower viewing areas in the country - or so I decided to see for myself.

Bear Valley's first 8 miles are private road and if you get out of your car, true to its name, wild Bears are apt to run up & eat your face - or not.

Mostly not.

Bear Valley Road - rather gravely and bland to start

At first the claim of 'some of the best wildflower viewing the country seemed a bit overstated. The first wildflower I photographed was so... bland, I wasn't even sure it was a wildflower.

Almost too plain to even be a wildflower; Purple Sanicle

Mostly we did stay in the car, obediently viewing wildflowers out the car window - mostly.

Checking the Paintbrush Flowers just out the window

There was these strangely named flowers; 'Butter and Eggs'. Don't be fooled as I was, when I looked it up, this balloonish looking wee things are parasitic - that's why it is reddish brown, and not green - it steals nutrients from other plants. Bwah, ha, ha, ha, ha!

Butter and Eggs

Then after many miles of not much more than the odd buttercup, Barbara yelped; Wildflowers ahead! There, in a meadow, set far back from the gravel road were loads of pretty purply-pink flowers, that I had to peer at with my binoculars just to get a handle on them - they seemed to be lilies of some sort.

Lilies of the field!

A closer look and I was happy to announce - and wrongly so - we had found wild crocus - not so fast Lady Linneaus! Late night research revealed them to be the rare and beautiful Pink Adobe Lilies.

Close-up of the rare Pink Adobe Lilies

A few more of the lily lovelies

We were quite pleased with those lilies of the field. They were so far out in the meadow, we had to photograph them using telephoto lens. The Adobe Lilies were Barb's favorites for the day, and next we found my favorites.

Cream Cups - my personal favorite for
their poofy, starburst centers

Cream Cups dotted the Valley in spots

Potpourri of Goldfields,Bird's Eye Gilia,Cream Cup buds & Fescue

Western Wall Flowers


Popcorn Flowers speckle a pasture white

Barb photographing the uh... pretty scenery

Redbud and a view of the hills

Chia - not a pet, but still, it's a bit of Dr. Seuss, isn't it?

Tidy Tips; wildflower or new brand of internal ear cleaner?

All together it was an nice colorful, flowery, sort of day.


  1. thanks again, with all the restructuring going on around here Im lucky if I get to see a dandelion. thats beautiful thanks

  2. Hey There - dandelions just don't get no respect. When I was a kid I loved blowing their poofy heads after they quit blooming.

    I keep hearing about community gardens and such in New York; things that weren't there when I was. Do they have that kind of thing where you are?

  3. yes they do, and in Manhattan there is a floating botanical garden parge (sp?),our farmers markets sell the produce that the community grow, ie. a special education school has a garden which the children and the parks department tend, they eat some sell the rest. Starrett City were dad lives and were I will be living also has a garden which is located next to the Prkwy.

  4. There were many wildflowers blooming in Bear Valley this year on 20mar2010. We estimate that this year's peak bloom of wildflowers in Bear Valley will be in early April. I'm hoping to make another trip then to get some more pictures.