March 11, 2019

Lessons in Wildflowering: Pull Over, No Matter What

I was on my way to Lake Elsinore for the "superbloom" when my tank run empty at the junction of the 91 and 15 freeways, so I pulled off to fill up.

Right there at the freeway exit, there was a field of flowers so magical and vibrant, I thought it must've been landscaped and not wild.

But I couldn't imagine Del Taco planting a wildflower garden in an empty lot next door. And it wasn't clear that the property even belonged to the fast food chain franchisee.

So I parked my car—and instead of getting a box of "Fresh Faves" with some crinkle fries, I headed 'round the chainlink fence to explore.

There were California poppies galore, of course—after all, it's the season (and our state flower).

But there were also angiosperms—members of the aster family—maybe of the genus Gazania or Helianthus.

But in that moment, whether daisy or sunflower, they were all flowers of the sun.

A few others were, like me, more interested in blooms than burritos...

...and fortunately the empty lot had plenty of bare paths for walking, allowing us to enjoy this rare display of anachronistic nature without trampling it.

I didn't know then, but this was to be the highlight of my day—not only because the sun disappeared a few miles further south.

At the Del Taco, not a bud had been picked or trampled with butts or feet.

Visitors to this unexpected site were far more respectful and far less selfish than what I would find later in the poppy fields of Walker Canyon.

And although I found the latter part of my wildflower hunt disappointing, I love that this happened. I'm so glad I pulled over—no matter how dubious the destination may have seemed.

Related Posts:
Springing Forward in Search of Wildflowers
Photo Essay: Poppies Peaking in Antelope Valley
Photo Essay: An Explosion of Wildflowers in the Antelope Valley
Wildflowering Among Weeds

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