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Cheers! Spring for Orchids and Wildflowers

March 16, 2017

Spring means time for wildflowers, strawberry pie, and the Santa Barbara Orchid Show! Cheers!

With St. Patrick’s Day tomorrow, Spring Equinox on Monday, and Easter just around the corner April 16, it’s time to get out and enjoy the flowers and the sunshine at the Santa Barbara Orchid Show, a music festival, the desert, or just a gathering of friends! Keep reading for details!

After all of the rain this season, much of California is starting to experience a SUPERBLOOM of wildflowers, beginning with the more southern desert areas and working its way north. A superbloom occurs because after a period of drought and then exceptional rains, the seeds take advantage of the conditions and bloom like crazy! And the desert is the best place to experience it — the lush wildflowers contrasts with the stark and seemingly barren landscape.

I got down to the Anza Borrego Desert for a three day, 33 mile backpack trip along Section A of the Pacific Crest Trail. This sections waltzes along side the Anza Borrego State Park for most of its 110 miles, sometimes dipping in, other times offering panoramic views. While this section offered plenty of beauty when I backpacked the first 53 miles of it in 2015, this year the wildflowers carpet some areas and more areas will be covered in flowers soon! See below for some examples. The cactus haven’t started blooming yet but some of them were simply covered in buds.

One moment it smelled like I was walking through the perfume department and the next it smelled like spilled juice boxes at a pre-school! In the evening, because there was so much moisture, you could smell damp earth, and in the morning there was fog deep in the valleys. I’d meant to drive into Anza Borrego proper, but I ended up getting a shower and shuttling a PCT hiker to her car. However, many locals said the best flowers were along San Felipe road (S2) and where I was hiking while the State Park was so crowded with people there was a traffic jam and they ran out of gas!

In mid-April, head to the Poppy Preserve near Lancaster or the Carrizo Plain.

But there are flowers blooming inside too! This weekend, head to Santa Barbara for the 72nd annual Orchid Show held at the Earl Warren Showgrounds March 17-19 where you can see over 25k species of orchids grown by 50 different exhibitors from around the world. Tickets are $14 for adults, and $12 for seniors and students; children 12 and under are free.

As one of the largest and oldest shows of its kind in the country, you can expect to see thousands of orchids in blooms in every imaginable shape, color, pattern and texture.


In addition to the exhibition halls filled with beautiful displays of various kinds of orchids, growers offer demonstrations and workshops on how to maintain your orchids, plus the Santa Barbara Zoo will provide STEAM activities for adults and children.

Of course, you have probably noticed the green houses as you drive up the 101 around Carpinteria. Did you know most of them are full of orchids? When I was going to grad school nearby, I would often stop and walk through some of them, and even take a plant home to enjoy for a reasonable price.

If you want to get your hands dirty, maybe pull weeds or plant some flowers or vegetable seeds or starts, join us at the Art City Garden to celebrate the Equinox on the day of the Equinox Monday, March 20 from 5pm on when we will gather together and connect with the elements… earth, sea, sky, fire.

e•qui•nox (ˈi kwəˌnɒks, ˈɛk wə-) n.
The time when the sun crosses the plane of the earth’s equator, making night and day of approximately equal length all over the earth. Spring has arrived!

Celebrate the Vernal Equinox with us as we enjoy the wonders of the elements working together! Balance your Monday with Yoga, Music, Creative expression, Dance, Potluck. Join us in the magical stone (and food) garden of Art City located at 197 Dubbers, Ventura, CA!

If you want to hear some music among the greenery and flowers, there are two music festivals coming to Live Oak Campground: Starry Nights this weekend March 18 and 19, and Lucidity April  7-9.

For more about that Champagne Jacquart pictured above, read this post from 2015 or this one published Sat. March 18, 2017.

Happy St Patrick’s Day! Happy Spring Equinox! Happy Festival Season!

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