Wildflowers Bloom on the Irvine Ranch Natural Landmarks
Experience 24 Hours of Wildflowers Online March 21 and See What’s Blooming Where
Orange County, Calif. (March 1, 2017) – Irvine Ranch Conservancy and OC Parks invite the community to enjoy the sights and smells of wildflowers on the Irvine Ranch Natural Landmarks by registering for a free public program. Nature lovers can also explore the blooming lands through a virtual wildflower tour on Tuesday, March 21 beginning at 6 a.m.
Heavy rains led to an early wildflower season this year, and many of the Landmarks are in full bloom ahead of spring. Limestone Canyon is sprouting with common wildflowers including arroyo lupine (Lupinus succulentus) and Mariposa lilies (Calochortus). Visitors to Black Star Canyon can spot California lilacs (Ceanothus) and bright yellow fiddlenecks (Amsinckia). In the City of Irvine, trekkers enjoying the Turtle Ridge Trail in Bommer Canyon can spot elusive shooting stars (Dodecatheon meadia) and visitors to Orchard Hills can admire vibrant blue hyacinths.
In celebration of wildflower season, Irvine Ranch Conservancy is launching their 2nd annual “3…2…1…Bloom: 24 Hours of Wildflowers” virtual tour. The tour will include 24 hours of wildflowers and feature a photo of a different bloom posted every hour to the Landmarks’ Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter pages. Each post will include a picture of a native wildflower, information on the species, and links to programs on the Landmarks where you can see these flowers firsthand. Join the virtual tour by “liking” the Landmarks’ Facebook page at Facebook.com/irlandmarks, following us on Twitter (@IRLandmarks), or adding us on Instagram (@OCMountainstoSea).
OC Parks, City of Irvine, and City of Newport Beach and Irvine Ranch Conservancy offer a variety of programs where visitors can appreciate wildflowers in bloom while connecting with the land. Whether registering for a docent-led activity or exploring the open spaces during self-guided access, wildflower season is waiting for you in the great outdoors. Click the programs below to register for a free program and enjoy the many blooms of the season.
- Wildflower Showcase on Sat. 3/4 kicks off at 10 a.m. and welcomes outdoor enthusiasts of all ages to admire Orange County native wildflowers in bloom. Visit the Native Seed Farm and learn about 45 different local plant species grown onsite while enjoying the views of the land. Pack a picnic lunch and join a guided walking tour.
- Tuesday Morning Fitness Hike on Paved Hicks Haul Road on Tues. 3/7 travels through OC Parks’ Limestone Canyon Nature Preserve, which is currently sprouting with wildflowers! This weekly fitness hike helps you connect with nature while finding fresh air and exercise on the Landmarks.
- MidWeek Hike: Quail Hill on Weds. 3/8 is a great way to take a break and spot blooms in the City of Irvine’s Quail Hill. Enjoy views and quiet time in Irvine’s beautiful Southern Preserve, and be sure bring plenty of water for this 10 – 12 mile hike.
- The Natural History of Baker Canyon on Sun., 3/19 welcomes nature lovers to enjoy views of the Santa Ana Mountains as well as the wildflowers and plants of oak-shaded Baker Canyon. Travel along a 3.5-mile hike and learn about the local habitat.
- Dig In! Plant With Us at the Native Seed Farm is a reoccurring stewardship program always looking for volunteers to harvest seeds from native spring wildflowers. Take in the sights of the 14-acre farm and help the Landmarks by harvesting seeds from local wildflowers. All tools and training are provided, and nature lovers age 8 and older are welcome.
- Buck Gully Reserve in Newport Beach is open daily from dawn to dusk, where it’s common to see bush sunflower (Encelia californica) in bloom along the trails.
- Bommer Canyon is also open for self-guided access on designated trails, where sticky monkeyflower (Mimulus aurantiacus) and popcorn flower (Cryptantha intermedia) have been known to sprout.
Irvine Ranch Conservancy offers a full calendar of spring activities and free, guided programs that include hiking, mountain bike rides, horseback riding, habitat restoration and special events for nature enthusiasts of all ages and fitness skill levels. Visit http://LetsGoOutside.org for more information and to register for free today.