Winter rains could lead to spectacular floral display at California poppy reserve
By Amy Graff
The winter rains could trigger a poppy explosion in the California desert this spring.
The Antelope Valley California Poppy Reserve outside Lancaster has received the minimum amount of rain, 7 inches, to make a vibrant bloom possible. The weather over the next couple weeks will determine the future of the sprouts.
A late freeze, a heat wave or a three-week stretch without rain could wipe out the bloom.
“We need the rains to continue on a regular basis to maintain the bloom,” California State Park Interpreter Jean Rhyne says. “That’s really what they need. With the past years of drought, there isn’t a lot of moisture built up in the soil. If we’d had several years of good rain and enough moisture content in the soil, the plants would be growing early enough to carry them through a freeze or heat wave. The roots needs to be deep enough for them to tolerate extreme conditions.”