A few people have asked me about the wildflower conditions in Arizona this year. It is better then California, but it still isn’t very good. But there is a bit of good news, but more on that later.
As we drove across the desert areas of California a couple of weeks ago, I didn’t even see wildflowers along the edges of the highway – a place you can almost always count on some color thanks to the concentrated water run-off. Almost from the moment we past into Arizona we started seeing wildflowers, but unfortunately, they are largely found on the shoulder of the roadways.
There are a few flowers here and there especially in washes. But, in areas where some years you could find thick fields of poppies, you might see a few dozen. On hillsides that can be solid yellow with brittlebush, this year there are just a few patches. One of the best places I have seen for brittlebush is on the hillsides of the Superstition Mountains. Unfortunately even many of those blooms are cooked, and you have to really search to find some decent looking plants. So far I haven’t seen a place that I would say is a must visit.
So what is the good news? I have been seeing lots of cactus beginning to bloom and the large rainstorm that past through this area certainly can’t hurt – I think Fort McDowell received 3/4 of a inch about a week ago. For exercise I have been mountain biking in McDowell Mountain Regional Park and over the past week I have seen a increase in the number of blooming cactus. The same is true for areas of Tonto National Forest. I found the above bloom last night at the Superstition Mountains – here blooming cactus was harder to find, as this was the only one I spotted. But for flower fans, the beginning cactus bloom in some areas should be welcome news.