The fact that I was out last night photographing this cool statue, one of many in and around Borrego Springs, probably speaks volumes about the current wildflower conditions – there aren’t too many right now.
Anza-Borrego is well know for its desert wildflower bloom, and because of this, a lot of people like to read about the predictions for the current season – myself included. Some years there just aren’t any wildflowers, but a good bloom has a big economic impact on this community, so it makes sense that wildflowers are the source of a lot of speculations. And us nature photographers love a good bloom. So, here is a bit of a summary from what I have read, heard and seen over the past week. In short, there is good news and bad news, let me start with the bad news.
There are many factors that lead to a good bloom and the relationship between most of them are really not all that well understood. But, there is no question that lots of rain is a good thing. The rainfall totals are based upon a June 1 water year, so year to date figures begin in June. Two years ago was a good but not great wildflower year, and the visitor center had already received 7.43 inches of rain by this date. Last year was a poor year and the visitor center had received 3.60 inches of rain by this date. By comparison, this year to date, the visitor center has only received 2.93 inches of rain, well less then half of two years ago.
So what is the good news? Well these figures were as of yesterday, February 19th. Last night it rained pretty steady all night long. I haven’t seen the latest figures, and I know rain on a RV can sound like more then it really is, but judging from all the standing water this morning, it was significant.
In addition, It is helpful to have some rain in the Fall, but most beneficial to have the majority of the rain during the winter months. If most of the rain came in September, most of it would be wasted. Even though this years totals are very low, much of it came during the winter. This area received over an inch of rain at the end of January, and more rain last night could be perfect timing.
We have only been in the area for about a week, and already I have seen some big changes in the desert – lots of areas are turning green. Now granted, a lot of the green could be weeds, but it looks like some of it is wildflowers beginning to sprout, at least in certain areas.
So I agree with what most of the experts are saying and there will be a wildflower bloom this year. That is good, I have been here on years where there isn’t a bloom, and it is a bummer. Now the question is – how good will it be? Stay tuned for updates.