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A Patch of California in the Heart of Vienna

The other day we stumbled upon a patch of California right in the middle of Vienna: California poppies grow in the botanical gardens of Belvedere Palace. Spotting the deep yellow flowers on their thin, bent stalks, I was reminded of how these plants cover vast expanses of desert in California in the spring. The California poppy, scientifically known as Eschscholzia californica, is the official flower of the state of California. It blooms from February to May in the wild. The best place to see it in L.A. is the Antelope Valley Poppy Reserve in the Mojave Desert.

Images: California Poppies in Vienna in August and in the California Poppy Reserve in April 2005


debi said…

The Poppy Reserve is beautiful. I love the desert - its introverted personality. Quiet most of the time, then sudden bursts of color. But, we have to pay attention, or we'll miss it!

Thanks for your comment, Debi. Your characterization of the desert is very fitting. It is my favorite landscape, along with the Alps. They are blanketed in flowers once a year too. The alpine rose, a small type of rhododendron blooms in early summer. It is pink.
Lorraine Seal said…

Before moving to Ireland and then Salzburg, I spent most of my life in California. I love the California poppy, the broad expanses of gold, brilliant in spring sunlight. That would be something I miss, though the compensations here make up for it.

I remember the kind of superstitious belief we had as children that you couldn't pick them because of their protected status. (No unlike, I suppose, fearing to cut the tags off mattresses.)

In our back garden in Southern California, I used to treasure the spring poppies, even though they looked desolate and barren once the blooms had faded. The year we moved to Ireland, someone sent me a packet of California poppy seeds, but I never planted them, believing that the climate was not hot or dry enough. Perhaps I should have had more faith. Imagine finding them growing in Vienna!

Thanks for the memories!

Thank you for sharing your memories, Lorraine. I hadn't heard about the superstition but did learn that California poppies, though not as frail as the European corn poppy, do not last long in a vase.

Our neighbor in L.A. grows patches of California poppies in her front yard. They shine between lavender bushes, a perfect color combination - and a drought tolerant mixture too.
Lorraine Seal said…
Lavender and California poppies -- there's a vision for you. Drought tolerant is right.

It's pointless to pick the poppies or put them into water. Like the meadow flowers of the Alps, they're better enjoyed in nature.

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