In celebration of wildflower season, Irvine Ranch Conservancy is launching their 2nd annual “3...2...1...Bloom: 24 Hours of Wildflowers” virtual tour. The online tour will feature a photo of a different bloom posted every hour for 24 hours to the Irvine Ranch Natural Landmarks’ Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter pages. Nature lovers can follow the tour on and social media and learn which wildflowers are popping up where, and register for a free program to enjoy fresh air, exercise, and the eye-popping blooms on the Landmarks. The extra-wet winter means this year’s floral displays could be exceptional.
“Last year we launched the inaugural ‘24 Hours of Wildflowers’ and not only was it fun, it was a great catalyst to get people on the Landmarks,” Rachel Lambert, Native Seed Farm Stewardship Coordinator said. “We loved seeing people respond to all of the photos we shared on social media, and can’t wait for this vibrant virtual tour to kick off once again in celebration of our early wildflower season.”
Each social media post will include a photo of a native wildflower, information on the species, and links to programs on the Landmarks where you can see these flowers firsthand. Last year, the virtual tour included popular native species such as the California poppy (Eschscholzia californica), which is already popping up throughout the open spaces. Another flower that was featured in last year’s tour and making a showing in 2017 is the Fiddleneck (Amsinckia) whose arching blooms make it easy to identify. Visitors to the virtual tour and the lands can also keep an eye out for the elusive chocolate lily (Fritillaria camschatcensis)!
The Landmarks are home to a variety of programs that are free with required registration, and offer spectacular views of the region’s seldom explored canyons, oak woodlands, and wildflowers in bloom. To join the virtual tour and wildflower celebration, “like” the Landmarks’ Facebook page at Facebook.com/irlandmarks, follow us on Twitter (@IRLandmarks), or add us on Instagram (@OCMountainstoSea). Taking photos while visiting the lands? Use the hashtag #OCMountainstoSea for a chance to be included in the Landmarks Facebook album or to be reposted on the Instagram account.
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! Visit the Landmarks’ social media pages on Tuesday, March 21 for a view of wildflower season on the lands and click the programs below to register for a program:
- Dig In! Plant With Us at the Native Seed Farm on Weds., 3/15 welcomes outdoor enthusiasts to 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 to harvest seed and enjoy surrounding wildflower blooms. This program is reoccurring.
- Irvine Lake View Hike on Sun., 3/26 kicks off at 8:30 a.m. and leads hikers up the east side of OC Parks’ Fremont Canyon to reach a beautiful view of Irvine Lake. Trekkers can expect some steep areas but the 6-mile hike will travel at moderate pace with frequent stops to enjoy the views.
- Wildflower Walk – Black Star Canyon on Mon., 4/3 welcomes nature lovers to enjoy wildflowers in all shades, shapes and colors. Get an up close look at the blooms and enjoy the majestic scenery of the surrounding canyons and rolling hills, and learn about the history of OC Parks’ Black Star Canyon.
- Buck Gully Reserve in Newport Beach is open daily from dawn to dusk. Keep an eye out for bush sunflower (Encelia californica) in bloom along the trails, and travel at your own pace.
- 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.
Enjoy the Irvine Ranch Natural Landmarks this spring and take in the sights and smells of wildflower season. Remember to wear appropriate clothing and footwear, and always bring sunscreen, water, and a snack. Specific programs suitable for nature lovers as young as age 8, visit http://LetsGoOutside.org for more information and to register for free today.