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Wildflowers colored our path through the desert.

Wildflower Field Trip: Joshua Tree – Grand Canyon & Beyond

Last week we took a wildflower field trip to see not just the superbloom in California, but the desert landscapes of Joshua Tree, Sedona, and the Grand Canyon in Arizona. It was mind-blowing and more beautiful than I could have imagined.

You’d think, as someone who grew up in Southern California, that I had journeyed to these evocative locations before. But this was my first time. So come with me on a tour with a beginner’s mind.

Joshua Tree

Joshua Tree boulders are made up of molten lava and granite overrun by water and time
Wild blue flax and phacelia decorate are popping up all over.
Bladderpod and California bluebells (Phacelia campanularia) contrast against the rocks.
Desert poppies mix with wild blue flax, and Salvia columbariae (chia seeds come from here).

And of course, Joshua Tree would be named as such without this…

They populate the land as far back as the lava-rock mountains. The roadside is carpeted with Brittlebush plants (yellow flowers).


Our journey took us to Sedona next, from boulders to red rock mesas. It was surprising to see familiar plants in Sedona.

Sedona’s red rocks loom overhead as we approach. Hundreds of millions of years are evident in those layers.
Juniper, oak, manzanita, and pine were among the familiar foliage in Sedona.
Southwestern mock vervain popped out of the rocks along the trail. I thought it was yarrow at first.
Lupines and the scent of chaparral sages (yes, even in Sedona) greeted us on each hike. What a surprise!

Then on to the Grand Canyon!

Given all the rain the Southwest got this year, everything was as green as could be. Pine, fir, and juniper trees jutted out from the rocks.

Breathtaking (literally) views kept us mesmerized for hours.
It always amazes me that stuff can just grow out of a granite rock or sandstone. It gives me hope for my veggie garden this season.

Superbloom – Antelope Valley Wildflower Field Trip

The Antelope Valley hosts one of the biggest blooms in California. We opted not to go into the Preserve since lines were miles long to get it. Roadside offered a great show instead.
Fiddleneck flowers (Amsinckia manziesii) contrasted the orange poppies.
Fremont Goldfields (Lasthenia fremontii) were low to the ground, but bright as ever. They kinda stole the show.

And of course, the reason why we head to a superbloom in the first place:

wildflower field trip - poppies
California poppies shine in the sun and close up in the evening. You can see pigmy-leaved lupins in the back right. They also were scattered throughout.

Wildflower Field Trip Back Home

We returned home to our very own superbloom at Gardenerd HQ. It’s a wild mess out there, but it’s beautiful.

wildflower field trip
Our own swath of poppies includes cream colored poppies (center) from Renee’s garden seeds. Throw in some calendula, nasturtiums, borage and whatever else you love, and you won’t have to leave home to enjoy a superbloom. Stay tuned for our YouTube video with more details on the superbloom visit next week.

This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. Tam Ross

    After 2.5 years without a road trip me and my partner will finally be back on the roads 🙂

    We have booked a car for 3 weeks at the beginning of October. The trip starts in Los Angeles and we will go to Grand Canyon and back.

    In short it’s Vegas, Zion, Bryce, Horseshoe Bend and Antelope on the way to get to Grand Canyon. Then on the way back Sedona and Joshua Tree.

    1. Christy

      Sounds wonderful, Tam. That’s a great trip to look forward to. Enjoy the journey. There will be a lot to see!

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