Joshua Trees in Bloom

The desert pops with subtle colors come April.

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DESERT IN FLOWER: Springtime and wildflowers not only go together well, they're one of the examples people cite when they want to reference one of the most long-running pairings in all the world. Sorry, peanut butter and jelly. Too bad, mac and cheese. Springtime and wildflowers have been around for a lot longer. But wildflowers in California aren't simply the sorts of buds that spread across a hillside or dell, all poppy-like and low to the ground (though we do have our poppies, too; they are the state flower, after all). Our Golden State flowers can show up in the desert, atop cactus, and in the prickliest of conditions. Take the Joshua Tree, one of the most recognizable bits of flora our state has to offer. Right 'around April the plant's white bursty bud begins to make its notable appearance. But because our Joshua Trees are a bit spread out, the National Park Service kindly keeps an eye on things, reporting back when flowers are seen in the desert areas around the national park.

A HANDY PDF: Because there are so many things popping just about now in and around the interior of California, the NPS has a handy PDF that guides flower fans to the prettiest of blooms. The bloom strength is rated, too, so you can get a sense of what is really going all out and what is blooming on the more conservative side. The update last week shows reports of Joshua Trees, Creosote bushes, and Mojave yuccas all doing that showy springtime thing. The whole listing is here, with the canyons and basins one might find them in. It's also rather timely, too, given that the desert not too far from Joshua Tree National Park is getting a major influx of music lovers this week. What to do in the downtime? Flower-watching is a plenty meditative pastime.

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