Albino white poppy at Bartlett Lake

Albino white poppy at Bartlett Lake on Sunday, March 15, 2015

I had heard mixed feedback on what was happening out at Bartlett Lake for wildflowers, so I decided to take a quick spin up there yesterday morning to see for myself and to form my own.

Brittlebush at Bartlett Lake on Sunday, March 15, 2015

Brittlebush at Bartlett Lake on Sunday, March 15, 2015

How good the bloom is up there depends on your perspective.  If you’ve never seen wildflowers before in the desert, you’ll likely be impressed. If you experience the 2005 or the 2009 bloom you might be slightly underwhelmed.  Regardless, enough flowers are blooming to make it worth a visit now and within the next two weeks.

Along Bartlett Dam Road, keep your eyes open for nice patches of smaller Mexican gold poppies dotting the hillsides starting around milepost 8 to milepost 11 on the north side of the street.  After milepost 10 (but before milepost 11, near the Tonto National Forest sign), a vibrant patch of sizable poppies is already peaking.  In this same area, the flanks of the cliffs are starting to show blankets of yellow.

Because a fair number of these poppy fields face east, you might not spot them as you drive in (but will be blatantly obvious on the drive out).  So either bring a driver to free you up to scout or glance over your shoulder occasionally as you come into this area so as to not miss some great photographic opportunities.

Perennials like brittlebush, chuparosa, and fairy duster are out in force, but it looks as if there’s even more to come in the weeks ahead.  A nice patch of lupine appears along Bartlett Dam Road near the turnoff for Forest Service Road 459 on the shoulder as well as along FSR 459 near the Rattlesnake Cove turnoff.  A handful of chia, cream cups, filaree, and desert marigolds round out the showing.

Multiple blooms on strawberry hedgehog cactus in South Mountain Park on Sunday

Multiple blooms on strawberry hedgehog cactus in South Mountain Park on Sunday

If poppies are what you seek, I’d recommend heading that way within the next week. Perennials making a good start and will look great (if not better) over the next two weeks. For more information about Bartlett Lake, check out page 96 in our first edition of the “Wild in Arizona: Photographing Arizona’s Wildflowers” book (the second edition should start shipping on Monday, March 23!).

I also hiked the Telegraph Pass Trail in South Mountain Park and Preserve on Sunday afternoon.  Overall the desert landscape presented few flowers on the ground, but on the lower elevations of this trail, the strawberry hedgehog and cholla cacti displayed impressive color.  Some strawberry hedgehog cacti showcased 8-12 beautiful blooms!  Probably have about a week left to see these splashes of color there.

Happy wildflower hunting,

Closeup of Strawberry Hedgehog Cactus along Telegraph Pass Trail on Sunday

Closeup of Strawberry Hedgehog Cactus along Telegraph Pass Trail on Sunday

5 Responses to “Arizona Wildflower Field Report: 3/16/15”

  1. [...] See photos at: Arizona Wildflower Field Report: 3/16/15 » Wild in Arizona [...]

  2. Alright Colleen! I know people say that you’re the nicest person in the world, BUT for those of us in the northeast posting these beautiful picture that you took YESTERDAY is just mean. Please don’t stop.
    Snow yesterday and more tomorrow. The only color we have in Maine is red cheeks.

    • HAHAHA! Bob, well it’s been a little torturous for those of us who love snow and ice to watch you northeast people posting awesome pics of what winter looks like! LOL! That said, can’t decide if I should I send a shovel or a snorkel to you? Stay warm! (Or escape to Arizona…mwahaahahaa!)

  3. March 27, 2015

    Today we went to Peridot Mesa on the Apache Indian Reservation. We did see some orange poppies but not a field like I was hoping. There were small patches here and there.

    First we took your advice and got a permit for $10 at the Bashas , you had mentioned, and the man at the customer service told us that if we were to get caught without one, it could be a fine of $175.

    We had stopped at another store, before Bashas , a travel store, that was about 1 mile away from Bashas and the cashier said, “oh, you don`t need one.”. I told her that I wanted to take the writer`s advice of this Wild in Arizona book and get the permit. I felt comfortable being on reservation land, knowing I had taken your advice about the permit.

    Going into the west side of Globe, coming from Superior and Miami, the streets were lined with yellow and orange poppies. It did look like some were planted intentionally but others had grown wild. It was beautiful. I took several great shots.

    Thank you for your tips on where to go and what to see as I didn’t know of the poppies in the Peridot area. It also gave us a new place to explore.

    We ordered your 2nd edition of Wild in Arizona, today and I am so excited to receive it. I got an email that it had already been sent out. I can`t wait.

    We are frequently up in the northern part of Arizona , around Ashurst and Lake Mary, so I will be anxiously awaiting your blog in late summer of this area.

    I am so thrilled that I found your site and am anxious to read your upcoming blogs.

    Carolyn Curtis

    • Hi Carolyn,

      Thanks so much for your lovely note. It thrills us to hear you enjoyed the bloom out at Peridot Mesa! Even a single poppy is a miracle in the desert.

      We hope you’re also enjoying and starting to plan new adventures with our newest book in hand. Our desert bloom has been downright bizarre (almost a month early and everything blooming all at once very quickly), but we are looking forward to a great cactus bloom (going on now) and the upcoming monsoon bloom, especially in the high country where you frequently visit.

      As we see things, we’ll keep trying to post here. In the meantime, keep shooting! We greatly appreciate your support and kind words!

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