On the Road and In Your Backyard

Good Morning All,

On The Road and In Your Backyard is a weekday feature spotlighting reader submissions. From the exotic to the familiar, please share your part of the world, whether you’re traveling or just in your locality. Share some photos and a narrative, let us see through your pictures and words. We’re so lucky each and every day to see and appreciate the world around us!

Submissions from commenters are welcome at tools.balloon-juice.com

Have a wonderful day, and enjoy the pictures!


Note – info for pic 4 was eaten by the system – sorry Bill. It looks like the meta data for that pic had lots of crazy characters so you may have issues with it, and I bet that’s why.

Today, pictures from valued commenter 🐾BillinGlendaleCA.

The Bloom

Here in sunny Southern California it’s been raining, in fact it’s been raining quite a bit. Here, in Beautiful Downtown Glendale, we’ve received 19 inches of rain since the beginning of 2019, that’s quite a bit for us. When we get rain, the little seeds in our hillsides, those hillsides that the rain didn’t wash into the Pacific, turn into flowers. Billions of flowers. This happens though out the region(the desert, the coastal hills and inland hills). In some areas The Bloom is pretty spectacular, one of these areas is near Lancaster north of Los Angeles and is the home of the State Poppy Park(the California Poppy is the state flower). another is the hills along I-15(or as we call it, The 15) north of Lake Elsinore in inland Riverside County.

The plan for this trip was a visit to Mission San Luis Rey in Oceanside and then a drive over to The 15 and a brief stop at The Bloom and finally a stop at a Hindu temple along The 71. Time permitting, I was also thinking of also stopping at a Buddhist temple(it’s the one that Al Gore visited in 2000). It turns out that seeing The Bloom was a bit more time consumming(getting off the freeway took about 20 minutes) and there was a hike up a hill involved, so the temples were deferred to another day.

Taken on 2019-03-18 00:00:00

Lake Elsinore, CA

While you can see some of The Bloom from the freeway and the side road next to the freeway(that’s where they have you park), to really experience The Bloom you have to hike up one of the two trails at either end of the road. I elected to take the trail to the south(it turns out that the trails loop back, but it’s a several mile hike). The orange flowers are the aforementioned California Poppy, the yellow is Wild Mustard(yes, the wild mustard is not a myth) and any purple is probably lupines. They had a chart at the trailhead with pictures of all the various flowers that you’d see.

Taken on 2019-03-18 00:00:00

Lake Elsinore, CA

Would a set of my photos be complete without an IR shot, hell no! I was unconvinced that IR would work for The Bloom, and the IR shot itself didn’t(everything, including the flowers are white); however, adding a visual color overlay makes it work.

Taken on 2019-03-18 00:00:00

Lake Elsinore, CA

The Bloom extends pretty far east, and you can even see it from space!



Info for this pic was eated – sorry!


Taken on 2019-03-18 00:00:00

Lake Elsinore, CA

Several weeks ago, Our Blogfather who art in West(By God) Virginia posted a picture of folk posing for pictures in the poppies with a sign in front of them say to not get into the poppies. This is at the beginning of the trail, an area where you CAN wander around the poppies and take pictures with them. And yes, I did see folk doing exactly what Cole showed in his post.


Thank you so much 🐾BillinGlendaleCA, do send us more when you can.


Travel safely everybody, and do share some stories in the comments, even if you’re joining the conversation late. Many folks confide that they go back and read old threads, one reason these are available on the Quick Links menu.


One again, to submit pictures: Use the Form or Send an Email

34 replies
  1. 1
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    I’d love to see that IRL, if it weren’t for all the assholes there IRL. One more asshole would be kind of superfluous.

  2. 2
    opiejeanne says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: I think the sight of all of those flowers is just so astonishing that people who don’t garden just don’t think. They are overwhelmed by all of that incredible beauty.

    and yes, I’m that killjoy who yells at them to stay on the path.

  3. 3
    JAFD says:

    Good morning, gentlepeople !

    Anyone interesteđ in a NYC-area meetup in the next few weeks ?

  4. 4
    opiejeanne says:

    Hey Bill! Did you see the masses of painted lady butterflies when you were there? Upland had a huge swarm of them, just everywhere.

    One summer in Riverside after I planted cleome seeds in the spring and the flowers came out we discovered that the Red Admirals liked to chase the Painted Ladies.

  5. 5
    ola azul says:

    Popeyed with poppies!

    Is the poppy bloom just a SoCal thing? Was in NoCal for a purty good stretch in ’14-16 w/o hearing tell of popeyed poppies, but it were inna parched-earth drought.

  6. 6
    ola azul says:


    … One summer in Riverside after I planted cleome seeds in the spring and the flowers came out we discovered that the Red Admirals liked to chase the Painted Ladies.

    Knowing whether the Painted Ladies were receptive to the implacable ardour of the Red Admirals would add immensely to the enjoyment or displeasure of this observation.

  7. 7
    JPL says:


  8. 8
    opiejeanne says:

    @ola azul: I doubt the two varieties are compatible. The Red Admirals were probably either curious or territorial, but it’s a fun sentence to say to people: Red Admirals like to chase the Painted Ladies.

  9. 9
    opiejeanne says:

    @ola azul: There was concern that the drought had lasted so long in SoCal that many of the less hardy wildflowers would be lost for all time.
    In 2017 we visited the Antelope Valley poppy preserve. There were other things blooming, like the Lacy Phacelia in this photo
    Red-stemmed filaree:
    blue dicks:

  10. 10

    @opiejeanne: For the most part the folk were pretty well behaved, I think I only saw a couple of people in the flowers(except in the area you can be in the flowers).

    @opiejeanne: Didn’t see any butterflies there, but when I went to Mulholland Dam the Friday before I took the trip south I did at the dam and on the trip back home though Griffith Park(over by Travel Town).

  11. 11

    @ola azul: Those years were pretty dry so there wasn’t a super bloom, also I think the poppies like the warmer climate in the southern part of the state.

    @JPL: Thanks.

    @opiejeanne: I know that Blue Dicks were on the sign with the info about the flowers that you’d see(though for some reason I thought it was Blue Balls).

  12. 12
    opiejeanne says:

    @🐾BillinGlendaleCA: Dave interviewed for a job with CalTrans in Eureka, and his friend who lived up there said they’d tried for several years to naturalize California poppies in the area but the seeds wouldn’t germinate the following year. I don’t understand this because we have them come up in our garden here in Washington and we’re just as wet a climate but also a lot colder. We have some come up every year here.

  13. 13
    opiejeanne says:

    @ola azul: There are other wildflowers that bloom in NorCal. While we lived in the east bay from 92-2001 the wild mustard played havoc with my hay fever. On a train trip from LA to Seattle in 1988 we went through a long cut in the Cascades and there were flowers blooming on either side of the train. Tall, blue and purple flowers. I think they were foxgloves but I’m not sure, and I don’t think those are native plants but it was a pretty surprise. .

  14. 14
    Tenar Arha says:

    @🐾BillinGlendaleCA: Really gorgeous today. Thanks.

  15. 15

    @opiejeanne: The north coast doesn’t get as much rain as you do, but it’s always fogy and damp so that might make it difficult. I had CA poppies out in front of my window here until my landlord decided to get rid of the ‘weeds’. I made sure to inform him(he recently sold the place) that I’d take care of that portion of the property. I’ve not been able to get them to grow back(I’ve got one that germinated but hasn’t bloomed yet).

    @Tenar Arha: You’re welcome.

  16. 16
    ola azul says:


    Now you say, sorta remember purple flowers in bloom in the spring a ’16. Lil more rain by then prolly helped. Also ‘member the wild turkeys cockle-gabble-gobbling in the hills across the canal in Point Richmond. Was walking the old cock thru the town streets one fine day and an entire flock came waltzing thru town at high noon, sashayed past the grade school headed for who knows where? Looked like the bridge to Marin Co. My dog watched ’em pass by, as if intently contemplating the ineffable, then screwed up his grizzled face at me as if to say: “Why *did* the turkeys cross the road?”

  17. 17
    ola azul says:

    Not that it ain’t already been said, but be remiss not say: really gorgeous pics, Bill. Tx. In these dark times, allus nice to reminded of beauty in the world.

  18. 18
    mad citizen says:

    I always enjoy the Bill pics, and these are especially beautiful. I like the IR shots also.

  19. 19

    @ola azul: Thanks.

    @mad citizen: I got some really good IR shots at the mission.

  20. 20
    Mary G says:

    Those are great. I haven’t been able to go to any of the big blooms, but just where I live there are millions of flowers, both weeds/natives and things people have planted. The hills are greener than they’ve been in years.

  21. 21

    @Mary G: The hills are pretty green, I went up to Crystal Lake yesterday(I actually made it to the lake this time) and from what I’ve see of other pictures it had more water, but it wasn’t full. I think the last time it was full was 1969 when we had weeks of heavy rain.

  22. 22
  23. 23
    Mike in Oly says:

    Beautiful shots. Would love to see this in person.

  24. 24

    @Mike in Oly: Thanks, it was pretty amazing.

  25. 25
    waratah says:

    Beautiful Bill. I like the closeup to show what made the gorgeous mass.
    Do you know what the blue flower is in the closeup.

  26. 26
    arrieve says:

    @JAFD: I’m in NYC. I’ll be gone the week before Easter, but otherwise mostly available.

    Gorgeous pictures, Bill. I grew up in the Bay Area and still get nostalgic for poppies and eucalyptus.

  27. 27
    Mike S (Now with a Democratic Congressperson!) says:

    Great pics! I’d love to see this display IRL, even with all the people.

  28. 28
    WaterGirl says:

    @Mary G: I imagine that it’s a bit like my flowers in my back yard. They had always done well, but after the tree crashed on my house, the same plants I had in the ground for years and years suddenly doubled or tripled or quadrupled in size. The only change was that they got a ton more sun. It was like my nice little plants turned into the incredible hulk, in a good way. Amazing to witness.

    Your earth finally got a good amount of rain so the flowers are going wild. It’s like lightning in a bottle – I hope you can all collectively burn the memories of the amazing flowers into your memories.

  29. 29
    StringOnAStick says:

    I remember being in what seemed like endless miles of poppies as a kid in the Central Valley, very early 1960’s. We were also collecting mushrooms that my mom pickled and canned in quarts. Now I know how risky collecting wild mushrooms is for the non-expert, but we got away with it. I think that poppy experience is one of several key childhood events that made me into a lover of the wild lands.

  30. 30
    J R in WV says:

    Wonderful pictures of a fabulous natural display.

    Congrats on all the rain, thanks for the photos!!

  31. 31
    Dan B says:

    @opiejeanne: You mentioned in a comment about your trip to sell your cabin that you’d seen some blue flowered shrubs in the El Cajon (sp?) Pass area. Were they Ceanothus? Otherwise known as California Lilac. They’re a common landscape plant in W Wa but short lived. There are selections that are pale blue or pink (eastern US native). Most are rich blue.

    Also, tall blue plants could be a non- native pea related to European Beach Pea. Foxgloves, a native, tend to be dark pink or slightly bluish pink or white.

  32. 32
    sukabi says:

    @opiejeanne: they may have been lupines, wild ones are a deeper blueish purple and color deepens the older the flower and have several stems per plant. Wild Fox gloves tend to be a lighter red violet on white with one tall stem of flowers.

  33. 33

    @waratah: Thanks, not sure about the name of the blue flowers.

    @arrieve: Thanks, though I’m a native, I’d never seen anything quite like this.

    @Mike S (Now with a Democratic Congressperson!): Thanks.

  34. 34

    @WaterGirl: As I told folk in SoCal when I got back from my visit, you really need to go see this.

    @StringOnAStick: It was pretty amazing even from miles away, orange hills.

    @J R in WV: Thanks.

Comments are closed.