Many thanks to Parker Lefton for generously sharing this and many other of his gorgeous wildflower photos with us.
Photo selection for the week of May 2-8, 2014
California coastal wildflowers - If you're thinking those three words don't really go together, this page might be a pleasant surprise for you.
While there might not be huge multi-acre displays such as might be found in places like the Carrizo Plains, wildflowers can be encountered at many of the beaches and coastal areas in Central California during the springtime.
The photo above is a spectacular example of the stunning combination of beauty that can be found along the coast here - wildflowers, gorgeous hidden beach, the interplay of fog and sunlight and the grand slopes of Big Sur plunging into the ocean.
There doesn't seem to be an exhaustive guide to Central California wildflowers on the internet. However, there are some good, if incomplete ones such as this: Wildflowers of the San Francisco Bay area and Central California Coast. (Opens in new tab).
If you are interested in having good field guides, I've selected some books on California wildflowers from Amazon:
Wildflowers gracing a hillside at McWay Falls
Along the coast, wildflowers step back from the leading role they perform inland to become part of an "ensemble". It is not a "bit" part, to be sure, but one where all the players - the sea, the beach, the sky and the flowers - all play off each other's strengths.
It is a masterful performance in the presence of which our enthralled silence is the best ovation.
Montana de Oro (Spanish for "mountain of gold") gets its name from all the poppies which appear at this state park. There are numerous trails along the bluffs overlooking the ocean which are easy walks.
There are also many other more strenuous trails which lead up the hillsides to the peaks of the park. Vistas up and down the coast are the reward.
Point Buchon is accessible only as a guided walk, as it is located on Pacific Gas & Electric property. Click here for links to more information on reserving a place on a hike there.
Each of these places has a unique habitat, and thus the variety of the coastal wildflowers in them will be different.
Here is a small sampling from a couple places near Morro Bay...