The Recipe for an Arizona Wildflower Superbloom
It's a wonderful time of the year, when the chill of winter moves into the warmer and more decorated days of spring.
We've been through some WEATHER this year, which is really saying something for Arizona. Phoenix gets an average of 296 sunny or partly sunny days annually, so any departure from that is definitely something worth looking at.
This year's winter has been cooler, damper, windier than what we're used to. We may be a little cranky about the loss of our usually sunny days, but the increased moisture has helped us refill some of our rivers and lakes, and of course our underground aquifers.
All this WEATHER has led to an unexpected and potentially beautiful side-effect: Arizona could see a SUPERBLOOM of wildflowers this season.
Scientists say conditions are just right and it's likely we could see some incredible views all over the state of Arizona.
The Recipe for a Superbloom
As the Arizona Sonoran Desert Museum explains, there are several factors that go into making a beautiful super bloom for the wildflower season.
First, the wildflower annuals have to germinate in the fall. There's a "critical window" between late September and early December where temperatures have to be just right.
Second, wildflowers need a "triggering rain" of at least one inch that happens during this window, and it should occur as early as possible at the end of the summer heat.
Third, at least an inch of rain needs to fall every month through March. Total rainfalls that are between five to eight inches of rain during this window are better.
Finally, the rains should be well-spaced, creating "both an unusually early and an unusually wet winter rainy season."
So, get your cameras ready, dust off those hiking boots. Head out to some of the most beautiful spots in Arizona and prepare to see these beautiful wildflowers while they're in season.
AZStateParks.com suggests a visit to various Arizona State parks to catch this one-of-a-kind natural show. According to the website, Picacho Peak State Park, is already in bloom as of mid-March with poppies and lupines blooming in abundance.
If you're getting a late start, Red Rock State Park is at a higher elevation, so the blooms are expected to show up sometime in May and continue through mid-June.
Either way, a trip to see these incredible flowers may be as easy as a trip to your own backyard.
Watch closely for hidden gems; I once found a breathtaking field of wildflowers right off the beaten path in a little nook behind an abandoned building in Bisbee. It became the perfect place to take my daughter's graduation photos!