Bumper Crop of Poppies Not Just Nature’s Doing

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Hundreds of orange poppies have brightened up the Claremont Avenue highway ramps this spring, but Mother Nature had a helping hand. Scenic Streets volunteers spread nearly two pounds of seeds last fall hoping for lots of color about now. The on-ramp near Hudson has put on a particularly good show in recent weeks.

"Even we were a bit surprised." says Lee Patterson, one of the volunteers. "Like many Californians, our state flower has a mind of its own, and we weren't sure what kind of germination rate to expect." He notes that the results could have been even stronger with just a bit more precipitation earlier this year.

The group also sowed Blue Lupine seeds that got off to a strong start but then perished due to lack of water in January. "Luckily, dozens of daffodil bulbs donated by Keep Oakland Beautiful helped fill in some gaps" says Patterson. "But we'll try the Lupine seeds again next year. They look terrific mixed in with the poppies."

The temporary spring flowers have added a splash of vibrant color to the hundreds of drought-tolerant shrubs and trees the group has planted since forming just two years ago. Neighbors with green thumbs are encouraged to volunteer one flexible hour a month at www.scenicstreets.org.