Editor’s note: Please check with these garden before going. Gov. Gavin Newsom’s order on March 20 to close nonessential business may include these gardens.
Southern California’s hillsides and deserts skipped the wildflower superbloom this season, but don’t despair. April still brings spring flowers to the area’s botanic gardens and nurseries.
We’ve found places to visit where you can swoon over blooms while still practicing social distancing. Just remember: If you are sick or over 65, California’s governor asks you to stay home. The rest of you, enjoy!
Santa Barbara Botanic Garden
The botanic garden’s meadow is popping with California poppies, purple sage, snapdragons and other native beauties. Stop by the pond where red-eared slider turtles hang out and walk one of the winding trails at the 78-acre site. .
Info: Adults, $14; students and military, $10; children 3 to 17, $8; younger than 3 free. 1212 Mission Canyon Road, Santa Barbara; sbbg.org
Flower Fields at Carlsbad Ranch
Ranunculus love rain; it makes the stems stronger, the blossoms brighter. The delicate flowers (a.k.a. Persian buttercups) are in bloom right now at the Flower Fields at Carlsbad Ranch.
The site is closed to walk-in visitors because of coronavirus precautions, but you can still drive up to an overlook that offers an expansive view of the 50 acres of flowers and the ocean.
From the 5 freeway, take the Palomar Airport exit, drive east and up the hill toward the Grand Pacific Palisades Resort. Then turn left on Armada Drive in front of the resort to see the flowers.
California Botanic Garden
Claremont’s recently renamed California Botanic Garden (a.k.a. Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden) is the perfect place to take a stroll to see all the native California plants that grow here, including redwood and Joshua trees.
The garden has postponed upcoming events but “remains open to provide our community with a beautiful outdoor space for relaxation and peace in this trying time,” the website says.
Info: Adults, $10; seniors and students, $6; children, 3 to 12, $4; children younger than 3, free. 1500 N. College Ave., Claremont; calbg.org
Lompoc flower fields
Expect colorful swaths of larkspur, delphinium and Queen Anne’s lace when the commercial flower fields near Lompoc start blooming any day now. No worries about getting lost. This nifty bloom tracker will guide you. Visitors are not allowed to walk in the fields, but they are encouraged to take photos.
Info: The flower fields rotate each year around Lompoc Valley; follow these tips and map. bit.ly/lompocflowers
Greenwood Daylilies Daylily Gardens
Ever wonder where they get the gorgeous flowers bordering the paths at Disneyland? Landscape architect John Schoustra grows them for big landscape jobs, but he invites the public to view and/or buy some on Saturdays from April 4 through the end of June.
Greenwood’s day lilies, irises, geraniums and other flowers used to be grown in the ground, organized by color. Now they’re grown in pots. “So the gophers and the weeds can’t get them,” says Schoustra, who’s proud to sell the only scented lilacs that will bloom in Southern California.
Info: 8000 Balcom Canyon Road, Somis, Calif.; greenwoodgarden.com
Otto & Sons Nursery
Soon everything will be coming up roses at the Huntington Library, Art Museum and Botanical Garden in San Marino and the Exposition Park Rose Garden near USC.
If you’d like to learn how to grow them, head to Ventura County for Rose Days from April 16 to 19 at this family-run nursery. “We’re all outside and we’ve got plenty of room for social distancing,” says owner Scott Klittich. If you don’t attend, you can livestream the event on the nursery’s Facebook page.
Guest speakers include Tom Carruth, rose curator at the Huntington. The nursery’s 700 types of roses include climbers, old garden and miniatures, and 60 varieties of David Austin English roses.
Info: 1835 E. Guiberson Road, Fillmore; ottoandsonsnursery.com