The Poppies of Los Altos Hills


Every spring as the weather warms up, the wild flowers pop up all over our town. The California Poppy in particular (our State Flower) shows its presence - sometimes truly as a patch of random volunteers, but in our town - also aided and abetted by human action in propagating the seed. A few years ago, our Town Council decided to sponsor the propagation of this native plant by sending an envelope of seeds to every resident in the town. How many of those seeds may have had a direct result in producing this year's display is unknown - but the indirect effects are telling.

Maybe the disappointing rainy seasons we had for the last few years are being made up for this year (2016). We had a good winter - not the floods predicted by the weather forecasters - but at least the rainfall was slightly above average. Whether that is what caused this year's spectacular display we can't be sure. But for some reason, their presence is more than usualy noticeable this spring.



 2300 Alongside the road to Town Hall



 2301 A wider perspective of the same spot



 2306 A lighter yellow intruder at the base of the tree trunk



 2307 ...Even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these...



 2309 From across the road



 2314 On a hillside above Town Hall



 2315 Yellow Poppies leavened by Baby Blue Eyes



 2319 Here the poppies are cohabiting with (what I think are) Purple Tansies (also known as Lacy Phacelia or more formaly - Phacelia Tanacetifolia). By reputation, these are real attractants for all manner of different types of bees.



 2321 Two Bees (or not two bees, that is the question.) These are not in fact bees, but hoverflies. They are just as important in terms of pollinating plants, and they are good at eating aphids as well - a true friend - but they don't do honey.



 2324 On the left, we can just see another insect doing its thing.






 2327 A view of the wider context, we are on a hillside overlooking Silicon Valley. The distant hills flank the other side of the bay, so 20-30 miles away as the crow flies. (30-50Km)

(The wire cage is placed around a young tree to prevent it being eaten by the wild deer that roam the area)



 2329 Close by, a resident normaly known for growing record-breaking pumpkins on this spot, has planted the more traditional poppies associated with the Fields of Flanders for a spring display.

The Mustard (little yellow flowers in the background) and the Flanders Poppy are imports that are not native to the area. The mustard has become invasive and covers our hillside meadows in spring, to the detriment of the native grasses.



 2331 In Flanders fields the poppies blow / grow.

Blow or Grow? The author of this poem had it one way in his manuscript, but the other way in the printed version.