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Rain could bring more poppies

OW Staff Writer | 2/17/2017, midnight

The recent storms may result in more wildflower blossoms this year. Organizers of the California Poppy Festival at Lancaster City Park on April 16 and 17 are counting on the dormant plants to sprout their magnificent blossoms in ways not seen for several years.

Apparently, about seven inches of rain is needed to fertilize the seedlings. The region has had that much and more, but the poppies need the rain to continue on a regular basis. Jean Rhyne with the California State Park system believes this year’s festival may result in a surprise bounty of floral delights.

“The regular rains are needed to maintain the bloom,” she said. “That’s really what they need. With the past years of drought, there isn’t a lot of moisture in the soil, but this year may be different, if we get enough moisture content in the soil.”

Officials at the Antelope Valley Poppy Reserve released a cautious statement:

“As of Feb. 5, the recent rains have started to green up the hills with tiny wildflower sprouts, but it is too early to determine if and when we will have a good bloom this year. We are currently seeing a lot of grasses and filaree sprouts and not very many poppies, but new sprouts are coming up every day. If all goes well, we can expect the bloom to start in early to mid-March and last until Mid-April or later.”