Northern California Coastal & Inland Valleys
Favorite or New Plant
Mexican Tulip Poppy
The Mexican tulip poppy (Hunnemannia fumariifolia) is related to and very similar to the California poppy, except it has butter yellow flowers. It thrives in areas where California poppies grow. You wouldn't expect a plant as delicate as hunnemannia to be as hardy as it is. The 2- to 3-foot-tall plants are best grown in clusters or clumps and require excellent drainage, full sun, and little water to perform well. They bloom July through October.
Hunnemannia makes a nice cut flower that will last up to one week if cut before the buds open. Hunnemannia is a perennial that is often treated like an annual, but it will reseed itself in ideal conditions.
A Field Guide to Pacific States Wildflowers
A Field Guide to Pacific States Wildflowers: Washington, Oregon, California, and Adjacent Areas, by Roger Tory Peterson (Houghton Mifflin, 1998; $18), will come in handy if you hike in our area of California. It has full-color photographs of wildflowers you will see along the path, and it's small enough to carry in your backpack. When you're not hiking, keep it with your garden reference books so that you can identify the wildflowers in your mix.