No flower is more closely identified with California than Eschscholzia californica: the California poppy. Normally a deeply saturated orange, more selections are appearing in cultivation, ranging in color from crimson to white. The outrageous ‘Apricot Flambeau’ has doubled petals and stunning coloration; we grew ours from seed received during a propagation class at Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden.
Wildflowers normally reach peak bloom in February through April, but the timing and abundance depends on the rainfall patterns. The California poppy itself is actually a long-blooming (spring through summer) short-lived perennial, but it grows so easily from seed – that either you or it scattered – that it is usually treated as an annual. Clumps we’ve left over from the prior year are now more than 18" across; trim them back sharply if you want to keep them neat. Eschscholzia thrives in full sun and is rather drought tolerant, although it performs better with some water. Warning: gophers love their stout taproots!