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There’s Still Time to See the Wildflower Super Bloom in Santa Barbara County


HIking trail surrounded by Wildflower Super Bloom.Birds are chirping, creeks are flowing, and the wildflower super bloom in Santa Barbara County is still putting on a spectacular show. Patches of bright orange poppies and white lilies dot the hillsides along mountain roads. Blue dicks and purple lupines have popped up along some trails. But you better act fast if you want to experience Mother Nature’s specular show because the wildflower super blooms are peaking now through mid-April. Then they’ll be gone.

“A super bloom is pretty rare,” said Dr. Heather Schneider, the Santa Barbara Botanic Garden’s rare plant biologist. “It’s a time when, for whatever reason, the conditions are just right for annual plants to bloom in extreme numbers. You get a ton of germination from the soil seed bank and these carpets of wildflowers.”

She added that this year is special because we just experienced a similar pheromone in 2017. Usually, a vivid display like this year’s is spaced out.

You may be wondering what makes a super bloom anyway. Years of drought and fire combined with steady record-setting rain caused native seeds that sat dormant in the soil for years to burst to life. As a result, Instagram-happy locals and visitors alike are heading to the Antelope Valley California Poppy Preserve to witness Mother Nature’s spring show. But those lucky enough to live in Montecito don’t have to drive far and get caught in nasty traffic to see the vibrant super bloom in person and take their own selfies.

Santa Barbara Botanical Garden

Just head to the Santa Barbara Botanical Garden (SBBG) located just a few minutes by car from Mission Santa Barbara. The nonprofit’s meadow section is alive with color, featuring meadowfoam, farewell-to-spring, succulent lupines, and California poppies.

Widely regarded as a model botanic garden, SBBG is a living museum and a member of the American Alliance of Museums, dedicated to research, education, and conservation of California native plants.

As an accredited museum and botanic garden, the SBBG differentiates itself from being just another beautiful place with open space and pretty flowers. SBBG is actually a living museum where collections-based research preserves California native plants and displays them in a beautiful setting. How cool is that?

Other Wildflower Super Bloom Sites in and Around Santa Barbara

Wildflowers are also in full display at the New Cuyama area in northern Santa Barbara County near Highway 166. The hillsides that overlook the valley are even bright enough to be captured in satellite photos from space.

Then there is the Figueroa Mountain recreation area near Los Olivos. This area is carpeted with several different types of wildflowers. You can see Chocolate Lilies blooming with Shooting Stars and Baby Blue Eyes along with Buttercups, milkmaids, sky lupines and California poppies.

Grass Mountain, which sits close to Figueroa Mountain in the Santa Ynez Valley, is now painted thick with poppies and lupine. Near the base, shiny buttercups, milkmaids, and fiddlenecks are in bloom. A little way up you’ll find shooting stars, popcorn flowers, and Johnny-jump-ups. All over are fields of ceanothus that look like sprinklings of snow. 

Chocolate lilies and goldfields can be found at Vista Point, while Sunset Valley, normally slow to blossom, is awash in tufted yellow California poppies. Happy Canyon is also covered with large orange poppies, blue dicks, and coreopsis. 

Native Plants

Residents can also enjoy more uncommon species and “fire-followers,” said Dr. Schneider from SBBG. There are approximately 2,000 kinds of native plants in Santa Barbara County with about 200 that are considered rare. “Many of California’s annual plants can exist as seeds in the soil for decades, waiting for the right conditions to germinate. The combination of recent burns and wet conditions gives us the chance to see things that we haven’t seen for a long time.”

These more ephemeral blooms include the late-flowered mariposa lily, Catalina mariposa lily, pale yellow tidytips, Humboldt lily, and Santa Ynez false lupine. Schneider said she recently spied a collection of Humboldt lilies in the creek area of the Jesusita Trail as well as a number of late-flowered lilies, an exceptionally beautiful and charismatic flower native only to Santa Barbara and Ventura counties, along the Tunnel Trail. “All front country trails have the potential to have really nice blooms this year.”

Why not make one of my Montecito homes for sale your wildflower viewing hub before the next super bloom arrives?

Front of Classic Birnam Wood Home for sale surrounded by stunning mountain views blanketed in wildflowers right now.Take this Classic Birnam Wood Home surrounded by stunning mountain views blanketed in wildflowers right now. Besides offering spectacular views, this home is close enough to world-class amenities such as Montecito’s Upper Village shops and dining, spectacular beaches and award-winning schools. If you are a fan of quintessential relaxed luxury that epitomizes the Montecito lifestyle, you will love this singular nearly 6,000 square foot residence. It rests on close to three-quarters of an acre at the end of a quiet cul de sac and adjacent to the 11thgreen of the prestigious Birnam Wood Golf Club. The home has its own lovely gardens to enjoy along with majestic trees. There are many more like this on my comprehensive website

I feel so blessed to live in such a wonderful and beautiful community where we can experience beauty all around. White sandy beaches? Check. Perfect Mediterranean weather? Check. Wildflower super bloom? Check. If you are looking to move here or thinking about moving into a new home in Montecito, Hope Ranch or any of Santa Barbara’s upscale communities, please give me a call at 805.886.9378 or email me at


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