By Bryan Donoghue
Spring breathes fresh life into Humboldt County. Pollen travels in the wind as bees are looking for flowers to pollinate. Given the diversity of flowers in Humboldt County, it’s safe to assume there will be a large number blooming in the upcoming months. According to humgardens.com, a website on gardening in Humboldt, the latter part of February just gave us our last taste of winter. This means many flowering shrubs and trees have begun to bloom, though the temperature may still drop to the mid-to-upper 20s. The California Department of Parks and Recreation shows a list of state parks that host a variety of blooming wildflowers for the spring.
Closest to Humboldt State University and five miles north of Arcata you can visit Azalea State Reserve, home to beautiful bunches of azaleas that bloom in April and May.
For a more extensive trip, 50 miles north of Eureka lies Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park. The California Department of Parks and Recreation notes, “careful observers in the park will find beautiful but elusive orchids among the ancient redwood groves as well as more prominent displays of rhododendrons along the parkway in late March through May.”
Lastly, pack your things for a small road trip. Humboldt Redwoods State Park is 60 miles south of Arcata and generally provides wonderful displays of wildflowers along the Avenue of the Giants. Visitors will find native Humboldt lilies and orchids in late March to April and dogwood trees in April into early May, depending on the warmth of spring.
Flowers on Humboldt State’s campus are starting to bloom as well.
The Humboldt State campus hosts various non-native flowers coming into bloom. By walking through campus, you can see forget-me-nots, azaleas, cherry blossoms, tea tree flowers, and lily of the nile. There are many more that are still coming into bloom as well.
Michael R. Mesler is an HSU botany professor with a focus in pollination biology.
“Once the rain starts and you can see the beautiful campus flora, it certainly makes you feel more positive about life,” Mesler said.
Mesler also notes that even though the campus forest is beautiful, the local gardeners do a wonderful job and work really hard to maintain the flora on campus.
“But everybody thinks that, not just botanists,” Mesler said.