Letter from the General Manager: March - April 2017

A Message from General Manager Robert E. Doyle
March – April 2017

Robert E. Doyle

Native Wildflowers are Blooming

Spring is when our parks go Technicolor with wildflowers. Bring your camera, sketchbook, binoculars – whatever suits your taste to fully enjoy the magnificent displays around the East Bay.

Because the inland portion of the East Bay warms up sooner, wildflowers bloom there first. In March, start exploring Round Valley, Morgan Territory, Black Diamond and Brushy Peak to see lush hillsides of poppies, larkspurs and blue-eyed grass (which is actually a type of iris). Contra Loma is known for its fields of the very rare but beautiful Fritillaria agrestis. Head to Diablo Foothills to see another rare and sweet-smelling gem, the Fritillaria lilacea.

Later in spring, check out our shoreline parks for a completely different display of wildflowers that thrive near wetlands and shorelines. Pt. Pinole, in particular, has a rich array of unusual wildflowers, including Castilleja ambigua, owl’s clover and soft bird’s beak.

All the flowers listed above are East Bay natives. Wild mustard, ice plant, French broom and most types of thistle may be familiar sights in the East Bay, but they are not native and in fact sometimes crowd out native plants. We try to promote native plants because of their crucial role in local ecosystems, and remove broom and other invasive plants when possible. Hundreds of volunteers help us with this ongoing task annually.

By being good stewards of the land, we strive to keep our landscapes as healthy and biologically diverse as possible. Our goal is to see colorful, native wildflower displays for generations to come!